New welfare computer system showing progress : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

oday: September 22, 1999 at 9:09:42 PDT

New welfare computer system showing progress

CARSON CITY (AP) - A Nevada Welfare Division computer system that's nearing the $90 million mark in cost is handling thousands of cases and continually improving, legislators were told Tuesday.

State Welfare Director Myla Florence told the lawmakers' Interim Finance Committee that the NOMADS system has processed more than 30,000 child support payments and there's another 30,000-plus cases in the works.

Florence also said system changes that used to take about 100 hours are now being made on an average of 20 hours per fix.

And even though the system is cumbersome, it's getting some compliments from staffers who realize how powerful a tool it can be in processing child support and Medicaid cases, she said.

"We are definitely on the road up in NOMADS," Florence said, adding that Gov. Kenny Guinn wants a continued 100 percent-plus effort to ensure the system is certified by October 2000.

"This just proves that with unlimited amounts of money and an unlimited amount of time, you can do anything with a computer," said Sen. Bill O'Donnell, R-Las Vegas.

NOMADS is the acronym for Nevada Operations Multi Automated Data Systems - which is now about $75 million more expensive than anyone ever imagined.

NOMADS began with a $22.6 million budget. Its cost have ballooned to nearly $90 million with the latest payments, and will exceed $100 million when done.

Problems have included missed deadlines, cost overruns, staff turnover, change orders, threats of federal fines and bickering between state officials and IBM Global, the business giant hired in 1992 to develop the system.

NOMADS was born after a 1988 federal law required states to have a single system for child-support enforcement. The goal was to get support payments to custodial families quicker, track down "deadbeat dads" faster and otherwise streamline the system.

The Welfare Division contracted for a feasibility study, and the decision was made to produce an integrated computer system and not just a single program for child support.

-- Homer Beanfang (, September 22, 1999

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