Mar 14 2023

New Governor Has New Equity Priorities for Maryland’s MD THINK Platform

Launched in 2017, the Maryland Total Human-services Integrated Network will have more data and systems integrated to help the most vulnerable populations.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s administration is assessing the Maryland Total Human-services Integrated Network for ways to drive more equitable access to health and human services.

The new MD THINK Committee of secretaries in Moore’s Cabinet is considering how to use the platform’s existing capabilities to both meet its goals and build on them.

Former Gov. Larry Hogan launched the first-in-the-nation cloud-based platform for integrated health and human services programs in 2017. He also announced updates, including the MD Job Genie for connecting job seekers with hiring employers, shortly before leaving office in January. A five-year human services application cloud migration has enabled the Maryland Department of Human Services to unplug and decommission its legacy mainframe system.

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“The Moore-Miller administration is committed to digitizing and modernizing legacy IT systems to ensure that they are flexible, secure and serve those who need help most,” says Carter Elliott, a spokesperson for the governor. “MD THINK will develop and implement measurable indices to ensure program effectiveness positively impacts the lives of Marylanders.”

To reach that goal, MD THINK will range from a focus on Medicaid modernization and data-informed decision-making to ensuring that all social services are seamless and easily accessible, Elliott adds. The MD THINK Committee’s vision hinges on the integration of data and systems across multiple programs and agencies to better serve users.

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MD THINK Platform Under Hogan

MD Job Genie was added to MD THINK through the state Department of Labor’s partnership with the nonprofit Research Improving People’s Lives. An upgrade to the state’s pre-existing job search tool, MD Job Genie uses machine learning to analyze a user’s unique skills and recommend career transitions that have been shown to increase earnings.

“MD THINK has completely revolutionized our ability to deliver services by breaking down traditional barriers between agencies and providing one-stop constituent access,” Hogan said in a statement at MD Job Genie’s launch.

A second MD THINK upgrade announced in January was the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services’ (DPSCS) Maryland Re-Entry Passport. Developed for Marylanders transitioning out of state correctional facilities, the passport allows them to securely connect to an online portal to access documents critical to their success upon release.

The passport grants access to users’ Social Security cards and birth certificates, both necessary for obtaining housing and employment. DPSCS is piloting the program at two correctional facilities before offering it departmentwide.

Still, with a new administration come new priorities.

“In the Moore-Miller administration’s effort to leave no one behind, significant change management and implementation practices will require new attention so that the MD THINK platform’s potential can be realized in a new and powerful way,” Elliott says.

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