August 25, 2022
Today, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) posted a new “DHHS By the Numbers” Dashboard. It displays current data on services provided by the Department’s 3,400 workers in its eight Offices and two psychiatric hospitals. Examples include:
162,932 people were receiving help to purchase food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as of May 1, 2022;
StrengthenME has supported 67,211 unique interactions with Maine people to provide stress management, wellness and resiliency resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as of May 1, 2022
4,473 children were supported by child care subsidies in April 2022.
The dashboard will be regularly updated and evolve over time as additional charts and trends are added. It replaces the COVID-19 Impacts on DHHS Services dashboard, to reflect the Department’s work more broadly during the current phase of the pandemic.
The new “By the Numbers” Dashboard is one of several new dashboards the Department has created and publicly posted over the past three years. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Dashboards have become widely used by the public and press, while the Office of Child and Family Services posts key metrics on child care, child welfare, and children’s behavioral health. Monthly updates by the Office of MaineCare Services show how many people have been covered by the Medicaid expansion that began in January 2019, as well as the types of health care they’re accessing with their coverage.
These dashboards are complemented by dozens of snapshots and reports on activity that can be found in each Office’s section of the website.
They are part of a significant expansion and improvement in the Department’s communication efforts about our work for Maine residents. In 2019, the Department launched a redesign of its decades-old website, making it easier to navigate and find information on programs and services. For example, information is grouped by topic, such as health insurance or food and nutrition, rather than by the Office within the Department providing the service. Moreover, the website is much more accessible on mobile phones and through online search results, expanding access to Maine residents seeking information this way.
News releases can be found on the Department’s homepage. The Department under the Mills Administration issued nearly 300 news releases from 2019 to 2021, 250 percent more than it issued from 2016 to 2018. In 2019, the Department introduced a blog to announce additional developments as a complement to news releases. The blog covers everything from personnel changes to details of new programs. Adding blog posts to press releases, the Department under the Mills Administration has issued 3.5 times more public communications as compared to 2016-2018.
Effectively communicating the Department’s work is both core to our mission and central to accountability to the Maine public.