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Government health care offices still plagued by address management

Rachel Wheeler Archive

Public health organizations have a clear need to pay close attention to matters of address management. Because they manage contact information for so many people and are charged with getting sensitive materials out to them in a timely fashion, it's important that these offices avoid any potential mistakes. Yet time and time again, errors slip through the cracks, and when they do, they often make headlines.

The latest such story comes out of Maryland. According to WBAL, a Baltimore radio station, the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced that an error by the health exchange's prime contractor had resulted in nearly 400 Medicaid enrollment packages being sent to the wrong addresses.

Officials at the Maryland health department said that the enrollment packages covered nearly 1,100 people in total. While the erroneously mailed packets didn't include any private data such as medical information or Social Security numbers, they did contain names, dates of birth and Medicaid IDs.

The DHMH said in a statement that it was able to identify the cause of the address management error and correct it.

"The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced today that as a result of a programming error by Noridian, the prime contractor for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, a small percentage of Medicaid enrollment packages were mistakenly sent to the wrong addresses," the statement read. "The state team immediately took action."

Despite the state's ability to act quickly and make reparations for its mistake, the damage was done - the mailings led to significant wastes of time and money, not to mention the accompanying PR disaster. 

All organizations, public and private, need to make sure that such mishaps don't happen in their operations. Address management solutions can make sure that contact information stays accurate and mailings continue to go smoothly.