Is ELD Hiding Its Real Performance?

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The Executive Office of Elder Affairs (ELD) is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). ELD works to improve the quality of life for elderly Massachusetts residents, aiming to ensure their security by expanding income and financial support opportunities. The agency is also dedicated to increasing civic engagement and opportunities for social connection among the elderly.

[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]Has ELD really been successful or did the agency simply report positive outcomes and remain silent on progress toward achieving other goals?[/quote]

Under Governor Patrick’s Mass Results program, each of his eight secretaries established specific, measurable performance goals for their departments.  Each then reports their performance against the goals on the state’s website. As described in EOHHS’ latest Strategic Plan, ELD is ambitious about providing better services for the elderly in Massachusetts. The agency lists 10 goals on which to evaluate its performance and claims that it will track more metrics to support the performance management activities.

But, as shown in the chart below, in the latest Performance Report, ELD only reports on three of the 10 original goals (they also added 3 additional goals). Coincidentally, the goals they reported on all show positive or neutral results. Has ELD really been successful or did they simply report positive outcomes and remain silent on progress toward achieving other goals?

The Performance Report evaluates the quality and efficiency of government agencies. Done right, it helps agencies determine where they need to improve and promotes government transparency. However, selective reporting allows agencies to present only positive results and gloss over their weaknesses. It jeopardizes the effectiveness of performance management and minimizes government accountability. How can we improve the life of elderly citizens in Massachusetts if we merely look at successes?

To build a transparent government, all agencies should present a complete view of their progress to the public and to themselves. A comprehensive performance report would give ELD officials an objective evaluation of their work and create the kind of “results-oriented culture” the Governor had in mind when he started Mass Results. Understanding its inefficiencies and weaknesses would help ELD perform better in the future.



Measure goals in the Strategic Plan Details if reported
Current  Prior  Trend Target Comments
1. % of growth in # of Consumers referred directly to public benefits programs over base year FY12 5% 1% Improving 3% FY13 vs FY12
2. % of sampled consumers assess overall service delivery of I&R Services as Good or Excellent No reported performance
3. % employed 6 months after hire date (Retention Rate) No reported performance
4. % of participants entering unsubsidized employment each year No reported performance
5. % OC respondents who are able to make better informed decisions about their long-term support needs after speaking with the OC counselor No reported performance
6. # of elders volunteering 10+ hours annually in civic engagement/events sponsored by COAs No reported performance
7. # of individuals contacting COAs about civic engagement opportunities or employment services No reported performance
8. # of nursing facility eligible consumers who live in the community with Home Care services and support 15,495 13,850 Improving 13,800 FY13 vs FY12
9. % of Nursing Facility eligible persons who extend residency in Supportive Housing at least 12 months after NF eligibility determination No reported performance
10. # of Caregivers utilizing respite services of Massachusetts Family Caregiver Support Program (MFCSP) or Elder Home care Programs 2,876 2,821 Stable 2,850 FY13 vs FY12
* the following three measures are reported but are not mentioned in the original strategic plan
1. % growth in number of SHINE consumers counseled on full range of health insurance options over base year 24.4% 19% Improving 20% FY13 vs FY12
2. # of individuals who receive case management and planning through state elder home care programs 43,161 42,916 Stable 42,000 FY13 vs FY12
3. # of individuals who receive long term care services and supports through Senior Care Options (SCO) or Program for  All-Inclusive of Elders (PACE) 28,282 24,113 Improving 27,324 FY13 vs FY12



Wenli Fei is a research intern at Pioneer Institute. She studies Mathematics and Political Science at Wellesley College.