Washington Exchange Board Needs HHS Approval of Organizational Structure

At the Washington Exchange Board meeting yesterday, a review of the current status of its financial management systems was among the first items to be heard before the full house of attendees. The HHS must approve the Exchange’s organizational structure before federal grants are released.

The following areas within the Exchange will be up for scrutiny:

  • General organizational information
  • Accounting system & internal controls
  • Budgetary controls
  • Personnel and payroll
  • Consultants
  • Property management, purchases, and travel

In order to gain approval, it must first create a bank account for which the funds to be are placed. Currently the Exchange Board is interviewing banks, paying close attention to the levels of fraud protection offered from all of those in consideration. A bank must be selected by late April and ready to receive funds by May 23, 2012.

On April 13, the board expects to finalize a contract with a CPA firm, which will allow work within the accounting system to begin by April 16. System implementations and policy and procedure manuals are in turn expected to be out by mid-May.

The board plans to select a human resources firm to consult with on items like an employee handbook, a new employee hire packet, compensation and evaluation, as well as with issues concerning recruitment and hiring, performance evaluation and disciplinary procedures. The selection and finalization of a contract with a HR consultant is set to be completed by April 20, with the finalized employee handbook completed by May 15.

As far as a home base for the Exchange, a site in Olympia at 521 Capitol Blvd. has been identified as Exchange headquarters, citing the ability to move in by mid-May and its close proximity to the Capitol Campus, along with their ability to use the HCA’s tech equipment and IT support as reasons for selection.

In short, this is the dawn of a new agency in state government.  Building the infrastructure to make sure employees can be effective in operating the exchange must get in place before much more work can be done.  To borrow an idiom to describe the current state of things, the exchange must walk before it can run.

For our live tweets from yesterday’s meeting, you can see the Storify link here.