81 FR 33199 - Request for Information: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Data Exchange Standardization

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Food and Nutrition Service

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 101 (May 25, 2016)

Page Range33199-33200
FR Document2016-12262

Section 4016 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 amended Section 11 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to require FNS to designate data exchange standards to govern both (1) necessary categories of information that SNAP State agencies operating related programs are required under applicable law to electronically exchange with another State agency, and (2) federal reporting and data exchange requirements under applicable law. The Act also directs FNS to consult with an interagency workgroup established by the Office of Management and Budget, which no longer exists, and to consider State government perspectives. As a result, FNS is issuing this Request for Information in order to obtain State government and other stakeholder perspectives as it considers how to best to proceed with establishing data exchange standards.

Federal Register, Volume 81 Issue 101 (Wednesday, May 25, 2016)
[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 101 (Wednesday, May 25, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 33199-33200]
From the Federal Register Online  [www.thefederalregister.org]
[FR Doc No: 2016-12262]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food and Nutrition Service


Request for Information: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance 
Program (SNAP) Data Exchange Standardization

AGENCY: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: Section 4016 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 amended Section 
11 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to require FNS to designate 
data exchange standards to govern both (1) necessary categories of 
information that SNAP State agencies operating related programs are 
required under applicable law to electronically exchange with another 
State agency, and (2) federal reporting and data exchange requirements 
under applicable law. The Act also directs FNS to consult with an 
interagency workgroup established by the Office of Management and 
Budget, which no longer exists, and to consider State government 
perspectives. As a result, FNS is issuing this Request for Information 
in order to obtain State government and other stakeholder perspectives 
as it considers how to best to proceed with establishing data exchange 
standards.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before July 25, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be sent to Jane Duffield, Chief, State 
Administration Branch, Program Accountability and Administration 
Division, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 818, Alexandria, VA 22302. 
Comments may also be emailed to [email protected]. Comments will 
also be accepted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments electronically.
    All written comments will be open for public inspection at the FNS 
office located at 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia, 22302, 
Room 800, during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday 
through Friday). All responses to this notice will be summarized and 
included in the request for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
approval. All comments will be a matter of public record.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or 
copies of this request for information should be directed to Jane 
Duffield at (703) 605-4385.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  Data standardization can enhance the 
ability of States and the federal government to administer the SNAP 
program more effectively by strengthening oversight, improving 
decision-making by program administrators, and fostering innovation 
through the greater use of data analytics. Data standardization may 
also help States and the federal government to reduce improper benefit 
payments, as well as to improve the detection and prevention of fraud, 
waste, and abuse by allowing for easier data sharing. Greater use of 
data sharing may improve program integrity by increasing the accuracy 
of payments, improving efficiency and case management through increased 
automation, improving decision-making by expanding verification, and by 
allowing for better-targeted efforts through data analysis of trends 
across States and populations served by the program.
    With these general interests in mind, FNS is seeking information 
from stakeholders on the following particular questions:
    1. Legislation requires FNS to propose a rule to identify federally 
required data exchanges, including the specification and timing of the 
exchanges to be standardized. FNS is also required to address the 
factors used to determine whether and when to standardize data 
exchanges, specify State implementation options, and to describe future 
milestones. Please provide your input on the following questions:
    a. Should FNS consider requiring additional data exchanges that are 
not currently required by SNAP regulations? If so, what additional data 
exchanges would improve communication between the States and FNS?
    b. What frequency should be considered for any data exchange that 
is currently required by regulation, or any data exchange that is not 
currently required and is being proposed in response to the preceding 
question?
    c. What implementation options should be available to States in 
enacting a standardized data exchange?
    d. What constraints, if any, would the technologies used to operate 
existing SNAP eligibility systems have on meeting data exchange 
requirements?
    e. If FNS were to standardize a data exchange, how much time would 
be required for States to adapt processes and systems to comply?
    2. The Act specifies that FNS should not require a change to an 
existing data exchange standard for Federal reporting if that standard 
has already been found to be effective and efficient. What criteria 
should FNS consider to determine whether an existing data

[[Page 33200]]

exchange standard is effective and efficient?
    3. State agencies already have focused efforts on integrating case 
management initiatives in order to better coordinate assistance for 
families with complex service needs across multiple program areas. What 
factors should FNS consider in a future rule to address SNAP data 
standardization so as not to adversely impact ongoing or planned 
initiatives?
    4. In promulgating rules, what Federal or State laws should FNS be 
aware of that either hinder or promote data exchange standards?
    5. What factors should FNS consider as part of the data exchange 
standardization effort to further strengthen client confidentiality? 
For example, should FNS mandate industry standard security protocols, 
such as requirements that Social Security Numbers (SSN) be encrypted 
and that States utilize data masking, or that States may not use SSN as 
a unique client identifier? If so, how can FNS promote further data 
interoperability while maintaining data security?
    6. Are there any data standardization practices in your current 
data management process that could apply here, such as standardizing 
your data field names and definitions, including security 
classification, and implementing access policies to ensure input data 
cleansing and output data consistency?
    7. Do States provide training to workers involved in the 
administration and enforcement of SNAP about data sharing?
    8. Do States conduct security training with all staff involved in 
the administration and enforcement of the program that covers the 
client confidentiality requirements of the Food and Nutrition Act of 
2008, as well as the SNAP regulations? If so, please address additional 
questions below:
    a. What is the frequency of the training?
    b. Does the State maintain a record of each individual worker's 
security training history?
    c. Does the training cover additional security topics?
    9. What factors should FNS consider regarding the impact data 
exchange standards would have on States that integrate data sources 
external to the SNAP State agency?
    10. What barriers, if any, should FNS consider in implementing 
federally required data exchanges for SNAP program administration?
    11. What factors should FNS consider for States that utilize an 
enterprise data warehouse for reporting and analyzing data in SNAP as 
well as across programs?
    12. Efforts to promote data interoperability to improve oversight, 
data analysis, and decision-making are only as good as the quality of 
the data itself. What factors should FNS consider to strengthen SNAP 
data integrity in support of data exchange standards?
    13. In addition to data exchange standards, should FNS consider 
additional steps related to this effort, such as providing standardized 
data sharing agreements for SNAP data?
    14. What other concerns or barriers, if any, exist in successfully 
implementing data exchanges that were not addressed by any of the 
previous questions that FNS should consider?

    Dated: May 10, 2016.
Audrey Rowe,
Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-12262 Filed 5-24-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-30-P


81_FR_33300
Current View
CategoryRegulatory Information
CollectionFederal Register
sudoc ClassAE 2.7:
GS 4.107:
AE 2.106:
PublisherOffice of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration
SectionNotices
ActionNotice.
DatesWritten comments must be received on or before July 25, 2016.
ContactRequests for additional information or copies of this request for information should be directed to Jane Duffield at (703) 605-4385.
FR Citation81 FR 33199 

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