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Gov. Dayton touts state’s cost-saving innovations

Dayton recognized 78 state employees from 15 agencies who came up with ideas to save millions of state dollars.

As part of his effort to improve state services while cutting waste and lowering costs, Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday recognized 78 state employees from 15 agencies who came up with innovative ideas.

At an awards ceremony, Dayton said:

“Reforming government requires creative thinking and a steady resolve to change the way the state conducts its business. The reform efforts we recognized today are just a few extraordinary examples, among many, of how this administration is building a better government for the people of Minnesota.”

Here’s how state officials describe six of the top innovations honored today:

  • 10% Reduction in Workplace Injuries
    A statewide injury reduction initiative, MnSAFE, has reduced state employee injuries by 10 percent in 2012, saving Minnesota taxpayers an estimated $2.8 million. Work injury claims had increased 40 percent from 2006 to 2011, but in 2012, state employees suffered 341 fewer injuries than in 2011.
  • 22% Reduction in Return Mail
    Department of Revenue streamlined its letter printing and mail processing systems and reduced return mail to the agency by more than 22 percent with an expected savings of $630,000 annually.
  • Improving Pharmaceutical Safety for Patients by 40%
    The Department of Human Services improved an old and outdated system for filling prescriptions at state hospitals and medical facilities. The result: transcription errors have decreased while awareness of drug interactions and allergies has increased. Overall, patient safety has improved 40 percent and the time it takes for nurses to fill out prescription paperwork has been reduced from 3 hours to just 15 minutes.
  • Mobile App and Online Licensing for Fishing
    The Department of Natural Resources now allows anglers to buy fishing licenses online and get a text message confirmation. The DNR also launched a mobile version of its popular LakeFinder website, which shows lake depth, what kind of fish the lake contains, and special fishing regulations that may be in effect.  
  • Increasing Restitution to Crime Victims by 130%
    To increase payments to victims of crime, the Department of Corrections has instituted a 10 percent assessment on money coming in and out of inmate accounts, and added a five percent surcharge on non-health and hygiene items for inmates. The result: payments to crime victims have increased by 130 percent and court fine payments have increased by 400 percent. 
  • Saving $14 million by Improving Access to Public Health Information
    In 2011, the Department of Health launched a one-stop shop for health and environment data on its website, providing easier access to data on topics like asthma, poverty, obesity and health insurance. The department hopes to save $14 million by reducing requests for information.