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Hannah Huntt

Manager, Communications Projects

Innovative Scheduling Changes Increase Savings, Intake and Client Engagement

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In just three years, View Point Health, a Metro Atlanta-based community behavioral health care agency, has transformed their clinical practice by implementing a rapid-cycle change model under the guidance of MTM Services. View Point Health provides mental health, addictive disease and developmental disability services serving as the public safety net for a three county area with a total population of more than 1 million.

In an effort to increase efficiency, access to services and client engagement, View Point Health implemented open access within their outpatient centers. By reassigning staff and rerouting phone lines, a centralized scheduling system was created to manage appointments, no-shows and follow-up appointments. The shift to open access resulted in an estimated $32,682 in monthly savings and $392,184 in yearly savings. Between January 17, 2012, and March 30, 2012, outpatient intake increased by 14 percent. Active interaction with clients encouraged on-going participation in treatment, increased engagement with interventions and enhanced treatment outcomes. Collaborative documentation and the results of a survey indicated positive trends in client engagement, customer service and provider accountability.

Recognizing that high quality care does not stop at intake, during the summer of 2013, View Point Health embarked on another transformative change process with Just In Time (JIT) for Meds to make psychiatric appointments more readily available. At that time, appointments for psychiatric evaluation were more than 30 days out, the no-show rate was almost 40 percent and doctors’ schedules were booked for three months. To better serve the community’s needs, View Point Health started communicating with clients about their plans to improve the scheduling process to one that is more open, flexible and client friendly.

JIT for Meds requires that clients schedule appointments with a prescriber the week before they run out of medication. This increases the likelihood that they will attend the appointment. Since implementing JIT for Meds, View Point Health outpatient clinics have experienced a drop in no-show rates from 35 percent to 12 percent for psychiatric evaluation and medication follow-up appointments.

The program has minimal provider impact. Two 30-minute slots scheduled daily allow flexibility for doctors to see walk-in clients who are in urgent need or are out of medication. JIT for Meds also provides flexibility to see clients more frequently, if necessary.

As the public safety net and an instrumentality of the state, View Point Health is required to meet key performance indicators (KPI) that measure access to services. As a direct result of the practice improvement changes, they have met and exceed the access metrics for the state KPIs.

These practice improvements not only resulted in improved access to care for clients; team members also reported improved job satisfaction. In just four years, staff satisfaction has improved by 16 points, according to organizational climate surveys administered to the workforce.

Working with MTM Services to constantly reassess and adapt services by implementing state-of-the art programs ensures that Key Point Health will continue to support its mission to promote overall health and improve quality-of-life by delivering effective behavioral and physical health care that meets the needs of communities they serve.

View Point Health serves a population of largely comprised individuals in critical need of treatment and support – the uninsured/underinsured, low-income, aging/elderly and war veterans – with 13 percent living below the poverty line. View Point Health provides multiple services to clients, operating four outpatient clinics, two behavioral health day programs, two Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams, a developmental disability day program and an adolescent “clubhouse.” In addition, View Point Health manages 83 beds for use in crisis stabilization, respite and substance abuse residential facilities. They serve approximately 10,000 clients per year, with 80 percent of these clients receiving outpatient services and employ over 475 individuals.