La Clínica De La Raza: Contra Costa Call Center Initiative
La Clínica De La Raza is an essential part of the health care safety net in Contra Costa County, providing much-needed primary care and behavioral health services to many of the county’s medically uninsured and underserved adults and children.
As demand for La Clínica’s services has grown, so has the strain on the organization’s capacity to provide timely, high quality services. Thus in July 2015, the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Community Health Fund (CHF) awarded La Clínica a $30,000 grant to work with Schoen Consulting on the development of a centralized call center that could optimize access to care and improve patient service, experience and health outcomes at La Clínica’s Concord, Pittsburg and Oakley health centers. The partnership produced a multi-year plan of action aimed at creating a call center that will serve as a central hub for patients to connect by telephone with their health home. After a phased 3-5 year implementation process, La Clínica expects that its enhanced telephone services will allow patients to:
- Schedule, change, confirm and cancel appointments.
- Order prescription refills.
- Obtain laboratory test results.
- Check on the status of referrals and authorizations.
- Request medical records.
- Access an advice line with triage services for medical, dental and behavioral health issues.
In addition, the call center will enable La Clínica to respond more efficiently to calls from hospitals and outside physician offices.
A Phased Implementation
For 2016, the CHF awarded $160,000 to La Clínica to implement the first year of its plan. The project team focused on design and development of the call center. Key initiatives included:
- Development of protocols and workflows.
- Data collection for verification of call volume and staffing needs.
- Development of a staffing model.
- Definition of the roles and responsibilities for call center agents and clinic staff.
- A technology assessment and the purchase, installation and testing of upgraded phone technology.
- Creation of a physical space for the call center.
- Development of a call center staff training program.
- Creation and approval of a job description for the call center manager.
For year two, the CHF awarded La Clínica $248,000 to:
- Develop a Call Center training manual and materials
- Hire and train a Call Center manager and agents
- Roll out the Centralized Call Center for:
- Concord Medical and Dental Clinics in August 2017
- Pittsburgh Dental Clinic in November 2017
- Create and conduct an internal evaluation plan