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.

In the ensuing two years, the CHF awarded La Clínica two grants totaling $408,000 towards its phased implementation process, aimed at enabling patients to more easily and effectively:

  • 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.

The call center will also enable La Clínica to respond more efficiently to calls from hospitals and outside physician offices.

The Implementation
The implementation began in 2016, with the project team focused on design and development of the call center, including the creation of protocols, workflows, roles, responsibilities, a staff-training program, and an appropriate physical space. In 2017, La Clínica developed a Call Center training manual and materials, hired staff and rolled out the program for its Concord Medical and Dental Clinics. It also created and conducted an internal evaluation plan.

For 2018, the CHF will supply La Clínica with $200,000 of its proposed $726,558 budget, the rest coming from the organization’s unrestricted operating funds. The goal is to implement the final phase of the original plan, which includes a full Contra Costa Call Center rollout and developing and implementing an advice line with triage services for medical, dental and behavioral health issues. Key activities and expected outcomes include:

  • Oakley Medical rollout
  • Pittsburg Medical rollout
  • Phone Advice/Triage implementation

The organization intends to assume full financial responsibility for the Call Center after the CHF’s support concludes at the end of 2018.