Philadelphia Mental Health Clinic Reduces No-shows, Increases Revenue

Submitted by: 10/01/2009
Keywords: Mental Health, Reduce No-shows, Success Story

Assessment & Treatment Alternatives (ATA) is a non-profit forensic mental health clinic based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Implementing NIATx recommended changes not only resulted in improved show rates but has led to an estimated increase in annual revenue in excess of $100,000.

Following the NIATx model, the ATA team began to collect baseline data to determine how long the average person had to wait for an evaluation appointment.

Then the team was ready to begin testing changes. The first intervention was one that they'd read about on the NIATx site: they eliminated the answering machine in the scheduling office so a live person answers every call. To accommodate this change, the intake job duties were split between two people.

Additional changes included confirming the evaluation appointment with a reminder letter and reminder phone calls two weeks before, one week before, and the night before the appointment.

ATA also sends a confirmation e-mail to the client and related contacts at the referral source.

As a result of these changes, the show rate improved from 74 percent to 83.5 percent, with an average increase of 9.5 percent. Dr. Weisman estimates that this represents an approximate annual increase in revenue in excess of $100,000.

Finding time for the NIATx change project was easy, notes Dr. Weisman, because his team incorporated their change team project discussions into an existing weekly administrative meeting.

A new change team has formed with a specific focus on improving customer service. "Our goal is to build an organizational culture at ATA that recognizes that our clients are our customers and that we are running a business," says Dr. Weisman.

Reflecting on the first change project, Dr. Weisman notes that his initial assumptions about process improvement were quickly proven wrong. "We set out thinking it wouldn't work, that no one-either clients or staff would want to change. We weren't convinced that you can really measure change. We've been pleasantly surprised on all accounts."

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