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Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Connect Me to a Human, Please!

We're highlighting the cutting-edge programs and successful strategies used by the 2018 recipients of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week's focus is on the Connect Me to a Human, Please! project from Alliance for Aging, winner in the Information and Referral Access to Services category.

Clients and staff in Florida's State Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care Program (SMMCLTC) grew frustrated with the program when a lack of staff made it difficult for Medicaid Benefits Counselors to respond to the large number of client calls in a timely manner. To remedy the situation, the Alliance for Aging established a secondary queue system. The queue system is modeled after the AAA's I&R hotline, which allows a caller to remain on hold until a specialist can take their call. Staff on the I&R hotline are trained to answer the calls in the queue and work on each other's cases to ensure clients' needs are addressed promptly.

When one Medicaid Benefits Counselor at the Alliance for Aging's Aging and Disability Resource Center received more than 100 messages in her voicemail in only 24 hours, the team knew they had to take action. The high call volume at the Center was due to several factors. The Medicaid Benefits Counselors already had large caseloads, but on top of this, Florida's State Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care Program (SMMCLTCP) had just authorized an influx of individuals to begin the eligibility process for the program. As a result, a huge number of callers began contacting the center. This caused calls to pile up and clients to complain. In mid-2014, the team at Alliance for Aging began a secondary queue system to combat this problem. In addition, management added an “on-call duty” that was allocated to a staff member whenever another staff member was out of the office.

The eligibility caseloads have since stabilized and clients are also able to reach their Medicaid Benefits Counselors directly, without being placed into the queue. As a result, Alliance for Aging was able to reduce the numbers of callers sent to the queue during 2018. Clients now have the option to reach staff members directly or to use the queue system.

To learn more about this year's winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners to learn how your agency can implement this or similar programs in your community!

For more information about this program, contact Max B. Rothman, President and CEO of Alliance for Aging at rothmanm@allianceforaging.org
 

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