CenterPointe, a treatment and supportive services program for homeless and low-income adults, has moved to a walk-in model for outpatient services.
That means no appointment is required for outpatient therapy and other outpatient services at the CenterPointe clinic, 1000 S. 13th St.
In the past, CenterPointe had walk-in service on a limited basis, with a few walk-in slots available each day. The new model will provide for up to nine walk-in slots, said Tami Lewis-Ahrendt, chief operating officer
The walk-in model improves access to care and puts the needs of the person walking in the door above the needs of staff, she said.
In looking at scheduling, CenterPointe had a 30 percent no-show rate for scheduled appointments, about the industry standard. So "we knew we had the capacity to offer walk-in services," she said.
The walk-in service is available to new clients and returning clients.
Rather than require people to make an appointment, the new schedule allows people to decide what works for them.
Some CenterPointe patients have complicated issues that make an appointment two weeks away difficult. "Will they have transportation? Will they be living somewhere stable? Will they have a phone?” she said.
Rather than put the burden on clients to cancel and reschedule, the walk-in model allows people to get help when they need it, said Lewis-Ahrendt.
CenterPointe participated in a project several years ago with the MTM consulting firm, a pioneer in helping organizations get to the same-day service model. It took some time, getting the right staff on board, and convincing staff it would work, Lewis-Ahrendt said.
Same-day access is a growing best-practice in health care across the country. However, few local organizations providing care for low-income community members have begun the model, according to a CenterPointe news release.
"With any health care issue, we know that is difficult to wait for that help, to wait eight weeks for an orthopedic exam, for example," said Lewis-Ahrendt.
It is even more difficult for people when every piece of their life is affected by an illness, she said.
"We are committed to providing the best experience we can to a population that spends a lot of time standing in lines. We don’t want to be a place where people feel they have to wait in line to get what they need,” Lewis-Ahrendt said.
Clients can call ahead to make a same-day appointment, if they're concerned about waiting, she said.
CenterPointe also provided this timetable to ensure people can get care on the same day:
Crisis response: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Therapy: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Care management/housing assessment: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 pm.