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Cuyahoga Job and Family Services Undergoing Modernization

by Kenneth Simmons, Head of Modernization and Aída Idiáquez, External Relations, Cuyahoga Job and Family Services

photo of group of piled handsCuyahoga Job and Family Services (CJFS) has spent much of 2017 laying the foundation for better customer experience, with a focus on improving the speed, quality, and efficiency of the agency.  The new model that CJFS is adopting will eventually lead to a fully operational call center, where cross-trained caseworkers answer in-bound calls related to Medicaid, Food Assistance (also called SNAP), and Ohio Works First (OWF), cash assistance program.  Currently, the call center only services Medicaid applications and renewals. CJFS will focus on enhancing their First Call Resolution (FCR) metrics. This means customers are much more likely to resolve their inquiries in a single phone call. The agency’s primary metric for success is whether the caseworker is able to respond to the customer’s request right away, such as processing their application or conducting their recertification interview.  The call center pilot in 2017 has been a customer service success for CJFS because the model lends itself to robust measurement and tracking key performance indicators.

Since the inception of the call center pilot on January 25, 2017, CJFS began to handle calls by residents in designated zip codes who wanted to apply, renew, or report a change on their Medicaid case.  Throughout 2017, this opportunity expanded to every resident of the county, and the services grew to encompass individuals wanting Long-Term Care Services.

In 2017, 54,817 calls were answered on the General Medicaid Call Center line; 46,877 of those calls had a first-time resolution rate of 86%. This means, approximately 17 out of 20 people whose call was handled, could obtain a decision during the call. This number is impressive and is considered a success.  Additionally, the average speed to answer, or wait time, for the General Medicaid line was 3.7 minutes.

Furthermore, CJFS will begin to pilot a Call-In Model, where applicants are given a window of time to call-in and conduct their SNAP (food assistance) interview, differing from the Call-Out model, which is currently being used.  CJFS is working with state officials to have access to voice-signature for SNAP/OWF, which will allow individuals to sign a SNAP/OWF application over the telephone, removing the paper from the process. Finally, the agency is exploring the possibility of using the call-in model for SNAP/OWF redeterminations. These projects will expand access to residents and improve overall agency timeliness.

Cuyahoga Job and Family Services aims to be Ohio's premier leader in promoting the stability, health and economic well-being of our children and families. Please contact us at 216-416-4440 for more information on our services and programs.