Canon City Counseling Case Study
Canon City Counseling (CCC) began as a center for the treatment of sex offenders and substance abusers. As the practice grew in both offered treatments and clients, it became obvious to owner, that the tracking and reporting requirements relating to the business would require a large administrative staff or industry specific specialized software in order for the business to grow.
A large administrative staff was unappealing because of the high cost of the additional personnel, and the inevitable mistakes that would be encountered processing a large number of administrative transactions. To minimize errors and maximize efficiency, CCC looked for possible software alternatives. They discovered Canyon City Solutions, ReliaTrax ™ secure web-based tracking and management system designed for counseling organizations.
Following is a case study documenting Canon City Counseling’s experience with the ReliaTrax ™ system.
The Initial Big Problem Initially, CCC’s biggest problem was centered on their answering machine used for client call-in’s. Clients being monitored for sobriety (drugs and/or alcohol) were assigned a specific color (such as red, blue, ..) or an animal ( such as dog, cat, …) depending on the frequency of test required. For example, all dogs might need to be randomly tested for alcohol 4 times per month while all reds might need to be randomly tested twice per week for drugs.
Initially, CCC used a standard answering machine and manually updated the message every day at 5:00 pm to reflect the next days’ test schedule. For example, the message might be: “It is June 28th, 2009. All dogs and greens must report today between the hours of 7 am and 10 am for testing.”
This process, simple as it seems, created a burden on the administrative staff since the random pattern needed to be created each month for all the various colors and animals. Often the staff failed to update the answering machine message due to office workload. This caused confusion with the client base and the loss of revenue due to missed testing.
The ReliaTrax ™ Answering Machine (RTAM) utilizes computer technology to generate the random test schedule and generate the daily messages. The RTAM records each client’s call-in date and time in a database for later examination by authorized system users.
Since ReliaTrax is web-based, authorized users can change testing hours from any Internet accessible computer. This feature is especially useful when testing hours need to be modified due to emergency issues associated with testing staff.
The RTAM allows black-out dates to be entered for holidays and days where there will be no testing.
As the CCC client base expanded, additional offices were opened. The RTAM intrinsically handled testing schedules and times for each office.
The RTAM not only handles the random testing requirement of CCC, but it also allows authorized users to manually insert specific clients into the daily message. This feature has proved to be helpful to probation and parole departments who want specific clients tested at their discretion.
CCC needed a web site explaining their capabilities, hours of operation and contact information. It was difficult for CCC to develop and maintain a web site customized to their needs since they were counselors, not web developers.
ReliaTrax ™ provided CCC with a customized web presence which exceeded their requirements.
Group Counseling Scheduling
Initially, CCC had a few group counseling sessions, and it was easy to schedule the time and place of the sessions. As the client base increased, it became an administrative burden to keep track of which client was attending which group counseling session with which counselor, and in which office.
ReliaTrax ™ has sophisticated Group Counseling Scheduling (GCS) capabilities so that authorized users can easily add clients to group sessions, view the various groups and their participants, track their session attendance, and automatically email the responsible probation/parole officer of client non-compliance.
Group Meeting Notes
After each group counseling session, the counselors at CCC generated notes about each client. The notes contained the following information.
1. General session information such as client name, session name, number of required sessions, the current session number, etc.
2. Client specific information such as response during the session.
Each counselor spent significant time preparing his/her session notes and the resulting notes were inconsistent in format and often illegible.
Using ReliaTrax ™ notes, CCC developed specific templates for each of the treatments offered. These templates caused ReliaTrax to automatically fill in all general session information leaving only the client specific information for the counselor to complete. This resulted in increased efficiency by substantially decreasing the time counselors spent generating session notes. A side benefit of the ReliaTrax ™ notes system is that all counseling session notes have a uniform format.
As the number of CCC clients increased, it became increasingly difficult to efficiently process each client when he/she checked-in for counseling or testing. The lines at the intake station became long and client satisfaction decreased.
At this point, CCC added a fingerprint reader (a standard feature of ReliaTrax ™) to the intake station. This resulted in two benefits:
1. It allowed quick access to client records since the information necessary to begin processing a client was immediately available when the client touched the fingerprint reader.
2. The client was authenticated at the intake process lowering the burden on the intake staff to verify the client by a photo.
Drug and alcohol testing is a straight forward process. A client blows into a Breathalyzer for alcohol testing (BA) or provides a urine sample for drug testing (UA). These results must be recorded and placed in the client’s file. In the case of drug testing, the sample is sent to an outside testing lab and some days later, the results are returned via fax and placed in the client’s file.
As simple as this process appears, it is easy for the testing staff to make mistakes. For example, CCC found that wrong dates were placed on the test results documents, paper documents were lost, test results sent to the testing lab were lost, and no one realized they were missing and payments for testing were not handled properly.
ReliaTrax ™ integrates testing into the overall system in an effort to minimize errors. When a client scheduled for testing is processed at the intake station, payment is received, a receipt is issued. If it is a BA test, the result is entered at the test station. If it is a UA test, then the test is placed on a list of pending results and an electronic Chain of Custody affidavit is sent to the testing lab. When the results from the testing lab are received (electronically), they are automatically entered into the client’s records. The electronic interface with the drug testing laboratory has minimized many of the testing problems associated with UA testing.
CCC also found that it was increasing difficult to comply with the reporting requirements for clients with positive test results or clients that failed to appear for testing.
Again, ReliaTrax ™ sends daily emails to responsible probation and parole departments for any clients who have:
1. tested positive,
2. missed testing or
3. missed required counseling sessions.
This feature has lowered the administrative overhead of CCC while providing timely input to probation and parole offices about their client’s progress.
Much of CCC’s business consists of many small dollar transactions. Keeping track of these transactions as well as state vouchers proved to be challenging as CCC’s client base increased.
ReliaTrax ™ integrates client payments as part of the intake process and allows CCC to view their revenue by month and by year. It also allows CCC to easily see the revenue associated with treatment categories i.e. Drugs and Alcohol, Domestic Violence counseling and Anger Management counseling.
As the number of clients increased, the number of calls from probation and parole officers increased. This increased the workload on the administrative staff to field the calls and provide the necessary information.
ReliaTrax ™ provides probation and parole officers secure access into the client records of their clients. This transparency has
1. reduced the number of calls requesting client information,
2. provided the probation and parole offices timely information about their clients and
3. increased the confidence of the probation and parole departments that CCC is performing their required tasks.
As CCC grew, probation and parole departments began referring more clients. This process has been traditionally done via telephone and FAX. The administrative staff at CCC would receive the referral, often just a name, and gather the required additional information about the prospective client for their records.
ReliaTrax ™ provided CCC with a secure referral feature which allowed probation and parole departments to enter referrals directly into the ReliaTrax ™ database for CCC. This eliminated errors and increased efficiency for both CCC and the probation/parole departments.
Canon City Counseling continues to grow with minimal administrative support, increased its efficiency, minimized its clerical errors and provided authorized outside organizations unprecedented transparency to their client’s activities via ReliaTrax ™.