New tool helps clients choose providers based on quality

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Clients of the Elderly Services Program have the option to choose the provider organization they want for their services. But often, people are not familiar with organizations and don’t know which to choose. Now, Council on Aging has created a Client Choice Table that will help people select a provider.

Currently, this table is available only for clients of the Hamilton County Elderly Services Program who have home-delivered meals as a service. Over time, Council on Aging will expand this to other services and counties. Where the Client Choice Table is not yet in effect, clients may still select from the list of contracted providers, but if they do not choose, the assignment is made by COA according to a selection system.

The Client Choice Table for home-delivered meals providers in Hamilton County includes a quality rating for each of the six providers (one to four stars). This quality rating is based on client satisfaction surveys and cost to produce the meals. The table also shows the zip codes each provider serves.

The client satisfaction surveys are known as Service Adequacy and Satisfaction Instrument (SASI). The SASI was developed more than a decade ago by Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University with significant input from clients. The SASI is administered in person by a client’s care manager. COA compiles and analyzes the data and issues a report twice a year.

COA uses SASI as one tool to evaluate provider quality. In one recent example, a home-delivered meals provider ranked near the bottom compared with other providers. The organization developed and implemented a quality action plan, improved their meals and meal choices, and moved to the top of the list.

The Client Choice Table is one way to ensure that clients get high quality services and that providers who do better are rewarded by having more clients choose them.