As CSS became more strategic about its purpose, focusing on seniors and families, it also rechanneled resources.
For example, CSS now serves 33 percent more seniors — partly from increased efficiency and engaging technology, and partly from recognizing a growing senior population that needs high-impact, high-quality service. CSS also took over an existing foster grandparent program that sends low-income volunteer seniors into schools.
“One of the things we’ve learned at CSS is that it’s not just enough to know the population, you’ve got to know the process by which you provide the care,” she says.
CSS already had another highly compliant program for low-income volunteer seniors where they visit homebound seniors, Lustig says. The volunteers get a stipend, which helps enhance their quality of life.
In addition, the focus shift was an opportunity to assess the value of the staff’s time. For example, CSS provides e-services to manage bills for people without the cognitive capacity to do so. Those employees also did some case management, which they loved, but many clients already had a case manager.
“That became a culture shift: We do have to specialize and we do have to call on people to do the best that they can in the role that they provide for people,” Lustig says.
Lustig has noticed differences, and the change continues today, but it’s built on that foundation of quality of care.
More ideas are being brought forward. People are sitting on committees, taking ownership. Information is being shared across and down into the organization more freely.
“There’s still work that’s being done to help make us more business minded,” she says.
Scorecards should make the frontline staff’s work more user friendly, Lustig says, because access to better information can also help provide quality care.
“The scary part of accountability is the unknown part of it,” she says. “Once it’s settled in and you know that this is what you’re accountable for, it can help to provide significant direction. It’s just that change process that can be challenging, so we’re just trying to make sure that we integrate it in a way that includes transparency, quality and openness.”