WestMass ElderCare uses AFC Home to manage complex program requirements
WestMass ElderCare (WMEC) is a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization supporting over 300 elders and individuals with disabilities to live as independently as possible in the community and at home through multiple Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) programs.
WMEC, a designated Area Agency on Aging and Aging Services Access Point, provides Adult Foster Care (AFC) and Personal Care Management (PCM) services and is a specialist organization in Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) with Massachusetts Senior Care Options, One Care and PACE programs. Its AFC program is NCQA accredited.
For 45 years, WMEC has set out to improve the quality of life for the consumers in their programs by helping each person and their family choose and be a part of the services they receive. WMEC services are built around person-centered planning. The consumers WMEC serves have a choice of caregivers and are actively involved with their own plans of care. WMEC’s delivery of participant-directed and person-centered planning revolves around assessment and reassessment interactions with consumers to ensure changing needs are being met. This care planning process is the basis for providing services that support and assist their consumers to maintain needed independence in their own home.
“Our biggest win with AFC Home is time savings! ”
WMEC is a champion for their consumers and their caregivers. While advocating for consumers and helping them utilize all the services they have access to, WMEC staff is also actively involved with support and education for caregivers as well.
“We build close relationships with the consumers in our program and their caregivers. These relationships create trust, and that’s a big benefit when we’re helping to make decisions about someone’s health,” said Michael Keefe, AFC Program Director at WMEC. “Our consumers know it’s not just a job; we do it because we care and want to do the best for them.”
AFC is a unique program that enables adults who cannot live alone safely to remain at home and part of a community with caregivers and professional services and supports to help them thrive.
AFC programs in Massachusetts require vigorous management and program oversight. From consumer and caregiver information, care plans and visit records to regular safety and training documentation, there is a lot of information to track and maintain in an AFC program.
WMEC’s AFC staff members were handling most of their tracking and program management in spreadsheets and paper binders, which created many challenges.
Enrollment for new consumers was slowed due to managing multiple spreadsheets and forms for different types of intake information per client. Spreadsheets were owned by individual administrative staff members and not everyone had access to the information they needed when they needed it.
Further, each caseworker tracked the required information for each client in different ways, and as a result, staff could often lose hours or even days at a time tracking down information they needed to verify or complete.
“A lot of people were responsible for organizing their own system,” said Keefe. “There were bottlenecks. It was inefficient and we weren't able to grow our program as easily.”
WMEC program staff and administrators needed a better solution to help manage and streamline all their program information in one place and contacted Annkissam about AFC Home.
"Using AFC Home has benefited our consumers too,” Keefe added. “It’s improved our responsiveness. We have more time with consumers in the home and more time to spend on meeting client and caregiver needs."
Solution and Benefits
Annkissam’s AFC Home is a comprehensive data management software designed specifically for the Massachusetts AFC program. AFC Home helped WMEC minimize its administrative workload and improve the accuracy of critical program information being tracked and managed. WMEC administrators and case managers can capture important client data, documentation, and monitor progress and program requirements with a few clicks in the system.
“With AFC Home, we’re able to see the whole picture of our client information together in one place,” said Keefe. “Administrators and case managers have less burden of overhead with multiple forms to fill out and track. It’s all right there in the system for you and we’re able to view and report on the information we need in multiple ways.”
Using AFC Home helps WMEC staff manage their day-to-day work more efficiently. Staff can easily find the information they are looking for about consumers and caregivers in the AFC program, see what’s been done (for example caregiver trainings) and what’s due, which helps them stay ahead and prepared for upcoming visits.
For case managers, AFC Home is a one-stop-shop with everything they need at their fingertips and built-in workflows that make it less likely to miss a step along the way. The web-based system also allows staff to input and access information remotely so there’s less travel time required overall.
“Our biggest win with AFC Home is time savings!” said Keefe. “As a result, we’ve seen cost savings from smoother processes overall and we are able to utilize staff time better to work on projects we didn’t have time for before.”
“Using AFC Home has benefited our consumers too,” Keefe added. “It’s improved our responsiveness. We have more time with consumers in the home and more time to spend on meeting client and caregiver needs.”
With the new system in place, WMEC has been able to increase caseloads while also being able to spend more time with consumers, which means they can serve more individuals and families. Using AFC Home, WMEC also updated their intake process for bringing new consumers into their program and saw improvements there too.
“We can more easily track and follow up on missing documentation during the intake process and have even been able to almost cut in half the amount of time it takes to get someone into the program,” said Keefe.
For WMEC administrators in particular, using AFC Home has led to more accurate program management. With Tracking Boards, supervisors are able to see all the client visits completed each month, fire drills and trainings that were done, and progress notes. All the data in AFC Home is even available in an easy to download format for Medicaid billing.
“AFC Home helps us make sure we’re keeping up with what the program regulations expect us to do”
“AFC Home helps us make sure we’re keeping up with what the program regulations expect us to do,” said Keefe. “It’s decreased the workload for our administrators with more streamlined information. They can review a whole department in an hour compared to spending days tracking down information.”
AFC Home is also designed to support accredited AFC providers in Massachusetts. WMEC was using AFC Home before their most recent NCQA accreditation process and were able to use reporting and utilization tracking to help document how they met their effectiveness measures with supporting data from the system.
Managing an AFC program with over 300 consumers and caregivers can be cumbersome. Keefe noted the transition from their paper systems to AFC Home was challenging, to get all the historical data migrated over and staff trained and operational. But from the start, he added Annkissam has been a great experience.
“Being able to mold the system to our process was great,” said Keefe. “There were many things we can easily do on our own in the system to fit our specific program needs. AFC Home is user friendly and a lot more beneficial than other systems; our staff experience shows how beneficial it can be."