Case Study

Vacancy Adjustment Notification System (VANS) for Mental Health Services

Tags: Health

Los Angeles County, Calif.

The Los Angeles County, Department of Mental Health serves approximately 265,000 clients annually. Of these, nearly 242,000 are served in outpatient programs from more than 500 service locations spread over a 4,000 square mile radius. As the country’s most populous County, Los Angeles County is also home to one of the most diverse population in terms of language and ethnicity. More than 200 dialects are spoken by the population in the County. Approximately 38% are enrolled in the Medicaid program and nearly 4 million live at or below 200% Federal Poverty Level (FPL). The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) conducted by UCLA estimates that nearly 12.5% of the population eligible for Medicaid services are in need of mental health services. This consists of nearly 367,309 individuals in the County living at or below 138% FPL and in need of services. Meeting the needs of this diverse population created a unique challenge for providers to provide adequate services to a client that are timely, are located at a convenient location as well as meet the client’s cultural expectations. To meet these needs, an online tool called Vacancy Adjustment Notification System (VANS) was developed that allows providers to search for available program slots at other agencies and refer a client for services to that agency. Given that providing appropriate client referrals to agencies was a critical challenge, VANS was developed to conduct search for services by several criteria such as: 1) Age-appropriate services, 2) Specific program type such as General or Special Outpatient services, 3) Funding source such as Medi-Cal or Uninsured, 5) Language capability and 6) Distance Radius. This tool makes it easier for agencies to refer clients for appropriate services as well as make their program slots available to other agencies in order to accept clients. 

Contact: 
Dr. Leticia Ximénez 
Employee Recognition Manager

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