The Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning

Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County approached CTAC to help them with an ongoing problem: the cost of appointment no-shows in their Behavioral Health Department (BHD). “We serve lots of people who don’t have many resources but have chronic mental health issues,” explains Senior Director Jill Kind. “We struggle with the cost of people not showing up for appointments. Staff and psychiatrists have to be paid even when people don’t show up.”

Kind approached U-M’s Community Technical Assistance Collaborative to identify reduceable patterns of no-shows, hoping to cut costs: “CTAC designed an instrument to analyze appointment patterns. Then students tracked appointments for a month and looked at the overall data for the year.”

 “CTAC seems to really understand the nonprofit community and what it means to work with us.”
                               –Jill Kind, Senior Director, Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County

Some of the findings were unsurprising—clients are most likely to cancel during the morning hours of 8-10, and during the summer months.But what was really valuable to the organization’s financial strategizing was discovering that there aren’t a lot of other predictable patterns that could be combatted. Instead, Kind says, the organization now knows these costs are a fixed expense.

Kind says Catholic Social Services couldn’t have conducted the survey and data analysis on their own: “We’re already stretched thin. We don’t have the capacity to do it ourselves or the resources to purchase this kind of service commercially. But we really did need the data to create a strategy. CTAC seems to really understand the nonprofit community and what it means to work with us.”