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Faster licensure process means less waiting for providers of mental health and addiction services – and more time for mission-critical work

IN BRIEF: Providers of mental-health services and providers of addiction services have used separate processes when applying for licensure, certification, and renewal. But a single streamlined process is on the way, thanks to the work of a Kaizen team. It's another positive milestone following the July 2013 consolidation of ODMH and ODADAS to form the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services. 

STREAMLINING: The new process involves 80% fewer steps -- from 230 steps before to 47 steps after Kaizen.

SIMPLIFICATION: Decision points have been reduced from 62 to 10 (84% reduction), loopbacks from 31 to 7 (78% reduction), and delays from 18 to 7 (61% reduction).

QUICKER PROCESSING: The process time for new applications and renewals will fall from 3-6 months to 1-5 months. On average, the streamlined process will move 1.5 months faster once the improvements are in place.

July 2013 marked the consolidation of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services and the Ohio Department of Mental Health, but the process for issuing licenses and certificates to providers remained mostly the same. There were two processes, in that providers of addiction services were following one path to licensure and certification, and mental-health providers were following another path.

Licensure and Certification leadership turned to Kaizen in an effort to create a single streamlined process for all providers. A team of 16 people spent five days using Kaizen methods and tools to analyze the current work flow, identify areas of inefficiency, brainstorm major improvements, and develop a transformed process that will get the job done in less than half the time.

The work of issuing and renewing licenses and certificates is important, and the volume of incoming applications is significant. During the past three years, the agencies processed 413 certificates for providers of mental-health services and 1,148 certificates for providers of addiction services. These agencies also processed over 100 provider requests per year to amend existing certifications with new locations and/or new services. On a two-year basis, 925 licensure applications are processed, each of which includes an on-site survey. Some 720 annual residential surveys are conducted in non-application years.

A subgroup from the team develops a redesign of the process -- while two other subgroups do the same. The full team went on to review all three potential redesigns, identifying the best approaches and ultimately building consensus around a final version. (From left: Kisha Stewart, Barbara Dietz, Calvin Daniels, Susan Sekely.)

The licensure and certification processes always seemed to have many internal and external steps, but the team's map of the current process revealed the situation in greater detail. It consisted of 230 steps, 62 decision points, 31 loopbacks, and 18 delays. For new applications and renewals, the process was averaging 3-6 months.

During the Kaizen event, the team developed one standardized process for new and renewal licensure and certification applications. All surveyors will use this process under one set of Ohio Administrative Code rules. The streamlined approach has just 47 steps -- an 80% reduction. With 10 decision points (an 84% reduction) and 7 loopbacks (78% reduction), the new process will finalize all new and renewal applications in 1-5 months.

The new licensure and certification process will enhance the timeliness of the application review and approval process by 1.5 months per application on average.

Key to these measurable improvements will be future implementation of an electronic provider licensure and certification application -- to replace the error-prone paper version. It will include clear guidelines regarding supporting documentation, to ensure that oncoming applications are complete and compliant -- a sure way to reduce rework and improve processing time.

Training resources and materials will be posted online for stakeholders. These will include checklists, frequently asked questions, webinars, recordings, and more.

According to team projections, when the electronic application is fully in place, the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services will save an estimated $15,210 annually in direct printing, postage, and travel savings.

Download a 1-page fact sheet
Download a 2-page article
Download the team report-out
All downloads are in PDF format

This report was published January 9, 2014. Projected and actual results may have changed since then. For the latest info, contact the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services or LeanOhio.

    MHAS contact:
    Janel Pequignot

Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services
Licensure & Certification
December 2013

Team members
Team members: Standing from left: Kathy Yokum, Barbara Dietz, Kisha Stewart, Rosland Hawkins, Robert Nugen (Team Co-Leader), Gregory Lewis (Team Co-Leader), Denise Cole (Team Co-Leader), Susan Sekely, Holly Stone. Sitting from left: Teri Hill, Janel Pequignot (Team Sponsor), Rose Lester, Calvin Daniels. Not pictured: Nick Humenay, Leeann Kapp, Lataunia Pitts-Wilson.