Capstone Courses and Projects


Improving Data Collection Methods at FEGS to Optimize Efficiency
Founded in 1934, FEGS is one of the largest and most diverse nonprofit health and human services organizations in the US. FEGS Behavioral Health Division, responsible for tracking and submitting financial and statistical information to outside funding agencies, engaged a Capstone team to assist with its data management. The team was tasked with automating the data collection system for one of the programs that used manual record keeping, and performing an analysis of the Division’s staffing models. The team recommended an improved data collection system, defined the proposed process and changes in user roles, and developed proper training for all users focusing specifically on FEGS’ LINK program. The tool created aimed to be user-friendly, streamline communications, meet organizational expectations, and create accountability. Additionally, after analyzing the current staffing model and service delivery infrastructure, the team made recommendations to help FEGS adapt to health care reform and the move towards integrated care models.

Maimonides Medical Center

Policies for the Public Communication Department
Maimonides Medical Center is one of the largest teaching hospitals in the US, ranked in the top five percent nationwide for clinical performance. The employees of the Public Communication Department are typically the first point of contact for patients and visitors. The department leadership sought to ensure a consistent level of high quality customer service by codifying a set of policies and procedures to manage all incoming public communications, while setting clear expectations and accountability for the staff. The Capstone team observed two hospital front desks and the telephone operator station in order to capture the types of issues that arise and establish best practices for managing them. The team analyzed their findings against hospital-wide policies to establish a practical set of departmental policies. The team created an employee handbook and electronic version for ease of use. These policies will be used to improve performance and accountability within the Department of Public Communication.


The impact of 340B in NY
The nonprofit organization NYCRx assists entities that are eligible for the 340B Federal Discount Drug Program in implementing and managing the 340B programs in New York. As part of recent NY Medicaid redesign, NY State has allowed 340B entities to optionally carve Medicaid managed care prescription coverage into 340B. The goal of the Capstone team was to provide NYCRx with recommendations for how stakeholders can best leverage the benefits of the program. The Capstone team completed a literature review, conducted a questionnaire which assesses the benefits of 340B to member clinics, and used pharmacy data provided by NYCRx to model various cost sharing structures. The results can be used to aid NYCRx in its communication with 340B entities and to inform policy stakeholders of the impact of the carve-in on the entities involved. Being the first study of its kind, the findings have the potential to influence health policy decisions nationally.


Medicaid Redesign and Palladia’s Value Proposition
The Capstone team worked with Palladia to identify their unique value proposition as they negotiate business agreements with the major behavioral healthcare insurance companies covering Medicaid Managed Care enrollees in Harlem and the South Bronx. Palladia is a large multi-service agency nationally recognized for innovative service delivery in the fields of substance abuse, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, mental illness, trauma, domestic violence, criminal justice and family services. In the changing healthcare environment, all Medicaid members will be covered with a Medicaid Managed Care plan provided by private healthcare insurance companies contracted through the state. The Capstone team was charged with analyzing current quantitative and qualitative data that Palladia collects about its services’ efficacy in order to provide Palladia, and ultimately their healthcare insurance colleagues, with a clear sense of Palladia’s superior, cost-effective services. The team interviewed payors, providers and consultants to ascertain the priorities in this area of service provision.

Transitional Services for New York

Preparing Fiscal Operations for Growth
The Capstone team worked with leadership and staff of Transitional Services for New York (TSINY), a nonprofit providing community based services to individuals with mental disabilities, to conduct a complete overview of the organization’s fiscal department. With the information gathered, the team created an excel-based labor analytics tool, which will allow management to understand the needs of the department, given varying levels of expected growth over the next several years. In order to gather the appropriate information, the team first conducted several site visits and interviewed employees at all levels of the organization. Additionally, the team distributed a survey to TSINY’s peer organizations in the NY-Metro area to understand their level of staffing and resource utilization. Lastly, the team conducted a survey of staff level employees at TSINY and analyzed volume and payroll data. Based on this information, the team will help senior leadership fully understand the current state of the fiscal department, including the appropriateness of its current staffing and needs, in light of anticipated growth.

William F. Ryan Community Health Center

Patient Portal Roll-Out at the William F. Ryan Community Health Center: How to Improve Usage?
The William F. Ryan Community Health Center (Ryan Center) is a Federally Qualified Health Center providing care to low-income and underserved patients throughout Manhattan. The Ryan Center recently added a portal for patients to access health records electronically, and is evaluating ways to improve patient activation and engagement. The Capstone team’s project was to evaluate contributing factors to patient portal participation, and make recommendations for portal functions and rollout. The team first assembled patient focus groups to discuss portal accessibility, features, and suggestions for improvement. The results of these focus groups led to the development of survey questions distributed to a wider patient population. Similar survey questions were asked to physicians and providers at the Ryan Center. As a result of this project, the Ryan Center will be able to improve portal features; develop a strategy to increase usage, patient adherence, and the average acuity of in-person health visits; and be closer to meeting federal “meaningful use” standards.