A Beacon in Our Community
Cerium helps Compass Health improve delivery of critical services with updated communications infrastructure.
The importance of Compass Health in Northwest Washington communities cannot be overstated. Compass Health is a leader in the delivery of behavioral health services. They have a broad and comprehensive range of programs serving families and individuals of all ages, income levels, and cultures. Clients served may have a chronic illness or an episodic crisis. The agency also provides consultation, training, and educational services to other providers, law enforcement, correctional facilities, and the community at large.
Compass Health is a private, nonprofit, state-licensed organization, founded in 1901. Today, Compass Health provides mental health and chemical dependency services at 30 different locations in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties. More than 27,000 clients are served each year, agency-wide.
- Cerium upgraded Compass Health’s Cisco UCM to Cisco Business Edition 7000 (BE7M).
- Included in the upgrade were Jabber, an upgrade to the voice gateway routers, replacement of the two Mitel phone systems in Whatcom County (serving 4 offices) with the Cisco unified platform, and an upgrade of the organization’s Singlewire Informacast Mass Notification System.
- Cerium performed the upgrade of the existing version 8.6.2 environment to version 11.x on two new BE7M Cisco UCS servers.
- Cerium modified the existing configuration to support the additional voice gateways required to integrate the Whatcom locations.
- The upgrade included increased redundancy and failover configurations.
A critical component of Compass Health is offering wraparound treatment plans for youth with mental illness, which include high-quality one-on-one care, year-round. As a necessary enhancement of this intensive treatment, Compass Health offers low-income clients a day camp program when schools are out of session. The majority of the children Compass Health serves come from households that are making below 50% of the average income for the region, or approximately $3,700 a month for a family of four. One key program, which is 100% funded through community generosity, is Camp Outside the Box. This program serves approximately 150 children through an after school camp, located on the Compass Health campus. The program specifically serves children who have mental health issues that keep them from being successful in more traditional camp programs in the region. “We have the tools and staff that they would otherwise probably not succeed without, and we provide this free of charge to the kids and families,” explained Tom Kozaczynski, Compass Health’s Director of Development.
Growing Reliable Communications
An organization such as this requires affordable, highly reliable operational tools to provide critical care and services to their clients in need. For more than a decade, Compass Health has relied on a Cisco Unified Call Manager (UCM) telephony solution. This is a testament to the quality of hardware produced by Cisco. Charlie Hall, Senior Network Engineer for Compass Health, has been a Cisco engineer for more than 20 years. He says, “Cisco hardware just works. The routers and switches can be 12 years old and still work.”
In 2014, Compass Health merged with Whatcom Counseling and Psychiatric Clinic, bringing them to 30 locations. Compass Health had a need to transition the Whatcom County locations into the Cisco UCM.
The Whatcom locations were on a Mitel system and were unable to have 4-digit dialing within the enterprise. Additionally, the Mitel telephony system presented disparate systems for the organization’s IT staff to manage. Though the existing Cisco system at Compass Health was still fully operational, it was also at end-of-life and end-of-support status, which meant there could be no more licensing or expansion without upgrading the current infrastructure. The decision was made to upgrade the Cisco system. Remaining with Cisco meant maximizing the existing investment. There were more than 700 handsets which could continue to be used, and staff members already had familiarity with Cisco.
Cisco Business Edition 7000
Cerium upgraded Compass Health’s Cisco UCM to Cisco Business Edition 7000 (BE7M). Included in the upgrade were Jabber, an upgrade to the voice gateway routers, replacement of the two Mitel phone systems in Whatcom County (serving 4 offices) with the Cisco unified platform, and an upgrade of the organization’s Singlewire Informacast Mass Notification System. While Charlie and other Compass Health IT staff could upgrade the switches and routers themselves, Eric Dillon provided ongoing support for any bugs encountered in the upgrade. “For example,” Charlie explains, “the refurbished phones needed clock adjustments, and Eric was able to do this without us having to go to factory default settings.”
Cerium performed the upgrade of the existing version 8.6.2 environment to version 11.x on two new BE7M Cisco UCS servers. Cerium modified the existing configuration to support the additional voice gateways required to integrate the Whatcom locations. The upgrade also included increased redundancy and failover configurations.
Cisco UCM Release 11.x is an industry leader in enterprise call and session management platforms. But why upgrade to Release 11.x at this time, instead of 9.x? As Charlie explains, “This is a tremendous undertaking for a nonprofit. We have humble facilities, and we are conservative in our operational practices — we dress warm in the winter and cool in the summer to conserve energy, for example. While our existing Cisco infrastructure was still functional, we couldn’t expand it to the new locations. We had maximized our investment on our current hardware for as long as we could, including procuring recommissioned phones whenever possible. By skipping a generation of upgrade options, we expect another 10 years of service from this system.”
Cisco UCM R 10.x/11.x includes industry-leading features required by Compass Health, such as BYOD, virtualization, mobility, customer collaboration, video, operation efficiency, and B2B / remote worker self- service. Additionally, the following upgrade features were important to Compass Health:
- Virtualized servers help reduce power consumption, rack space, and administration cost to lower the TCO and improve reliability, scalability, and manageability.
- Unified Call Control to bring together voice, video, and data into a single IP network to simplify management, reduce costs, and support effective communications.
- Simplified provisioning and management—for example, Enterprise License Manager (ELM) for cost-effective licensing, and admin integration of Cisco UCM IM and presence service.
Self-Service provides end users the ability to set up their own phones and manage how they make and receive calls. For example, speed dial setup across phones, single number reach/mobility, and extend and connect. This frees up administrators from doing all the provisioning and increases end-user satisfaction. Compass Health’s Cisco CUCM upgrade is ongoing with a planned 3-phase implementation. Phase 1 is complete, and the team eagerly awaits the completion of phase 3 in 2017, which will unite the Whatcom locations with enterprise system. Charlie expects the Whatcom staff will experience a big improvement in their communications. Phase 2 is independent of Phase 3 and involves the replacement of old routers and switches. This phase is ongoing, with most of the onsite work being performed by Compass Health.
How it all Works
Compass Health has multiple clinics throughout the five counties, and each clinic operates independently. They have a main customer-facing phone number. The organization has schedulers that utilize a call center and also has a format for taking calls from clients in crisis. The crisis number goes to a live person, and the therapist or clinician is reached quickly. Interoffice communication is primarily via email.
The most valuable feature of the CUCM, aside from high reliability, is the ease in setting up call flows. Compass Health is able to customize call flows for specific programs, such as Crisis Prevention & Intervention Team (CPIT), fairly simply.
Having a Trusted Technology Partner
In 2010, Compass Health first worked with Cerium to convert their older Cisco UCM system to version 8.6.2. At the time, Cerium’s Cisco Systems Engineer, Eric Dillon, worked with Compass Health to upgrade the system. Charlie says, “Eric was on site during the conversion. He stayed there until we were all set with all components working properly.”
It was through the RFP process that Cerium was awarded the current upgrade contract, as the vendor offering the best pricing. During the procurement process, Bobbi Bellusci, Compass Health’s IT Operations Manager, asked Cerium if Eric Dillon was still available. “Eric is a big reason for our ongoing relationship with Cerium. He knows what he’s doing, he’s very efficient, and he gets the work done.”
our element is communication
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