RUHS clinics earn state recognition for improving patient access during pandemic

Friday, December 9

RUHS clinics earn state recognition for improving patient access during pandemic

Changes allow clinics to see additional 10,000 patients annually

At their annual conference in Napa, California’s leading advocacy group for public hospital systems recognized Riverside University Health System (RUHS) for improving patient access during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH) and the California Health Care Safety Net Institute (SNI) named RUHS as one of six Quality Leaders Award recipients in the state for implementing performance improvements in its Community Health Centers (CHCs).

In April 2020, as the pandemic was in full swing, RUHS clinics began working in partnership with Inland Empire Health Plan to standardize internal processes in RUHS’s 13 CHCs across Riverside County, which provide care to nearly 78,000 residents. Prior to standardization, each CHC conducted their morning meetings (called “huddles”) using their own unique processes, causing staff who floated between clinics to learn each clinic’s methods. Standardizing these processes among all 13 CHCs increased productivity from 1.6 patients per hour to 2.3 patients per hour, equaling an additional 10,000 unique patients seen per year without the need to hire additional providers.

Cecilia Curiel, manager at RUHS’s Riverside Neighborhood Clinic, says that not only has this process standardized morning huddles; it has also transformed staff members’ entire approach to their jobs.

“There was a learning curve for all of us, but now we all work as a team to review each aspect of our job and look for areas of improvement,” said Curiel.

Dr. Mahbuba Khan, medical director of RUHS’s CHCs, oversaw the performance improvement implementation. She says that this process also improved communication between managers and their team members, allowing frontline workers to come to the table and take part in creating solutions. The results speak for themselves.

“Such a great improvement in so little time is almost unprecedented. And this process isn’t just about numbers. These numbers represent people’s lives,” said Dr. Khan.

To learn more about RUHS’s award-winning project, visit