UI Health renews contract with Chicago Lighthouse for call center employees

The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System has renewed its contract with The Chicago Lighthouse, which provides call center services on behalf of the hospital.

The Chicago Lighthouse is a social service organization serving the blind, visually impaired, disabled and veteran communities with comprehensive vision care, employment opportunities and a broad array of support services.

The new contract will provide $8.2 million to pay for the services of more than 150 Chicago Lighthouse employees through August 2019.

The partnership between UI Health and The Chicago Lighthouse was originally established in 2014, when Lighthouse employees began taking customer calls for UI Health. This is the second time the contract has been renewed.

“We are pleased to be able to continue our partnership with The Lighthouse, and to be able to provide quality employment opportunities for its clients,” said Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Lighthouse employees have been instrumental in helping improve access to UI Health services for our patients for many years.”

People with visual impairments and those who are blind have exceptionally high levels of unemployment compared with the general population. About 75 percent of the estimated 4 million adults in the U.S. who are completely or partially blind are not in the labor force.

UI Health’s Customer Care Center provides general information, scheduling, coordinating of patient appointments, referrals and pre-registration, appointment reminders and connections to nurses who can answer health questions. Last year, the Customer Care Center handled more than 1 million inbound calls.

“We are thrilled about the renewal of our contract with UI Health and extremely grateful to Dr. Barish and his team for the vote of confidence they have given to The Chicago Lighthouse,” said Janet Szlyk, Lighthouse president and CEO. “We commend them for opening doors to greater opportunities for talented individuals with disabilities and veterans.”

Lighthouse employees answering calls for UI Health use software that allows for text-to-speech translation.

The Chicago Lighthouse has more than 600 call center employees working for a variety of clients including the Cook County Patient Support Center, the Advocate Healthe You Wellness Center and the Illinois Tollway.

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