Helping patients beyond business hours

Jessica Kilmartin (pictured) has been working at the Carle Patient Contact Center for six months. She estimates she has answered 12,000 patient phone calls since she started. 2,000 calls a month. 500 calls a week.

And now, Kilmartin and her colleagues will also be available in the evening and on Saturdays to take more calls.

Patients can now call for a doctor’s appointment or request prescription refill weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

Patients who see physicians at the following locations can call their doctor's office early in the morning or after 5 p.m.:

  • Champaign on Curtis
  • Danville Fairchild
  • Mahomet
  • Mattoon
  • Monticello
  • Rantoul
  • Tuscola
  • Urbana – South Clinic
  • Urbana on Windsor

The Contact Center also handles online scheduling requests. Patients can create a MyCarle account and schedule a doctor’s appointment via a secure internet connection.

“These extended hours give people more options to request a doctor’s appointment. They won’t have to try to carve out a time during their busy work day to make a phone call,” said Christine Scroggins, manager, Carle Patient Contact Center.

Kilmartin worked in a call center at an insurance company in Bloomington when the opportunity opened up at Carle.

“I love working here. My passion is to get people the answers and help they need,” she added.

Don’t think Kilmartin and the other 60 people answering the phones get a break after hanging up.

“When we finish with one caller, we are immediately on the line talking to another caller. We don’t rest,” Kilmartin explained.

Elyse Wolf, Scheduling Center Coordinator, says the goal is to address all the patient’s needs  in that call.

“Carle has a program that includes the protocols and regulations for our call specialists,” Wolf explained. “If the person calling us has an emergency condition, we bring one of our in-house nurses on the line and they help the patient.”

And for Kilmartin and her coworkers, they know they serve a vital role in the community.

“We are the first person a patient talks to when they call Carle. It is an honor to serve them and give them the opportunity to call us in the evening or Saturday to best fit their busy schedule,” Kilmartin said.