New online service streamlines food facility application process
December 11, 2008
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People applying to open restaurants and other food facilities in Contra Costa can now check the status of their applications online thanks to a new service offered by Contra Costa Health Services´ Environmental Health Division.
Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) is the first county health department in California to offer an environmental health "Plan Check Status" database on its website (www.cchealth.org). CCHS´ Environmental Health Division oversees inspection of food facilities in Contra Costa and reviews about 400 plans annually. The database is part of ongoing efforts to improve services for applicants, said Environmental Health Director Sherman Quinlan.
"The searchable database allows users to check online whether a plan has been approved, rejected or is still under review. It also shows which plan reviewer is assigned to a particular project," Quinlan said. "As a result, applicants can find out the status of their plans more quickly and conveniently. This helps us operate more efficiently because we spend a lot less time answering telephone requests for that same information."
Since the new service launched last month, the Plan Check Status search has been used more than 230 times, resulting in approximately 50 percent fewer telephone calls about the status of plans. The Environmental Health section of the CCHS website has already received 60,349 visits so far this year and the new service is likely to generate even more traffic.
"There is a huge demand for online services and we are very pleased to be able to offer this service as well as additional information online, such as required forms, guidelines and other resources," Quinlan said.
Also available online is a database to look up individual restaurant inspection results, information on Environmental Health programs for safe food and safe water for drinking and recreation, and newly updated frequently asked questions. For more information on the new Plan Check Status, visit: www.cchealth.org or call 925-692-2512.
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- Sherman Quinlan