Arizona State Government Division of Developmental Disabilities (D.D.D.).
To begin, the problem with Magellan starts with �for profit� The goal by Magellan is the overall profit, not the clients nor the employees but the bottom dollar.
I worked for Division of Developmental Disabilities and as a Case Manager, we were called Support Coordinators, and we referred clients to and worked with Value Options (not much better than Magellan but in the same venue) and reading your articles nothing has changed.
To start with the hired employees for Value Options/Magellan and I must include Division of Developmental Disabilities , are sub par, most are barely qualified and as is the practice of Developmental Disabilities, case managers are hired because the have the barest of minimal qualifications for their position. Too, they are hired because they �know� someone and because the position must be filled. Rare is the person hired because of their education and professional background.
First initial contact with either agency is first the receptionist, and it has been my experience , eleven years, is the person who answers the telephone is not happy in their job and their priority is their social life, social standing in the office and most important is their need for gossip and the drama of the office. I have witnessed in my agency the receptionist putting most callers on hold in order to continue a personal conversation, indulge in an activity such as eating, or to find a �person� to relieve them so they can have their break. I have filled in for the receptionist on numerous occasions and my dread was that all persons on hold are frustrated because they are not being helped and or cannot reach their case worker. This is what I consider the first of unprofessional experiences with a Mental Health Agency, and the problem lies with the management person of the agency because they are assuredly aware of it but, a person is filling that position and therefore it is not a serious concern and too they do not want to �correct� the problem for fear the person will leave their job and have that position unfilled. I think it�s an integral part of the �system� of failure for the clients.
The case managers fare no better. I have seen and witnessed the case managers allow calls regarding their clients to go to message and some joked or complained how many times this particular caller called and delay if not never return calls due to something more important has their attention such as office politics, degrading another coworker, visit with coworkers for as much as up to an hours, numerous smoke breaks, or grab any file and leave the office with the �look of� seeing a client but reality it is to run personal errands such as shopping and the more than one hour a day lunches. Their time is suppose to be accounted for but the system they use for tracking is the case managers themselves filling out the TRAILS (D.D.D.�s form for tracking the case manager�s time) form and most is documented by exaggeration and out right made up time to meet the requirement. Nothing further is used to track their time with clients, case files, and other duties assigned the case manager.The case management training for D.D.D. is an absolute waste of time. The training, as I knew it was C.O.R.E I, II, III. Basically it is a �feel good training regarding how do you feel about your family, how do you want to see yourself then of course guest speakers which are parents of developmentally children who rant and rave (and rightly so) on their experiences of the failure of case managers, not what can case managers do to be of service but their opinion of the failures and I must include the training instructor never touches on how to improve such failings but to emphasize on the parents and how case managers must serve the parents. Some guest instructors utter statements such as �don�t worry if you don�t understand you will soon enough�. Then the case manager is sent to their office with a case load and told to do their best. How they can do their best? I don�t know because they are not given the necessary tools of their case files such as what forms are needed, how a case load is managed per office requirements and so on. Most case managers do NOT know what gross motor skills are what in entails in assessing a client during a review or the difference between fine and gross motor skills and how that pertains to the client for necessary goals to enhance their lives.
Contact with the clients for D.D.D. clients from the case manager is yearly, quarterly, and semi- yearly. It entails an Individual Service Plan (ISP) which consists of D.D.D. case manager, group home staff, day program staff, and family members. The ISP is done yearly with quarterly and semi-yearly follow ups. The ISP is to set a year of goals for the client for the improvement for the client and ideally the client is to choose what is best for the client, but that rarely happens. Here is an example of a wide practice that somehow is overlooked or better stated as looking the other way. The day program and or the group home pre-write the ISP before the meeting which is to their preference NOT the client�s because it is less effort and detailed for the day program or group home staff and it usually contains the same goals year after year, then handed to the case manager who now has more time on their hands because they don�t have write up the ISP and everyone is happy because their job has been simplified and less entailed, but what about the client? They loose and are no longer the reason the employed support staff is hired to assist the client. In reality, the ISP it is to be conducted yearly by the D.D.D. case manager and agreed upon by all parties gathered to support the client with the client�s or their family members approval then the case manager writes up the ISP.
One personal experience that stands out is when I conducted an ISP an A.Z.T.E.C.S (77th Avenue and Dunlap) for a client. Prior to the meeting, the D.D.D. office I worked (Metro Office) had a meeting and in that meeting it was highly emphasized that under NO circumstances was an ISP to be written by any other agency but D.D.D. and it was crucial this be enforced, this being said by the Office Manager of the Metro Office, Peter Shiebenreif. When I had the ISP meeting at A.Z.T.E.C.S, I was handed a completed ISP by the job coordinator at A.Z.T.E.C.S. and I thanked him but too advised everyone present that an ISP is to be completed by the .D.D.D. case manager. When I looked through the ISP it had the same working goals for the client that had been in place for six years and the client never improved, so I asked the client what goals she would like to have and she stated her preference and I noted it and stated these would be the new goals for the client. I was happy when the ISP meeting was concluded with the thought that we really helped the client. Upon my arrival back at the Metro Office I was called into my supervisor�s office and given a written letter of concern for upsetting the A.Z.T.E.C. staff members. I was confused to say the least. To note, my supervisor�s husband, Peter Sherberger, was the C.E.O. of A.Z.T.E.C.S and his staff complained to him that I rejected the I.S.P. and it too was requested that I be removed as the case manager of the client. My supervisor, Irene Sherberger, was quite angry with me and actually raised her voice and yelled at me stating I can never go to A.Z.T.E.C.S again because I upset the staff. In all truth I upset the staff because I advised them of the new policy mandated by my office manager, Peter Shiebenreif, and then caused the staff to work at their job because of new goals for the client not the same one in place for six years, and because the job coordinator took time to write up a completed ISP BEFORE the meeting and I disrespected his time and efforts. I was removed as the case manager and the old goals were put back in place. I must also advise that the state hires and pays agencies for their services but they dictate how they will serve instead of the state dictating their services. I feel sorry for this client because she was not supported and worse D.D.D. aided the providing agency not to serve the client. I was outraged and went to Peter Shiebenreif and advised him that I did as he mandated and he told me one more incident of upsetting an agency would cause my dismissal.
This is common everyday practice for D.D.D. and I had this same experience with Value Options, Other contracted agencies for clients such as Tungland Corporation (too many infractions to write about but many gross failures to and for the clients to list) A.Z.T.E.C.S. and most other contracting agencies.
To touch briefly on group home staff, most are barely out of high school the average age for a group home staff member is 19 years of age, most staff members work too many hours and some have actually moved into the group home in a way that they work 16 hours straight, sleep on the couch and are back at work. They are not monitored nor are the staff qualified in any way by education or training on how to properly help a client, they are �bodies� that fill the position and if a serious issue is at hand the client is not helped at all. The turn over rate is horrendous and grossly misaligned in all capacity for the client because they will not know who the staff are and are bond with a staff member only to have the staff member leave which in most instances causes behavioral issues and of course the way to remedy the situation is to increase the behavioral modification medication. Some group home staff members have too much control over the client and will take such liberties as complaining about case managers and or requesting a change in case managers to ones they know and because that case manager will not enforce policy or monitor the client properly, and sadly D.D.D. listen to these staff members and remove the case manager.
The clients are the furthest concern and are the ones who are the least helped yet ironically they are the main reason every agency is in existence.
Sadly what happened to those to precious little boys will continue because Magellan and D.D.D. and watch dog agencies can not stop the rampant abuse of failure that lies within the agencies in place to help mental health patients, they are seriously under qualified and have employed highly unqualified personnel to assist the needs of mental health patients.
I am so saddened as well as sickened that this will continue and nothing can remedy the mental health patients because unless a sad and serious situation as the bludgeoning of the two little boys to bring this deficient issue to the front page it will continue because �out of sight is out of mind� mentality will reign sufficient for the mental health unless, of course, another killing or hideous act is on the front page of the news.
I must seriously request that you do not print my name in any way because I am in need of employment and I am currently a full time college student still hoping t get back into Government employment.