Tuesday, April 25, 2006

and the beat goes on

I have some articles I'm going to post in a bit- but first I wanted to talk about the continuing problems with TAA and our clients.
Time and time again we have clients being bounced from 211 to the local office and back to 211 again.  The bad part about the local offices are the fact that with the staff decreasing at a rapid pace- there aren't enough people there to devote an hour to an hour and a half to help the client.  Even when we have the time, there is still never an issue that gets resolved.
Today, we had a client who turned in an application for food stamps 3 weeks ago.  He is in the TIERS program, and his application was sent to TAA for processing.  He called 211 today to check the status of his application- and to let them know his situation has changed - and they advised him to come into the local office, do another application and have us fax it to the expedited fax line.  We did that.  But I wonder if he'll get those benefits from the original file date.  Never mind, I already know he won't.
I find it amazing at how much the morale has sunk in just the last month among those of us who are still around, yet have no permanent job.  Everyone perked up a little when we got the email that proclaimed retention bonuses were being looked at.  However, wouldn't it have been better to have that decision made BEFORE you tell staff about it?  It hasn't stopped anyone from jumping ship so far.  And who can blame anyone for leaving?  You can only do so much.
Clients are definitely paying the price for this- and not just those who much deal with TAA.  Local clients- those who are not in TIERS are also paying the price.  Workers are now completely overwhelmed with cases, and clients aren't getting benefits as quickly as they once did- there is simply not enough time.  I know in areas that many workers have 50+ cases that are all due Friday- the end of the month.  While those are being done, people who are NOT due will have to wait until the next workday comes- whenever that might be.
Client complaints are increasing, yet what to do?  Make a worker who has 14-15 appointments for that day stop an interview to complete a case?  Make a worker who has too many cases stay late?  Lest we forget that we, as employees, also have a life outside of HHSC.  Who in the hell in their right mind is going to give the State of Texas more than 40 hours per week willingly when the State takes no pride in what those employees do?  It might be different if we got paid overtime like other employers- you work over, you get paid.  Us?  No.  Now, I've heard many workers say that if they thought that working 8-16 hours on a weekend EVERY weekend would earn them overtime on their next check- they'd do it.  At least there would be a tangible benefit.  But getting time and half of LEAVE?  For what?  When can you ever take off?  Only to come back and be further behind!
I wonder what it's going to take to get some help.

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samm almaguer said...

This morning I called my former office, and asked a friend who else had left, and she told me that " it would be easier to tell who was left."
I truly think that we have a chance to beat privatization, but we may not have anybody left by then.

Anonymous said...

I agree that we can beat the privatization. We have made an impact with the legislature with postcards and phone calls. They are starting to see it "our way". I would like to inform everyone out there that we called Royce West's office and his staff said it was no use the call centers were a "done deal" (Mr. West is a Representative in Dallas)

I have been a worker with DHS for over 10 years and have never seen the situation so bad or the moral so low.

FNS seems to be catching onto the horrible mistake it made letting Perry, Craddic and Hawkins start this fiasco but, it may be too late for those of us who stuck around because we didn't want to go work for CPS. Even if they give accenture the boot there are not enough of us left to pick up the pieces.

Anonymous said...

My god! Are you me in another body? I'm also an HHSC employee with 15 years in this damn place and watching the whole thing crumble around me and watching our clients suffer the consequences. Your blog reads like I would have written it myself, IF I had the time. Keep it coming!