Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Sorry for delaying in writing.....work has been, well- busy.

To say the least.

Tonight I'll write about the effects in the areas that have not yet rolled out into the new system, but the effect of the October 'pink emails' have taken an adverse toll on those of us who are still there.

80% of the office I work in got a layoff notice. These aren't newbies either, these are people who have anywhere from 5-15 years of tenure with the State.

So far, we've lost 32% of our workforce. Of those, we've lost 13 workers. We've lost 6 clerks.

In this job, interview applicants for benefits- we've always prided ourselves on maintaining quality. Not just for the evaluations that we get each year (that meant nothing at all when it came to who gets laid off)- but for the clients we serve. However, in the midst of people leaving every week/month the work is still there, but with FAR fewer people to do it. And yet we are told that one way or the other, we must get it done.

Previously, before everyone started leaving, we were seeing 8 appointments 2 days a week, and 10 appts the other 2 days. That left one day per week for 'worktime' which allowed us to complete cases that had to be pended for information.


Some of us see 14-15 appointments 2 days per week, and 10 appointments the other two days. We are now also going to start seeing 1 appointment on our 'worktime' days.

So in essence, at best- we'll have 49 cases per WEEK that are added to the long list of cases that need to be completed.

We are sinking, and fast. Let's mention the number of clients that are coming into the office daily to turn in information for their worker, get information about programs, and clients who are bounced back and forth between TAA and the local offices.

Medicaid applications must be completed in 45 days. Technically, 43 days, because a client must have 'notice of eligibility or denial' in hand by the 45th day. Historically, we were trained to complete these cases in 30 days. Clients are turning in applications that are sent to TAA for processing Children's Medicaid that aren't getting done for 50-90 days. Clients are being told by TAA staff that they have 45 BUSINESS days- up to 90 days to complete their cases. This is completely against State Regulations in regards to Medicaid applications.....we have clients who call TAA to inquire about their status and are told that because they are NOT in Travis or Hayes county- they must go to the local office (which is incorrect, many clients across the state were converted into the new TIERS system last year). They come to local office- some in desperate situations- only to be told to call TAA.

In the beginning, clients coming to the office could talk to a local office supervisor who could then call TAA to inquire on their behalf- sometimes sitting on hold for up to 45 minutes. Then the supervisor would have to relay the story to a TAA employee- and although a local supervisor would ask to speak to a TAA supervisor, they wouldn't be transferred (which would have NEVER happened in the 'old world'- matter of fact, if "I" had ever refused to transfer an unhappy client to my supervisor, I'd have been written up).......now, a local Supervisor calls and unless the client is in the office - TAA will not release any information and the local Supv would be advised to have the client contact TAA themselves.

It's beyond insane.

In the midst of all this- the employees in the office are overwhelmed to the point of even more talking of quitting and clients services are suffering.

This is only the tip of the iceberg.

I will say that word around the offices is that the proposed "Retention Bonuses" that have been mentioned JUST NOW are too little, too late. Unless the State is willing to really put their money where their mouth is- no one is going to stay.

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