Thursday, April 20, 2006

Just another day in hell.

Thanks for the comments anonymous!  I feel your pain.  I do.  Slowly but surely our office is dwindling and the work isn't stopping and it's becoming more and more overwhelming daily.
On the thing about referring clients to the legislators- we've been told to keep issues 'in house'.  BUT, at some point these clients are going to have to educate themselves on how to speak up for themselves.....and they will learn that the route to go is not only to contact their legislators, but also FNS. 
We have, on the 'sly'- been telling clients when they are talking about all the issues they are having that it is NOT "our" doing.  Their legislators voted for HB 2292 and in effect started this ball know, like a hint, hint kinda thing. 
Many are getting it.  Many are calling their local legislators- and so far, the issues aren't with US- but with TAA and therefore THEY get to deal with that. 
What is most frustrating for me is the fact that TAA has, in effect, been conditioned to push every issue off on the local offices.  EVERY-SINGLE-TIME.  It is NEVER their fault.  NEVER.  It is always because "we" didn't send the Medicaid app (we log what we send), or "we" didn't fax the FS app rather than sending it via overnight mail.  It's because WE aren't faxing their 1010's rather than mailing them. 
How many times, in all the years I've worked in the office can I count one single time a local worker has been able to push off a problem and say "I don't know what to do, call *******"?  Never.  How many times have I been able to say "there is no 'complaint department'" and in effect refuse to let a client talk to someone else?  Never.  But TAA does it ALL the time. 
And yet, we- on the inside- aren't supposed to talk bad about TAA to the client.  We aren't supposed to talk negatively about the call centers.
If all this was working smoothly and effectively and clients were able to get their services in a timely more efficient manner than with the 'old way'- then fine.  I'd put down those guards and eat crow.  But anyone who's been with the agency for ANY length of time KNEW this was going to tank.  Not just from a fraud angle, not just from a customer service angle- just overall.  Our client population is not that of highly educated people- our clients often can't speak English, write, read, have a 7th or 8th grade education.  Many don't have phones.  Many have never seen or heard of the 'internet'.    Then ones who are able to navigate the phone systems are realizing that even THAT is more inconvenient than having to devote an hour of their time (at the most) every six months to sit down with a real life caseworker to get their business taken care of.  If their case gets done wrong- they have a tangible source to complain about or talk to.  If something is askew, they could call the worker and get an explanation. 
Now?  That doesn't happen.  And it's sad.
This, coming from an employee- with a pink slip- thereby making me a future client in this mess.  Luckily (at least) I know how to navigate the policy and the way it SHOULD work.  I know how to make my voice heard. 

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