Saturday, December 16, 2006
I've read and re-read the article that is linked below, and something kept standing out to me and that was the response from HHSC:
"Commission spokesman Ted Hughes said that, although officials are sensitive to the stress workers are under, the shift is part of the transition to a more automated system. In the long run, the changes should decrease workloads for eligibility workers, Hughes said. Plus, it has already allowed people to apply for benefits over the phone or through the Internet, he said."
So, in reading that I'm struck - it's kind of like that spokesman from Iraq that would constantly get on TV and tell his people that Iraq was winning when we first went over there- although obviously everything he said was absolutely false.
Officials are sensitive to the stress workers are under? Is that why pressure continues to be put on local office staff that they must maintain timeliness? Integrity in cases? How does one do that when workers are having to see upwards of 20 appointments per DAY? What about the stress the clients are under, and take out on staff? There are folks in Texas who are going without benefits Mr. Hughes. WITHOUT MEDICAID, WITHOUT FOOD STAMPS, WITHOUT CASH ASSISTANCE TO PAY THEIR BILLS. What Mr. Hughes fails to realize is that when clients go without, it's US in the local offices that bear the brunt of THEIR frustration. WE are the ones blamed because their child needs a prescription filled and the Medicaid isn't done yet. It's us they blame when they have to go to the local food bank for help because there aren't enough hours in a day to see 20 clients and finish all the cases that are ready to be finished. What about, Mr. Hughes, the stress workers' families are going through while mom/dad are having to work late evenings and every weekend? In the long run the changes are going to decrease workloads? When is that Mr. Hughes? When TIERS works? When TAA figures out how to do their jobs?
Are we still harping on the "applying by phone" and "internet" thing? Seriously? Again, let's remember that while a client can call 2-1-1 and apply for Food Stamps- or PARDON ME- can give their info to an operator who will basically complete an application for them, then MAIL the application to them for their SIGNATURE and then refer the client to their LOCAL office- this is not "applying by phone". Internet? Apparently, we are all forgetting the clients we serve. Sir, most of our clients don't have PHONES much less internet. Let's not forget also, that it serves little purpose to apply by phone when one must still have an interview to get certified. When it's taking over a month to get an interview scheduled and THEN pended for more information- how convenient is THAT? How about this- for all the workers reading here- when a client calls you to complain at how long it's taking to get an interview or get their cases finished, tell them that at least now they have the option to apply by phone and the internet and ISN'T THAT GREAT?! After you get screamed at and told that applying by phone doesn't get them what they need- then tell them that THAT is the stance that those in charge take- that it's busy, and the offices are understaffed- BUT BY GOD CLIENTS CAN NOW APPLY BY PHONE AND INTERNET. See how that goes over and refer them to Mr. Hughes.
I wish every office in the State of Texas got with the Union and staged their own rally. I think it's amazing. It's time to do something. It's time to stop letting the puppets in State Office continue to pile work on and then say it's all great and wonderful.
If enough news gets created- then maybe someone will start listening.