Sunday, January 28, 2007

News you can use....Links

State Plans Medicaid Experiment- Dallas Morning News

Here's a Budget Priority For You-

HHSC Reverses Course on Welfare Privatization-Father John Whiteford

I also wanted to comment on the "change" in the contract. Correct me if I'm wrong, but does it now sound like Accenture/TAA have become nothing more than glorified clerical staff- now that it sounds like all they have to do is scan in documents?

Under the restructured contract, the Bermuda-based company will be largely relegated to data entry, leaving judgments about whether Texans qualify for food stamps, Medicaid and other welfare programs to state workers
So it sounds like the same thing WE were doing BEFORE TAA. Right?
We have to spend millions still for this?

Edited to add: Wanted to add the comment that was left so it won't be missed...I've bolded what stood out to me.....

I absolutely agree with your point here. I was at mini-lobby day on Wed. and this was the point we kept hammering home with the legislators. Throughout the next few months, it would be good to remind your state legislators and the members of the appropriations/finance committees and health and human service committees that it makes no fiscal sense to spend the same amt. of money (per year) for three years for Accenture to do less work. By the way, I did ask the question of whether the $543 million still being spent included money for TIERS maintenance or info. broker (because this will still go to Accenture for the full 5 years) and was told that this money is separate.

Friday, January 26, 2007

TSEU Broadcast Update 01/26/07

Who is Accenture trying to influence with mega media campaign?
Since January 1 Accenture has spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a media advertising blitz that includes at least seven full pages and five half-pages on the Austin American Statesman along with frequent spots on Austin-area radio and television. There radio campaign includes major donations to local PBS station KUT with the regular "announcements" of the corporation's name and slogans. Full page ads in the Statesman cost about $20,000, and half-pages cost about
$10,000 each, so the media buy in the Austin newspaper alone was about $150,000.
The newspaper ads are all close copies of one another, and feature full-page images of golf champion Tiger Woods with bits of inspirational wisdom like "relentless consistency 50%,willingness to change 50%, high performance delivered."
Accenture sells no consumer products or services, which raises the question of who the campaign is aimed at. The Bermuda-based corporation once had an $899 million contract with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to provide human services eligibility via call centers.  The contract was reduced to about $566 million after Accenture failed to deliver on most of  the promised products and services. The contract has been a total failure, and many legislators are
calling for a complete cancellation. Press coverage of the problems has played a major role in bringing the issues to the attention of lawmakers. With legislators in Austin for the 80th session of the Texas Legislature, Accenture would not be helped by more media coverage of its failures.
Accenture's high-dollar advertising campaign appears to be a desperate attempt to restore its tarnished image and encourage less media coverage of its failure to deliver quality health and human services.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Support in the local offices - Comments added to post in RED.

Time and time again it's been spoken that the disparity between employees and their Supervisor continues to grow. I'm not speaking on ALL Supervisors. There are many out there who are heartsick at the overwhelming work that their workers and clerks are facing daily. I'm not talking about them.

I'm talking about those in "charge" that have chosen to just go along with whatever is told to them, and in no way backing their workers up in the local offices. This may come in the form of fighting for their workers to have worktime that is sufficient to get some things done (rather than almost force their workers to work weekends - time away from family and their personal life - in order to stay caught up) may come from backing workers up when a client calls to complain.

Here's what needs to be understood- we are ALL behind. In everything. Not because we "like" it, but because it is the way it is. Why does upper management think that piling more work on top of more work is going to "fix" the problem? The more cases you interview (by phone, no less), the more cases that sit pending waiting to be finished. Our offices have gone from 6-8 per day to as many as 20-22 per day. And rather than the same amount of "worktime", in many cases- workers aren't given ANY worktime or very little. So management says "schedule them with 2-3 more each per day" without giving a thought that we are ALREADY SEEING TOO MANY. And front line supervisors - in many cases- don't say anything. Just go along. Yet, they (supvs) expect the work from their workers who feel lost in all of this.

In NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM AM I HARPING ON SUPERVISOR'S IN THE LOCAL OFFICES. I can't IMAGINE being in your position. I wouldn't even want to be. That's not what this is- but whether it's nice to read or not- IT'S THE PERCEPTION AMONG YOUR STAFF THAT'S MOST IMPORTANT. Workers who feel like they have the back up and respect of their supervisor WILL perform FOR their supervisor.

If "The Powers That Be" want to keep and retain the little tenured staff they have left...then it's time to step up to the plate. It's time to stop sending out these emails proclaiming your appreciation for "all our hard work" and do something about it. Quality is suffering in this (Does QC even matter anymore?) and you've got good workers who have tried to stick it out now leaving because it's just become too much.

I sure miss our "old" DHS.

Great comments, posting for all to see.....THANKS for your input, anyone else?

Anonymous said...
The work being piled up and piled up is what eventually sent me packing. I left. I couldn't take it anymore. I have been out about 3 months and am a different person. You don't realize how oppressed you are as a worker until you get away from it. I finally told myself, "This is HHSC's mess, not mine. It is not my problem anymore." My family agrees. They said they would eat out of the trash before I go back to that place... My hair is no longer falling out..No longer on anti depressants..No high blood pressure...You may need some time off. Talk to you Dr if you are feeling stressed or ill alot. I have not been ill one time since leaving. I used to be sick alot. The doctor said it was stress. It can kill you...That scared me. Have you started having panic attacks in the middle of the night yet? I was at that point. I hate what is happening, I was good at my job as a worker, but felt it was so political and that our voices were not being heard. They need to make all temps permanent and quit the temp thing. They are just taking those jobs to get their foot in the door and then moving on to other departments or agencies.
How far will they let it go?
Too far apparantly. I don't know if it can ever be fixed.
I used to love the "old DHS" too. When Clinton was president it was a good place to work. Why is that?
It's all politics. The rich getting richer. The poor getting poorer. What is going to happen to these people on benefits when minimum wage is raised? Will they lost them. Sorry for rambling.
GOOD LUCK to you all that stayed and God Bless You All.

Anonymous said...
One of the things I learned as I worked my way up the ladder at DHS/HHSC was that a lot of people in DHS had a client focus that was not popular in the general population, the Governor's office, or TWC.

Granted, there are radicals at both end of the political spectrums. I dont want to make this a liberal/conservative issue. But as a slightly conservative leaning person, I was proud of the work I and the agency did in helping the truly needy.

Well, Albert Hawkins and his clique hate the old DHS heirarchy and it's "baby-ing" of clients. If you were with the old DHS and specifically the old Texas Works section, you carry a certain stigma within HHSC and their heirarchy. Your competence, intelligence, and integrity are considered questionable and the old DHS guard, to a large degree, has been pushed out.

My greatest pain has come in having to see some of the most caring, self-sacrificing public servants I've ever known be driven off. They were replaced by "headhunters" such as Greg Phillips and Sidonie Squire. Parasites who came in, bathed the halls of DHS with blood of long time employees, then left to greener pastures elsewhere. And by the way, both Phillips and Squire, personally or through their families, have connections with private companies that made out like bandits in the privatization efforts here in Texas. For example, at one time, the manager responsible for oversight of the vendor under the new eligibility system was.... a former vice-president of one of the companies that won the bid. Talk about putting a rat in charge of the cheese.

How I wish a thorough and indepth investigation of the whole privatization and exploitation of the contracts under Hawkins were conducted by the FEDERAL government. The loss in public monies and client services is a crime and a shame for the state of Texas.

Word on the Street

Got this from someone in email.....please, if you hear something or know something, email me the info- I NEVER reveal where it comes from.

On to the info:

Rumor has it that Planned Parenthood offices are signing up clients for
that new program (Woman's Insurance Program), apparently without their
knowledge...... A woman came in to apply recently for benefits and found that
she was a TIERS client. The only thing that she had done remotely close to
applying for benefits prior to this was visited the local Planned Parenthood for
an exam. Another woman had gone to Planned Parenthood to get birth control. She was willing to pay for any services provided, but was told she couldn't, that
she had to sign up for "a Medicaid program" that would cover it.... This is all
second party hearsay, but the source is reliable, as they had to try to explain
the why's and wherefores of the new program to the clients.

Wait a minute, what? So PP is signing clients up without them knowing? Are those one page applications required to be signed? If this is happening, who do we tell? Will it matter?

The second tidbit is that the new program has already overwhelmed the
unit that is supposed to be working the cases and converting associated cases.
Over 7000 applications were tallied through 011507, with more on the way. They
are already asking some of the other ART workers to help out. This really Chaps
my hide, as they KNEW that they would have a gadjillion applications to process
at first. Are these poor clients going to go without if their cases come up for
review during the transition?

I've heard this as well...that there is already a massive amount of overflow into ART. Again, as was said here before....these clients have NO IDEA that this will throw them into TIERS for ALL their cases.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Comment left by client......comments?

i have read several of your blogs, and would like to contribute some thoughts from the other side of the coin. being a single mother of two children, one of which is handicapped, i would beg that you and your co-workers, the good ones, the ones who really truly care about the people who come to them for help, will respond, and let me know how we change this system. i have no doubt what-so-ever that when the federal assistant programs were started by the FDR administration, today's end result is NOT what was intended at all. i work. have worked up to 3 jobs at a time. because my son's disability is very expensive, i have no choice but to make sure he stays eligible for his medicaid. its not a fact im proud of, quite the contrary actually. but its a fact all the same. which means SSI dictates how much money i can make and still allow my son to be eligible for the benifits that are necessary for his life...yet, i only qualified for $107 per month worth of food stamps. my childrens father , who owes over $35,000 in child support and REFUSES to work, and has 4 other children he refuses to support, lives with 2 of his children and his common law wife, and they get SSI, social security disability, and nearly $600 a month in food stamps. have money for beer. they eat steak all the time. my kids are lucky to have hamburger helper. someone please tell me how this is fair? now, because i refuse to lie, i dont qualify at all. nothing. still cant make more money, or loose my son's medicaid. so how do i feed my children? why does the system force us to lie? why does the system reward laziness, yet punishes those of us who WANT to work? i dont understand. and honestly, it pisses me off. not at you workers. i get that you follow rules. i get that you are frustrated with the system. but i dont get why we cant work together to change make it right. to make it fair. im glad i stumbled across this blog. it makes me happy to know there are some HHSC workers who give a damn. tell me who to write..who to do we change what obviously does not work? i have a friend who works for HHSC..i know he is so frustrated with the way things are. he gets angry with me because i wont lie. i wont just do what he tells me to do in order to get benifits. i just cant do it that way. i know he is one of the good guys. and i know he cant be alone out there. thanks for letting me vent. maybe some day this system will return to what it was meant to be. a helping hand. not a hand out. not a free ride. help those of us who desperately need assistance, and make those who refuse to work, refuse to even try, fend for themselves. i know that sounds harsh. but im sick of paying medicaid taxes out of every check i make for some lazy jerk who wants nothing more than a few more kids so the benifits go up for doing nothing. ITS WRONG. plain and simple. you all have the power to make those in charge understand...its time

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Monday, January 15, 2007


Got this in comments:
Can you update the blog more regularly?

And in response to that- I update as much as I can. I'm an Advisor interviewing a huge amount of clients everyday, working late and weekends to stay caught up. What little "free time" I do find, I try to spend with the family I have that has had their time with me cut back by the job.

I update when I get information or when someone emails me information. I try to post on big stories as they happen, or sometimes prior to happening as I did when I posted the press release was forthcoming in regards to the contract "changes"-before it was official.......anyone reading is more than welcome to send me an email with a concern or issue they have and I'll be more than happy to post it on the blog. In fact, I encourage anyone reading to do just that- just email me whatever- what you are seeing in your area, your opinion on things- etc. Anyone of us could be "hhscemployee" and most of us are.