INdiana Systemic Thinking

January 21, 2008

10% Laid Off At Dunn MHC

Calling it a “temporary reduction in force”, Dunn Mental Health Center is saying goodbye to 29 employees, according to the Indianapolis Star.  This accounts for almost 10% of their workforce.  Not wanting to sound partisean, here is the whole story from the Star.  Remember, she said it, I didnt.

Twenty-nine employees of Dunn Center Mental Health in Richmond have been laid off, said CEO Kay Whittington on Sunday.Whittington called the “temporary reduction in force” a result of Gov. Mitch Daniels’ proposed cuts in Medicaid and a bill that could limit how much Medicaid communal health centers may offer.
Dunn Center is comprised of a staff of more than 300.”We have had a temporary reduction in staff across (the) seven counties that we provide services to,” Whittington said.The Dunn Center is a Medicaid provider, and the state government has “dramatically reduced what (the center) can do for Medicaid rehabilitation options,” Whittington said.Gov. Mitch Daniels said in early January a new budget forecast that shows state revenue falling below predictions could lead to some cuts “in some of the entitlement programs like Medicaid.””It all relates to that,” Whittington said.Five of the 29 positions laid off are part-time and the rest are full-time, and Whittington said many of the employees were offered a transfer into other positions.

Whittington said she knows of other communal health centers in the state that have laid off workers.

“We’re all faced with the same thing,” she said. “You can’t wait for the ship to sink.”

Whittington will be available for further details about the situation today, she said.

“We wanted to make sure our staff had the weekend to think about (transferring).”

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January 14, 2008

Roob Continues to Balk, Won’t Pay Up

Back on November 25, 2007 I posted on the Family and Social Services Administration not following legislative directives by withholding payment to  seven centers around the state.  According to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Mitch Roob continues to balk at paying up.  Despite “some movement”, Roob continues to want the centers to contractually agree to goals and objectives and continues the mantra “that a higher level of review [is] attached to the new money”.  Now, this softening is not because Roob felt like being a nice guy.  Apparently, a few legislators are ticked and this has caused Roob to soften somewhat.  However, at least one of the Directors of these centers is talking, and he says Roob is funding the increase, not with money allocated by the legislature, but by funds already available to FSSA.  Those funds, the Blogmeister would guess, probably require the accountability Roob wants from the centers.   Legislators have told the Centers not to sign the contract because if the money the legislature allocated to them is not used, it will revert back to the general fund and will take additional legislation to allocate more.  Therefore, it will not be available in the future.  So, if the centers sign they will get their money, from other sources, this year, but there is no guarantee of future funding. 

The big question here is:  Why won’t Roob fund the centers with the money allocated by the legislature?  My guess is he has access to some big federal dollars he has to use, which require the accountability.  He may not be able to come up with a single program, but by combining a bunch of programs he can get the money.  He can then look like a great guy because he saved the state a bunch of cash.  However, it doesn’t appear, if my guess is correct, that the pile of scratch he can get his hands on is a sure thing in the years to come.  Anyone have any better ideas?

December 6, 2007

Rainbow Vacuum Sucks for Couple with DD

As mental health providers, we are often faced with ethical questions in our business practices.  In fact, in Indiana, all licensed providers must have at least one hour of ethics training each year.  Too bad the same isnt required for those in the business community.  From Frank Gray’s column in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette comes this story that is just bad business at best and unethical at worst.

“Anthony and Stacey Quinones are a couple with developmental disabilities who live in a small house in Bluffton where they take care of each other, with help from their family and social service agencies.”

Then a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman showed up.

“The salesman was selling Rainbow vacuum cleaners, an expensive brand that is supposed to clean the air as well as vacuum dust and dirt. By the time the salesman had left, Anthony and Stacey had bought a model and signed a contract financing the cleaner at almost 22 percent interest over four years.

Now, the couple are on the hook for a $3,100 vacuum cleaner, which came complete with attachments for cleaning hardwood floors, even though they don’t have hardwood floors in their home.

Since then, Stacey, Anthony and their family and even Bi-County Services [the agency which manages their case] have been trying to get the contract canceled.

We called the company that sold them the equipment, Rain Tech in Auburn. We were told that Stacey had confirmed that she wanted the vacuum cleaner and it was her mother-in-law who wanted to cancel the deal. Besides, the deal was out of the company’s hands now. It was now in the hands of a finance company in Minnesota. If Rain Tech were to take the vacuum cleaner back and cancel the contract, it would cost them $1,000 in finance charges.

Stacey Quinones, though, tells a somewhat different story. She says she felt pressured to sign the contract to buy the vacuum cleaner. That was on a Saturday. Two days later, she said, she called a telephone number she was given and said she didn’t want the vacuum cleaner.

“But they said it had already been shipped,” that it was too late, Stacey Quinones says. “We’ve been trying to stop it ever since.”

Nannie Quinones did call the Rainbow distributor and say her son and daughter-in-law didn’t want the vacuum and couldn’t afford it. She says she was told no, don’t send the contract back. She wrote cancel on it anyway and mailed it back to the company. People have three business days to cancel contracts signed in their homes, but the canceled contract wasn’t postmarked until 2 a.m. on Oct. 18, two hours too late.

….

The couple’s program manager has also weighed in. The manager says she discussed the contract with Anthony and Stacey. She says they didn’t understand the contract, they didn’t understand that they were paying 21.99 percent annual interest, that they didn’t understand the contract was for more than $3,000, and that they didn’t understand it was for 48 months.

Anyone who would have spent five minutes in the couple’s home would have recognized they have issues, she said. She has written the finance company, arguing that the couple didn’t understand the entire transaction. But to no avail.

The family is now appealing to the Indiana attorney general’s consumer protection division, trying to find a solution.

Officials with Adult Protective Services in Allen County said the best route for the couple to take is to simply ship the vacuum back to the company. But they can’t do that because whoever delivered the vacuum took the box.

Nice work Rainbow.  Lets see here, you wanted to make a buck.  Fine, free country…your allowed to make money.  But now you have a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office, Really bad press, Adult Protective Services involved, and this Blog picking up the story for more bad press.  Hope whatever money you made was worth it.  Forget about all the possible legal and ethical issues, don’t you think the smart, let alone the right, thing to do would be to just give these people their money back.  Now your going to be known as the company who takes advantage of people with developmental disablities.  Bet your marketing department will love putting that on your business cards!

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