Ten Phone Calls & A Jelly Donut
by Mark Scaramella, May 4, 2016
We remain thoroughly unimpressed with the “progress” being made converting — official Mendo calls it “transitioning” — Mendocino’s $7 million adult mental health services from Yuba City's Ortner Management Group to the Ukiah-based Redwood Quality Management Company (RQMC).
If you came in late, Redwood Quality says it can administer mental health a lot cheaper than the Yuba City pirate. We’ll grant that it’s bold and “transparent” of the County to post their non-accomplishments on the Board of Supervisors website every few weeks, so bold one has to wonder if the posters are reality based. I mean really. Your job is to transfer responsibility from one outfit to another and then you go public with a vague list of phone calls as your work product? Reading the task list and the lack of completion of even these mushy moosh-moosh steps does not engender confidence that the “transition” will be smooth. Or accomplished at all.
Aside: In the most interesting biography of Steve Jobs, the Apple computer wizard, it's clear that Jobs was a do your job or die guy. We fantasize that for one day Jobs is "tasked" with streamlining the Mendocino County work project. At the end of 8 hours, County staff would have been reduced two-thirds and all the County's pot holes filled.
Below are examples of the kinds of the things that the County’s BHRS (Behavioral Health and Recovery Services) Department claims to have done as of May 3 [sic, the report was posted on April 29] since their last update on April 11. Note the pure non-taskiness of many of the “tasks” and the vague verbs deployed. This kind of talk of course is common among the helping professionals who regularly confuse their generic helpo-gab — meetings, “working on,” “begun to examine,” “collaborate,” “working with,” etc. — for action. Also note that most of what little progress is actually being made is by the contractor, not the County.
“BHRS has been in contact with the two medication providers and have established their schedules starting July 1, 2016
“BHRS negotiated contract terms with medication providers and are drafting fiscal year 16/17 contracts.
“BHRS & OMG have established a schedule for medication appointments starting July 1st. [But the dates of those appointments has not been published.]
“RQMC has begun Adult Provider Training on 4/15/16, attended by Mendocino Coast Hospitality House, MCAVHN, Manzanita, Redwood Community Services, & RQMC. [Normally, beginning something is not something to brag about.]
And endlessly on.
If these people were in charge of D-Day we'd still be fighting World War Two.
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Nothing new has been accomplished. If these people worked for any kind of serious business, they'd all be fired yesterday. If history is any guide the MOUs they allegedly working on with the many disparate partners will drag out for months if not years (and they won’t be coordinated resulting in patients lost amidst who they’re supposed to see) and none of it will be integrated into a comprehensive system that tracks each client’s status — a “task” that remains to be even listed among the meetings, the will-dos, the donuts.
And how many clients are there? How many could there be in a population of 90,000, half of them children? These are the last people to ask. They have no idea, and it would take a year's worth of meetings and phone calls to find out.