The oral part of the hearing in front of the Administrative Law Judge completed today around 9:00am. That means the next steps in the process are legal filings and responses to the filings by all parties. Those are scheduled for 10/21/13 and 10/29/13 with the judge to consider everything once the submissions are complete. After the 10/29/13 date the hearing will be completely in the hands of the judge and she will determine what her recommendation will be to the Department of Administration. We would expect that to occur sometime in November but that remains at the discretion of the judge based on all the filings that are received.
ADHS is holding a series of focus groups for persons receiving care through Arizona’s public behavioral health system (also referred to as members). Their family members are also invited to participate. At this time the focus groups are ONLY for members and their family members. There will be additional focus groups for providers and other stakeholders.
The purpose of these meetings is to gather input for the next contract to provide behavioral health services throughout the State, excluding Maricopa County. The areas outside of Maricopa County are referred to as Greater Arizona.
Bisbee: September 25, 2013, 2:30 – 4pm at the Bisbee Community Y located at 26 Howell Ave. Phone 520-432-3542.
Tucson: September 26, 2013, 2:30 – 4 pm at HOPE, Inc. located at 1200 N. Country Club. Phone 520-770-1197.
Payson: October 2, 2013, 12:30 – 2 pm at Empowerment Center located at 107 E. Aero Dr. Phone 928-474-2668.
Additional focus groups are being planned and more information will be posted in this blog as it becomes available. If you have any questions about these focus groups please call Chaz at 602-364-4662.
I am pleased to announce that Donna Noriega has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer at the Arizona State Hospital (ASH). Donna has served as the Chief Operating Officer for that last nine years and has been the Acting CEO at ASH since September 2012. Donna has continued to work on building a culture of care that supports the effective treatment of patients utilizing national best practices and through the fostering of a collaborative team approach.
A few of the major initiatives that have been developed under Donna’s leadership include the implementation of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention strategies and training; Enhancing New Employee Orientation training to better prepare new employees and assist with retention; Establishing Behavioral Intervention Specialist roles to assist treatment teams and individual staff members with complex cases; Identifying environmental enhancements that provide additional safety protections for patients and staff; Developing a Trauma Informed Care Community within the hospital; and expanding clinical programming options for patients to improve their recovery efforts.
Traumatic events are shocking and emotionally overwhelming. ADHS extends sympathy for those affected by the recent mass shooting at our Capitol’s Navy Yard.
Anyone, near or far away from the event, may experience feelings of intense fear, horror or helplessness. Common reactions can include emotional numbness, blocking out aspects of the event, reliving the trauma in dreams and becoming easily frustrated or easily irritated over seemingly minor issues. There can also be physical symptoms such as racing heartbeat, nausea, a drastic change in appetite, insomnia, among others. Here are some recommendations to assist anyone who may be experiencing these symptoms:
- Stay connected with your friends, coworkers, family, neighbors
- Take care of your basic needs, these include sleep, eating well, exercising, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding too much alcohol and caffeine
- Stick to your usual routines and activities if you can
- Find ways to assist someone else
Helping others is a great way to help yourself! In fact, if you’re interested in helping others ADHS is offering Mental Health First Aid courses throughout the State. These courses teach you how to identify the signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge and how to provide proper aid to the person in need. Visit www.mentalhealthfirstaidarizona.com to learn more and to see the schedule of classes.
If you are a military or veteran family member, ADHS also has several online resources specifically for you at www.azdhs.gov/bhs/veterans/index.htm. An example of these resources is “Family of Heroes”, an online interactive training to help military families reconnect. This training uses technology similar to that used in video games. In the game, you take the form of an “avatar” and go through several scenarios of situations addressing common challenges among military/veteran family members.
You can also call our tragedy support line to speak with a trained counselor about your feelings –
- If you have mental health questions or need support during this difficult time, call 1-800-203-CARES or 1-800-203-2273.
- If you’re in a crisis, call your nearest mental health crisis line for assistance.
The next few weeks are very important in the continued transition to the implementation of the Integrated Care RBHA in Maricopa County. Most of you know that the Department awarded the contract to Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care (MMIC) earlier this year after a competitive bid process. Our current contractor Magellan has exercised their due process under the procurement code and contested the award. A hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge starts tomorrow (9/18) and will continue for at least seven days. All parties involved will have an opportunity to present their evidence to the judge who will then make a recommendation based on that evidence to the Department of Administration.
In the meantime the current contract for RBHA services in Maricopa County was set to expire on September 30th. To avoid any disruption in service to members ADHS has extended the current Magellan contract for up to six months. The contract extension does have a standard clause that allows either party to exit the contract with 30 days’ notice after January 1, 2014. This contract extension takes into account the length of time it may take for the judge to hear the case and make a recommendation, the ADOA to make a ruling based on that recommendation and for ADHS to make appropriate plans following that ADOA ruling. We want to make sure that members remain as the focus of our efforts and do not get overlooked during these complex administrative processes.
Watch for updates down the road as key decision points are reached.
Arizona schools are buzzing with activity as the school year gets underway. It’s an exciting time for most students. But many middle school and high school students are battling anxiety, depression, substance abuse and other common conditions that can be barriers to learning.
During this Suicide Prevention Awareness Week (September 8-14, 2013) we’d like to highlight the way high school and middle school teachers and staff can spot indicators of students’ psychological distress and refer them to support services.
School can be difficult for many students – about 10 percent of Arizona high school students reported having attempted suicide in the past year. The percentage of high school students, especially boys, who felt sad or hopeless during the course of one year is also disproportionately higher in Arizona than in the rest of the United States. Research shows nearly 50 percent of lifetime mental disorders begin by the mid-teens.
That’s why ADHS is offering free online training for teachers and staff. The interactive training helps adults recognize the common signs of psychological distress in teens, manage conversations with students in psychological distress, motivate students to seek help and connect them with school support services.
The course helps teachers and staff learn by engaging in conversations with emotionally responsive student avatars that exhibit symptoms of depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide.
The free class takes about an hour and can be done any time from any computer with Internet access. To take the trainings, visit:
Middle school: https://middleschool.kognito.com/arizona
High School: www.kognito.com/products/highschool.
For information on how to implement this training in your high school, you may reply to this blog post or email us at DBHSinfo@azdhs.gov.
Mental health is part of overall wellness – a balance of physical, social, intellectual, spiritual and financial health.
The achievements in integrated health care for individuals with mental illness will be highlighted September 12 during the Journey to Wellness: Integrated Health Programs in Central Arizona Expo. The expo, one of the National Recovery Month events scheduled in September, will feature exhibits, demonstrations and the opportunity to talk to health coaches, peer support specialists and others.
The event will also provide an opportunity to hear stories of recovery, including the story of Miss Arizona International Kayla Downs.
The expo is 4-7 p.m. in the Copper Room at GateWay Community College, 108 N. 40th St., Phoenix.
For more information, e-mail MagellanofAZ@MagellanHealth.com.
For more events throughout the State during Recovery Month click here.
The 2013 National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) observance represents the many ways for people to prevent behavioral health issues, seek treatment, sustain recovery, and live a healthy life. This year’s theme, Join the Voices of Recovery: Together on Pathways to Wellness, aims to educate individuals and communities, emphasizing that it is essential to seek physical and mental wellness every day, through multiple pathways and throughout the recovery process, to achieve health and well-being.
View this one-page factsheet to learn things you can do this month to support recovery.
View our online calendar to attend a recovery event near you!
Watch SAMHSA’s video about peer to peer recovery services.
It’s been awhile since I have posted any updates on this award status. The protest is scheduled for hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge from 9/18-9/26. Once the hearing is complete the judge will provide a recommendation to the Department of Administration who makes the final decision. Regardless of that decision one thing is for certain, there will be a RBHA in Maricopa County. Why would I state something so obvious? Because at the end of the day people make systems successful. Regardless of the prevailing party in the protest we need great people to deliver the service. If the award to Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care is upheld, they will need the vast majority of the staff from the current contractor to help make a successful transition. If Magellan prevails, they will need to retain staff and add more to become a fully integrated contractor. It is important that we recognize the value of people and we don’t forget the importance in all of the legal proceedings. Regardless of the outcome we need great people and it would be unfortunate to lose anyone because we failed to state the obvious.