Posts Tagged ‘news at DBHS’

Arnold v. Sarn Dismissed

September 23rd, 2014

Yesterday marked an important day in Arizona history.  The longstanding Arnold v. Sarn lawsuit was formally dismissed by the court.  Why that is important is that it demonstrates Arizona’s commitment to creating and maintaining a vibrant community based system of care.  That wasn’t always the case in Arizona so we are thankful for the opportunities that were originally created by the lawsuit and for the commitment of Governor Brewer and others that helped shape the system and create a sustainable infrastructure for its success.  The dismissal does not mean our work is done however.  We have embedded the principles of the lawsuit in our contracts and funding models and will continue to move the system forward with thing like integration that will help improve the overall health outcomes for members.  Finally, I would just like to say thank you to all the members, providers, RBHA staff and state employees that worked on shaping the system over the years.  We have a great deal to be proud of and will continue to build upon your efforts.

Let the Fidelity Begin

July 23rd, 2014

As part of the Arnold v. Sarn Stipulation for Providing Community Services and for Terminating the Litigation, signed in January 2014, ADHS agreed to oversee new mechanisms for evaluating the quality of services provided to the Seriously Mentally Ill.

One area of evaluation involves the implementation of fidelity tools. These measures were created by officials at the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and provide national benchmarks for quality of services provided to individuals diagnosed with a Serious Mentally Illness.

A team of reviewers at ADHS began this week with the implementation of the SAMHSA fidelity tools in Maricopa County. During the next fiscal year, they will see that each provider of ACT teams, supported employment, permanent supportive housing and peer services is evaluated with the corresponding fidelity tool.

The first fidelity reviews started Monday. A nationally recognized expert in SAMHSA fidelity tools is working alongside the ADHS reviewers in the field for the first two weeks to provide further training and guidance.

For additional information about the tools, visit:

For more information about Arnold v. Sarn, visit:

Greater Arizona RFP Released Today!

July 7th, 2014

Today we released the Greater Arizona RFP for Integrated care. The RFP will encompass the fourteen counties outside of the greater Phoenix Area (Maricopa County) and will be split in two Geographic Service Areas (GSA’s). The North GSA will include the following counties: Apache, Coconino, Gila, Mohave, Navajo, Yavapai and a small portion of Graham County (zip code 85530).  The South GSA will include Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma Counties.

A great deal of thought and research went into these GSA configurations including resident travel patterns, availability of behavioral, primary and specialty care and tribal land alignment.  While no alignment completely meets the needs and desires of every resident we believe this alignment will provide for the best care outcomes for the individuals served under these contracts.

Bidders will be required to submit their bids in early October.  Once all bids are submitted the evaluation process will begin with an anticipated award prior to the end of 2014.  New contracts for the two new GSA’s will begin on October 1, 2015.

This is an exciting time for Arizona as we will have statewide integration of behavioral health and primary care for one of our most vulnerable populations, individuals diagnosed with a Serious Mental Illness (SMI).  Most studies indicate that individuals with an SMI die as much as 25 years earlier than the general population, many times from preventable illnesses.  Providing compassionate and coordinated care for this population will lead to an improved quality of life while managing costs associated with chronic conditions.

Stay tuned for additional information on the RFP process and follow the process at our Procurement Website or through the ADHS link.

ADHS welcomes SAMHSA tools’ fidelity reviewers

June 23rd, 2014

In conjunction with the exit agreement for Arnold v. Sarn, ADHS is using Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) fidelity tools to evaluate the services provided to persons with a serious mental illness in Maricopa County in four areas: ACT teams, supportive housing, supported employment and peer services. In collaboration with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), ADHS has hired four SAMHSA fidelity reviewers.

The reviewers started in June. They are responsible for reviewing the providers in these four evidence based practice areas. The reviews will begin in July, with oversight of a SAMHSA consultant and WICHE staff.

The reviewers hired are:

Jeni Serrano

Jeni brings more than 14 years’ experience across a broad spectrum of mental and behavioral health services.  Prior experience includes serving as a Site Manager for a program dedicated to providing basic needs of seriously mentally ill adults and improving their quality of life through member-run non-clinical peer-to-peer programs; working as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist for the Arizona Department of Economic Security and as a Rehabilitation Specialist for Value Options; assisting individuals to become involved in or maintain involvement in meaningful daily activities, paid or unpaid. Jeni holds a B.S. Degree from State University Of New York, Empire State College.


Karen Voyer-Caravona

Karen earned a Master of Social Work, with a concentration in policy, planning, administration and community practice from Arizona State University in 2014. Also earning a Certificate in Gerontology, she completed internships at the City of Phoenix Housing Department and the Alzheimer’s Association.  In addition, Karen brings 10 years of experience as master level therapist working in a variety of treatment settings such as inpatient psychiatric, day treatment, community mental health, school-based settings and private nonprofit agencies.  Her range of clinical experience includes severe mental illness, child and family therapy, child sexual abuse, and offender treatment. In 2003, Karen left clinical practice to serve to a Legislative Aide for a Louisville Metro Councilman where she developed a passion for public policy and the legislative processes that affect social programs.

T.J. Eggsware

T.J. has 13+ years of experience working in the Maricopa County behavioral health system. He completed his Bachelor of Social Work at Wheelock College in Boston, MA.  T.J. moved to Phoenix, AZ and began his behavioral health career as a Case Manager at a RBHA managed direct care clinic serving the SMI population where he was promoted to a supervisory role.   He has held titles of Team Lead, Clinical Liaison, and Clinical Coordinator on both a specialty Supervisory Care Home team and a Forensic case management team at a clinic located in Central Phoenix. With the hope of having a broader impact on the behavioral health system, T.J. moved into an administrative role with the RBHA. He worked in Quality Management and the Learning Department. Through those roles he was able to collaborate with a variety of community stakeholders, agencies, staff, service recipients and family members.  Additionally, T.J. completed his Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling through Argosy University in 2012 and was awarded his Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) certification from the Arizona State Board of Behavioral Health Examiners (AZBBHE) in 2013.


Georgia Harris

Georgia is a workshop speaker and community crusader, dedicated to multi-sector improvement in communities nationwide. Most recently she was a Learning Specialist with Magellan.  She has worked throughout the RBHA for Maricopa C ounty since 2005. Georgia completed her Baccalaureate degree in Family and Social Relations at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Canada. Georgia has also completed a Master’s in Education with emphasis in Adult Education and Training at the University of Phoenix and has a technical background in radio broadcasting and audio production. She has worked in the Behavioral Health field since 2002, and has held positions in direct care; city-wide program coordination; program curriculum design and development; as well as assessment, tracking and evaluation of program outcomes. Specialty areas include: Youth and Behavioral Health, Cultural Competency, Education, Adult Learning, Bullying (traditional/ cyber/ elderly/ workplace), Social Media, Autism, program coordination, program curriculum design and development.

For any additional questions or information about the agreement, please contact: Kelli Donley –

Keep Our Children Home

May 30th, 2014

On Wednesday we held a summit with key stakeholders to discuss how we continue to move the children’s system forward in Arizona.  With the JK lawsuit behind us it is important that we continue to focus on delivering quality services to our children and transition aged youth.  The summit was designed to get some ideas on the table and help us strategize core components that will guide services for the next few years.  We look forward to taking the great ideas that were discussed and operationalizing them in a manner that builds on the foundation we have in place.

Arnold v Sarn Lawsuit

February 27th, 2014

This morning a Superior Court judge approved the exit agreement that was signed in January and will bring a close to the 30+ year old lawsuit.  The Plaintiffs, Defendants and the Court all commented about how getting to this point has been a major accomplishment but that additional work will need to be done to maintain the level of services that have been developed to this point and that have been agreed to in exit agreement.  The dismissal of the suit is scheduled to occur later this year after.  Governor Brewer attended the hearing and addressed the Court affirming her commitment to the class members and the exit agreement.  Without the Governor’s leadership over the last few years in particular the agreement would not have been possible.

Maricopa County RBHA Transition Moves a Step Closer

February 18th, 2014

On Monday a Superior Court Judge denied a motion to stay the transition of the Maricopa County RBHA from Magellan to Mercy Maricopa.  That transition is scheduled for 4/1/2014 and it now looks like it will happen according to schedule.  Magellan still has the opportunity to appeal the decision and excercise their due process in the matter however the department will continue to move forward with the transition that is now down to just over 40 days away.

Maricopa County (GSA6) RBHA Transition On Track

February 6th, 2014

We continue to work daily in the Division of Behavioral Health to make sure the transition from Magellan to Mercy Maricopa is smooth and that there is no gap in service for members. We meet weekly with both Magellan and Mercy Maricopa to review all aspects of the transition and both parties have been extremely professional and member focused throughout the process. With less than 60 days to go until the “go live” date for Mercy Maricopa we are comfortable that everything is proceeding according to schedule. As I have indicated in previous posts, one of the greatest resources we have in Arizona is the people committed to working in the behavioral health system and the peer, provider and RBHA level. We have been focusing more each day on making sure that many of these talented individuals remain in the system so we don’t lose their passion, creativity and commitment. Mercy Maricopa and Magellan have collaboratively worked to help individuals transfer from one entity to the other when the position, skill set and timing are all in alignment. Our Division is continuing to encourage that collaborative approach. For those individuals that have not had a chance to see what is available at Mercy Maricopa you can find the information on their website  by clicking on “Careers” in the upper right hand corner.  As we continue to move toward our new RBHA here in Maricopa County I encourage you to check back often or follow our blog and website to keep up with the latest happenings.

Integrating Care in Maricopa County

January 29th, 2014

If you are new to this information, you may want to view our previoius blog posts about the

On April 1, 2014, Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care will begin serving our members as the Regional Behavioral Health Authority for Maricopa County. What does this mean to our members?  What steps do they need to take? Where do they call if have questions? Please see below:


Greater Arizona RFI Posted

December 9th, 2013

Our Procurement Office posted a Request For Information (RFI) for Greater Arizona Behavioral Health Services earlier today.  The RFI is seeking input concerning the delivery of behavioral health services for all parts of Arizona outside of Maricopa County.  The existing contracts for service delivery in this area expire on September 30, 2015.  While that may sound like a long time from now it is important to gather all the information we can in preparation to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP).  The RFP will likely be issued in the Summer of 2014 with Proposals being due in the Fall of 2014 and a selection of vendors in late 2014 or early 2015.  This timeline should allow for a smooth implementation of new contracts beginning in October 2015.