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.
Posts Tagged ‘news at DBHS’
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.
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.
If you are new to this information, you may want to view our previoius blog posts about the Maricopa County RBHA (GSA6) Update.
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:
- View member’s video about the integrated care (also referred as whole health care) approach: English [Spanish].
- Learn key facts about this model of care.
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.
Yesterday (December 3, 2013) the Deputy Director of the Arizona Department of Administration issued an Order affirming the Department of Health Services award of the GSA6 Integrated Care RBHA contract to Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care. In his Order the Deputy Director of ADOA indicates that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that the “Appellant Magellan did not establish its burden for any argument in the Protest considered at hearing” and therefore “Appellant Magellan did not establish that ADOA is required to rescind ADHS’s award of the 2013 RBHA contract to MMIC.” The Deputy Director’s acceptance of the recommendation of the ALJ in full continues to demonstrate the Department’s compliance with all aspects of the procurement process.
The Order from ADOA marks one more step in the process of implementing an integrated care model for the SMI population in Maricopa County. Magellan does continue to have appeal rights to Superior Court so we will continue to work through those processes if or when they occur. We will also continue to work with Magellan in the day to day management of the current GSA6 contract. The continued management and delivery of a quality behavioral health system is important to all our members and providers and we are committed to seeing that any activities associated with the contract award or transition activities do not adversely impact members.
The formal protest process regarding our award of the Regional Behavioral Health Authority contract in Maricopa County passed another milestone yesterday. The hearings at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) were completed a few weeks ago, and the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued her recommendation on Monday this week, concluding that: “Based on the foregoing, it is recommended that ADHS’s award of the 2013 RBHA contract to MMIC shall be affirmed and that Magellan’s appeal shall be dismissed.”
The Recommendation (at the end) says: “In the event of certification of the Administrative Law Judge Decision by the Director of the Office of Administrative Hearings, the effective date of the Order will be five days from the date of that certification”… which suggests that the ALJ’s recommendation still needs to be certified by the OAH Director- and that the effective date of the recommendation would be 5 days after that. At that point the certified recommendation would go to the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA) for a final determination.
ADOA is not bound by the recommendation of the ALJ so until we have that final determination we are not able to fully move forward with implemenation of the contract.
Arizona continues to demonstrate it’s commitment to persons with mental illness and substance abuse issues as demonstrated in a new national report. We lead the way in providing services such as health education, living skills training, peer and family support…all services that help a person recover from their illness and lead a full and meaningful life.
According to a recent study by the US Department of Health and Human Services called “Funding and Characteristics of Single State Agencies for Substance Abuse Services and State Mental Health Agencies”, our State ranked 6th nationally in spending on SMHA-controlled mental health funds, spending $209 per capita; ranked 5th nationally in spending on community-based programs, at $195.96 per person; and ranked 15th nationally in spending on prevention, research, training and administration, at $2.59 per person.
We also have the fewest residents of any state living in a state psychiatric hospital, at 3.7 per 100,000 people. De-institutionalization is a critical element in the recovery-based model which focuses on preparing the individual for community integration and self-sustained, productive and healthful living.
Since 2011 when ADHS implemented Mental Health First Aid in Arizona, 4,350 community members have been trained to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness and how to provide proper help and/or referrals for professional help. This year the Arizona Legislature allocated $250,000 to our agency to continue this mental health first aid program. The funds so far have certified 28 new instructors in the newest curriculum which specifically targets adult persons working with youth. With the help of these new instructors and the existing instructors that are part of our program, we expect to train an additional 3,000+ individuals with this new funding. Anyone interested in becoming a MHFA-ider can take this course free of charge. The schedule of classes for the entire state is available online at www.mentalhealthfirstaidaz.com.
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.