Under pressure from UE Local 170 members who work for the WV Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), DHHR finally completed its long-overdue caseload standards report. UE Local 170 filed a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain a copy of the report, which you can read here. DHHR was suppose to deliver the report to the Legislative Oversight Commission for Health and Human Resources Accountability (LOCHHRA) during Legislature's November interim meetings.
In October, UE Local 170 DHHR members from Fayette County and Wood County met with Harold Clifton, DHHR Deputy Secretary for Human Services, to hear what the agency plans are for implementing the recommendations. Also attending the meeting with Clifton were Monica Robinson and Julie Thomas from DHHR's Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM). The UE members pressed Clifton throughout the meeting for concrete action on implementing the standards and hiring additional employees in order to lower the caseloads of DHHR employees.
Large, unmanageable caseloads mean that client services are not being delivered in a timely manner, and that children and the elderly are being put at risk.
In 2012, UE Local 170 reached an agreement with the DHHR for the agency to finally comply with West Virginia Code 9-2-6a, regarding the development of reasonable and achievable caseload standards for its program areas. Over the next year, UE Local 170, the West Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and DHHR put together workgroups - made up of DHHR employees - to develop caseload standards for five program areas: Social Workers, Case Aides, Eligibility Workers, Child Support Specialists, and Child Support Technicians.
The report also includes caseload standard recommendations for DHHR's three bureaus that cover public health, behavioral health, and Medicaid services. DHHR, however, did not put together workgroups to develop caseload standards for these bureaus.
UE Local 170 DHHR members will be meeting in the coming month to discuss the report and make plans to continue the fight to implement the caseload standard recommendations.