UE Local 170 DHHR caseload standards participants.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) caseload standard work groups completed their work last month and issued final reports with caseload standard recommendations for five program areas: Eligibility Workers, Social Workers, Case Aides, Child Support Specialists, and Child Support Techs (you can read the five work groups' reports here). The work groups were made up of DHHR employees from across the state who work in the five program areas for the Bureau of Children and Families and the Bureau for Child Support Enforcement.

UE Local 170 and the West Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers were instrumental in getting DHHR to finally comply with the caseload standards statute early last year. Nearly 20 UE Local 170 members, who work for DHHR, participated in all five work groups. UE Local 170 got to pick members to participate in all five work groups. NASW got to pick members to participate in the Social Workers work group. DHHR employees nominated and elected employees for the work groups. DHHR also appointed employees to the work groups. The work groups have been meeting and working on developing "reasonable and achievable" caseload standards since October 2012.
 
DHHR employees have complained for years of large, unmanageable caseloads. The caseload standards statute had been on the books since 1997, but DHHR never implemented the statute. It wasn't until UE Local 170 organized and mobilized its members to put pressure on DHHR that the agency finally agreed to implement the statute and put together the work groups to develop "reasonable and achievable" caseload standards for all of its program areas. The work groups' recommendations are to be presented to the Secretary of DHHR and the Legislature in July.
 
While the work groups' caseload standard recommendations are "advisory only," UE Local 170 intends to continue to organize and mobilize its members and DHHR employees across the state to get DHHR and the Legislature to implement the recommendations. UE Local 170 will be having a lobby day on Tuesday, July 23 to meet with legislators during the Legislature's July interim meetings to discuss the caseload standard recommendations and to ask for their support in implementing the standards.
 
In July 2013, DHHR will begin to put together new work groups to study classifications used in the delivery of health care services. Specific classifications for the second phase of the project have not yet been determined. This will involve DHHR employees who work for the Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities, the Bureau for Medical Services and the Bureau for Public Health.