Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mental health care provider criticized

The Mental Health Alliance expressed disappointment because the company contracted by the government to offer services to mental health patients, APS Healthcare of Puerto Rico, “has excessive earnings” from offering “bad services” while noting the federal Health Department is investigating the company for those same allegations.   
Mental Health Alliance spokesperson Sylvia Haya said in a radio interview Thursday “that they’re creating the illusion that good service is being offered when they really aren’t.”
She said that some 135,000 to 136,000 patients are supposed to receive medical services with a budget if $124 million, but according to Mental Health Alliance numbers, APS only spends $20 million on medications and $40 million for outpatient services.
“I think they have excessive earnings … but horrible services,” Haya said adding that the alliance has tried to meet with Health Secretary Lorenzo González and Gov. Fortuño all to no avail.
However, Haya noted that both the Justice Department and the Health Ombudsman are evaluating the situation.
In addition, she said that federal agencies such as Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services, and the federal Health Department, “the ones that look after the services offered to Medicaid and Medicare patients,” have reached out to the Mental Health Alliance asking for the information and documents that prove the lack of services and excessive spending.
 “They are looking at this actively and we hope this will produce results,” Haya said.
Meanwhile, late Wednesday night, the General Workers Union rejected the final offer made by the Medical Services Administration regarding their collective bargaining agreement.
The salary-related offers made, such as the bonus for signing the collective bargaining agreement to compensate retroactively for the time the negotiations took place after the agreement expired, were less than what the workers' negotiating committee expected, the union said in a written statement.
As part of the administration’s offer, the negotiations of all the economic clauses for the third and fourth year of the agreement will be reevaluated on Jan. 2013, the General Workers Union said.
Rejecting the administration’s offer implies that the union’s negotiating committee will be evaluating the course of action they will take next within the next few days.
The General Workers Union called on the government to prioritize the important role the Río Piedras Medical Center represents, considered to be the frontier between life and death, before the crisis being faced by the Mi Salud government health plan.
Medical Services Administration workers will be holding a protest Nov. 16 at 11 a.m. in front of the Health Secretary’s office building. Union workers that work at the Río Piedras Medical Center will join the protest as well, the union stated.

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