Energetic and motivated workplace with a great team of Irish volunteers
Individual Support Staff (Current Employee), Anchorage, AK – November 18, 2013
I am currently working as an Individual Support Specialist with ‘Hope Community Resources’ in Anchorage, Alaska. I graduated from University College Cork in June 2013 with an honours degree in Occupational Therapy, and moved to Alaska to gain experience in the field of working with children and adults with disabilities in a different country. I have – more... gained many valuable insights into the service provision for people with disabilities in America.
I work in a recreation centre facilitating engagement in meaningful activities and leisurely outings for children and adults experiencing ASD, intellectual disabilities, physical and sensory disabilities. I also provide one to one day habilitation with a child experiencing cerebral palsy. – less
Mental Health Associate II (Former Employee), Anchorage, AK – November 12, 2013
Pros: flexible, benefits after 3 months, over time pay
Cons: a lot of driving, spending your own money on services, pushed to bring in revenue, chaotic schedule, might not feel comfortable working with certain individuals
When I visited Hope for my interview I fell in love with the Discovery Center and the Art Studio. I also really enjoyed meeting the director of the Dept. of Mental Health (Net 15) at Hope and its supervisors. I was very eager and excited to work for them as a Mental Health Associate II (case manager). They told me in the interview that I would work – more... with kids, that the job required I have a car to pick up my clients at home/school, and that I had to provide 32 hours of billing to Medicaid every week. It all sounded good, until I finished my training and began working as a case manager.
Basically, you work with both children and adults with mental health issues. You pick them up at school, work, and/or home and drive them around for about 3 to 4 hours. You are expected to pay for them to engage in activities such as ice skating, bowling, cooking workshops, and ect. You spend a lot of time driving so you use up your own gas. I sometimes put 80 miles on my car in just 4 hours with one individual. Hope reimburses you after about 2 to 3 weeks but you must always pay out of pocket first. Not to mention that as a case manager you do not make a great deal of money. You are supposed to provide these services for 32 hours of your work week so that you can bill Medicaid for providing "Mental Health Services" (glorified babysitting). The other 8 hours you work on writing notes to submit to Medicaid for revenue and on writing treatment plans.
Like many other mental health agencies, the network is being pushed to get their numbers up so that they can get in more revenue. Hope's NET 15 is extremely concerned with revenue but lack the skills to efficiently run a mental health program. They are so desperate that in a recent meeting, an upcoming supervisor, told case managers that if they see clients in the center, to stop and say hi to them. She stated that case managers could then write a case management billing note for 15 minutes in order to charge medicaid for the interaction even that client may not be on your case load. It is called "creative billing". I find this very unethical and it makes me question the integrity of the department. I don't think medicaid would approve of this. She said that if we can do this on a daily basis or with at least 10 individuals we can get our billing up and bring in more revenue. It's all about billing Medicaid as much as you possibly can to make the agency money. Also, their billing system is the most outdated system I have heard of. Their is no online database where you can submit your notes. You have to type your notes, print them, scan them, and then hand them in to the DC by Monday morning.
I believe this job is good for someone who is in DESPERATE need of a job, a college student, a recent college grad with no experience, or someone who is retired. Case managers that have years of experience in this field do not fair too well as Hope's NET 15 is too disorganized, chaotic, and inefficient. Experienced individuals tend to become bored as it is obvious that they are just babysitting and billing Medicaid for it, instead of really providing mental health services. Other experienced case managers have also left within weeks of being hired for this reason. College students tend to stick it out due to their flexible schedule and because they need experience. One good thing that some of you might like is they require that you work remotely. So you can always go to a cafe or stay at home to type up your notes and write treatment plans.
The best jobs at Hope are administration jobs or supervisor positions that do not require that you use your own resources to provide services. Also, Hope has many different networks. This was just my experience with its mental health component. Even though I felt the mental health dept. is ran poorly, I truly got along with all of the caseworkers and supervisors. They are very nice but nice is not enough to run a successful program. One thing that I will miss is the clients, I actually enjoyed working with the children.
But I encourage you to find out for yourself. Even if you do not like the job you will work with some great people. – less
Employment Support Specialist (Current Employee), Anchorage, AK – October 13, 2013
Pros: everyone is great to work with.
Cons: 30 hours a week to get benifits. they can not find me 30 hours that do not require lifting 50lbs.
I like working at hope. The people there are caring and do what they can for the people that work there. My hours of work were cut because I can no longer lift 50lbs. I don't have a degree to get advancement in the company. My boss even sent me new jobs to apply for because she care about me even though a new job might not be with them.
Home Alliance Coordinator (Former Employee), Anchorage, AK – August 6, 2013
Pros: paid no rent, good benefits
Cons: rarely every got to take time off.
My day begins with giving morning medications to all the individuals in the home. I was also responsible to make sure there daily activities was completed ( showering, getting dressed, all meals, getting back and forth to work dr's appt etc.) I managed two other employees on a daily basics. The hardest part about my job was leaving to move to las vegas. – more... What I loved the most was the since of accomplishment I got every day from one of my guys telling me how much i've changed their lives. – less
Individual Support Specialist (Former Employee), Anchorage, AK – July 28, 2013
If someone enjoys working with people with disabilities and lending a helping hand, this is the job for you! The staff is amazing and helpful, the clients are some of the sweetest people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting, and the work itself is rewarding.
Director of Accounting (Former Employee), Anchorage, AK – September 26, 2012
Pros: exec. managers get 5+ weeks of pto and 2 wks sick after 90days
Cons: core values are great, but not followed by managers. non-mgr pay is low and ft status hard to get.
I previously worked for this company and everything was great, so long as I maintained 60+ hours a week. My manager worked from home and pushed many of their duties on to my co-workers and I. When I needed to reduce my hours to 45-50 hours per week due to family health issues my manager publically supported me, but privately attacked me. I was called – more... many derogatory names and told my performance was not up to my normal standards. After I started having medical issues due to the stress from this company I quit. Worst company I EVER worked for.
Hourly, non-office staff has a difficult time getting FT status. Due to the nature of the business schedules for non-office staff are random and accidents/injuries are high. This means there are no benefits for the PT staff, but in work related injuries are covered. In addition, non-manager wages continued to stay low, while director level employees’ wages increased. This is not a pay-for-performance employer, so raises for non-director employees are 1-3% depending on years of service. In my position, I was given a small (standard) bonus beyond the normal holiday bonus given to regular employees.
If you love the type of work and want to help people with disabilities, then this may be your type of employer. If you expect increases based on performance, desire FT work w/ benefits, or want normal 40 hours per week than this may not be a good fit for you. – less
Individual Support Specialist (Former Employee), Anchorage, AK – March 23, 2012
Pros: free food....
Cons: not enough work for me
I had the best training i ever had from this company... They gave me a two week course of detailed curriculum pretaining to the sinsitive nature of the type of work i was to be doing.... I respect there work ethics and have come to a better understanding of diversity in the work place.