“People don’t want to work here,” the Behavioral Health Department is having problems with employment


The San Benito County Board of Supervisors heard the Department of Behavioral Health regarding staffing efforts Tuesday, amid allegations of a toxic work environment and a civil grand jury report citing staffing shortages. “We don’t have a medical team to support the community,” said a Behavioral Health Department employee. The report states that SBC Behavioral Health has 75 open positions with a vacancy rate of 35 percent across the management, clinical staff, case managers and quality improvement sectors. Since last January, Section 14 has seen resignations, according to two department employees, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. Seven former employees were in direct care positions as either a nurse, physician or case manager, while the other half were in administrative support positions. In addition, there are three pending resignations, one of which is a clinical supervisor. “We are on top of this as much as we can. We can’t create people. We can only invite people,” said Heinie Ring, the county’s director of human resources. “There are too many factors that can’t attract people to San Benito.” The biggest position you are trying The district has been filled by the department’s director, a vacancy that has been left open since January. An offer has been extended to at least two applicants, both of whom have declined. As for why the departments have problems attracting and retaining staff, the grand jury report hints at several possibilities. The report cited issues such as low wages, poor benefits, ineffective management, and an unsupportive work environment. They are leaving because of their meticulous management… Having a management structure that does not exist and is not supported. They are not seen, appreciated or heard. One employee said they would like to Anonymity to prevent retaliation, but they admitted to submitting their resignation.” At a recent case management team meeting, case managers had to review the attendance policy with their manager, Maria Sanchez, and were told that taking a “mental health day” would not count as sick leave but would be unpaid leave . “This is very gross from behavioral health,” the employee said, and the report also points to long wait times, outdated health records system, and poor financial management. “Behavioral health does not employ, or even require, specialized training in finance or advanced financial practices required to create and maintain a multi-million dollar budget causing unnecessary expenditures that result in the return of grant funds,” the report says. The staffing shortage is not limited to the behavioral health department. The grand jury report highlights the many county agencies and departments that are understaffed. Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez says one contributing factor is a lack of affordable housing. “We have a lot of housing being built,” Velasquez said. According to a grand jury report, 2,290 new single-family housing units have been approved, which could have a population impact of 8,290 people. Velasquez attributes the growing population to the Bay Area transplants. “Our housing is being evicted out of town and this is detrimental to our community,” Velasquez said. Immigration from the Bay Area could be a major challenge for San Benito County, if the majority of homeowners prefer Silicon Valley salaries. “Getting positions within the county and trying to fill them and staying competitive with the positions you hold in the Bay Area is definitely a challenge,” said county spokeswoman Monica Lyons. SBC’s Behavioral Health Department has hired a third-party consulting firm, Municipal Resources Group, to assess the agency’s operations and culture.

The San Benito County Board of Supervisors heard the Department of Behavioral Health regarding staffing efforts Tuesday, amid allegations of a toxic work environment and a civil grand jury report citing staffing shortages.

“We don’t have a medical team to support the community,” said a Behavioral Health Department employee.

The report states that SBC Behavioral Health has 75 open positions with a vacancy rate of 35 percent across the management, clinical staff, case managers and quality improvement sectors.

Since last January, Section 14 has seen resignations, according to two department employees, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. Seven former employees were in direct care positions as either a nurse, physician or case manager, while the other half were in administrative support positions.

In addition, there are three pending resignations, one of which is a clinical supervisor.

“We’re on top of this as much as we can. We can’t create people. We can only invite people,” said Heinie Ring, the county’s director of human resources. “There are too many factors that can’t attract people to San Benito.”

The biggest position the county is trying to fill is department manager, a vacancy that has been left open since January. An offer was extended to at least two applicants, both of whom were refused.

As for why departments have problems attracting and retaining employees, the grand jury report hints at several possibilities.

The report outlines issues such as low wages, poor benefits, ineffective management and an unsupportive work environment.

They are leaving due to non-payment of wages to the area. They are leaving because of their meticulous management…the existence of a management structure that does not exist and does not support them. They are not seen, appreciated, or heard. Said one of the employees.

They wish to remain anonymous to prevent reprisals, but have admitted to submitting their resignation.

“At the last case management team meeting, case managers had to review the attendance policy with their manager, Maria Sanchez, and were told that taking a ‘mental health day’ was not considered sick leave but would be unpaid leave. This is a total matter that comes from behavioral health,” the employee said. “.

The report also points to long waiting times, outdated health records system, and poor financial management.

“Behavioral health does not employ, or even require, specialized training in finance or advanced financial practices required to create and maintain a multi-million dollar budget causing unnecessary expenditures that result in the return of grant funds,” the report says.

The staffing shortage is not limited to the behavioral health department. The grand jury report highlights the many county agencies and departments that are understaffed.

Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez says one contributing factor is a lack of affordable housing.

“We have a lot [unaffordable] Velasquez said.

According to a grand jury report, 2,290 new single-family housing units have been approved, which could have a population impact of 8,290 people.

Velasquez attributes the growing population to the Bay Area transplants.

“Our housing is being evicted out of town and this is detrimental to our community,” Velasquez said.

Immigration from the Bay Area could be a major challenge for San Benito County, if the majority of homeowners prefer Silicon Valley salaries.

“Getting positions within the county and trying to fill them and staying competitive with the positions you hold in the Bay Area is definitely a challenge,” said county spokeswoman Monica Lyons.

SBC’s Behavioral Health Department has hired a third-party consulting firm, Municipal Resources Group, to assess the agency’s operations and culture.


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