ON MENTAL HEALTH: Harassment Of Disabled Under New State Program

Jack Bragen
Saturday December 16, 2017 - 05:39:00 PM

Recent California legislation, Assembly Bill 1568, has created a pilot program called "Whole Person Care," a state funded program administered by 19 counties. This project is directed at Medi-Cal recipients, and provides voluntary case management (medical case management and "social" case management). It is intended to reduce the usage of high cost services by those in the Medi-Cal population that a database has determined are "high risk" individuals. The new law provides for coordination between agencies. It provides for tracking of people in a database.  

It seems to me that the authors of the law operate under the presumption that if you receive Medi-Cal, it is likely that you are on narcotics and/or alcohol, that you are a criminal, and/or that you are a high-risk mentally ill person.  

The new legislation seems fine in some respects. However, my experience of being contacted by individuals executing this program has been that it is a way to harass and bully disabled people. This perception is, of course, subjective.  

If you are disabled and a Medi-Cal recipient, and if your name shows up a few times in certain places, you are lumped in with violent criminals, sex offenders, and people who have committed narcotics offenses. And, because of this, the State of California and your county of residence would like to have some control over your life.  

Participation is voluntary. However, this doesn't stop those executing the program from using harassment and intimidation tactics when they approach you.  

In response to being contacted by county workers, I looked up their number and I phoned them back. It seems that they had gathered some information about me, and knew some things about me. However, because I was contacted, it prompted me to do research about this program, and do information gathering of my own.  

I appreciate the U.S., and yet, I do not enjoy being contacted by any part of the government for almost any reason.  

Because the program is voluntary, it stops short of being an oppressive or perhaps Orwellian level of government control. However, their contact with me was very bothersome, triggered my paranoid symptoms, and disrupted what would otherwise have been a productive day at the computer.