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Rant Control

Valley Upheaval

By Jesse Fruhwirth
Posted // May 25,2010 - When Stephen Dark investigated Utah’s largest mental-health provider, Valley Mental Health [see “Mental Hell,” May 20, City Weekly], upset employees, clients and others descended on our online comments section to vent anger about bureaucratic boondoggles and corporate greed at organization.

One of Valley’s few defenders, Eleisha, urged comments to consider how Valley’s consumers digest the rancor that Dark exposed.

“Bottom line, support the clients of VMH and stop trashing the employer you work for, because it’s really not benefiting the problem,” Eleisha wrote.

An anonymous commenter—there were several—wrote back that Valley’s oversight mechanisms are corrupt and whistle-blowers face retaliation, thus public griping is all that is left. “People speak out in whatever way they can.”

Perhaps the most often repeated comment was that Dark’s story “only touches the tip of the iceberg,” as An Insider wrote, but as the story was already at about 3,500 words, the rest will have to be for another day.

One thing is clear: Many employees have lost faith with Valley. A response to the story by VMH’s CEO that was e-mailed to employees was leaked on the comment board.

Jesse Fruhwirth:

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Posted // July 14,2010 at 20:26

Mr. Dark please investigate a follow-up article. Since this was published the fallout continues throughout the mental health community and public funders. I work for an allied agency, and my clients continue to report that they are unable to access the services they are entitled to being Medicaid eligible, however, vmh continues to build, remodel, and pay for all those empty facilites - while still charging the federal govt. The agency is corrup and should be held accountable for the $100M they are receiving from federal and public funds. Client services are decreasing by the day - there need to be more options for those who have Medicaid insurance. People need to realize that they are not getting what their public dollars pay for - Medicaid rates are going right to incompentent management who make ridiculous wages sitting in meetings all day, it's not right.


Posted // May 27,2010 at 11:55

Eleisha, I think you view speaking publicly about the issue as not doing anything is ludicrous. Part of solving an issue is first bringing light to the issue. That is exactly what is being done. These comment sections are used to discuss an article, and people are commenting on the article and putting there input. Yes some are bashing the company they work for but that is because they are upset. It is not easy to reveal your identity on this subject matter when your income comes from working for a company as large as valley.

If you are as familiar with the social work field as you say, then you would know that Valley Mental Health has a huge market share of Mental Health services, and if you burn your bridge with Valley you have limited options in working in the industry.


Posted // September 21,2010 at 20:21 - Hey Eleisha - are you still employed? OptumHealth (United) is hiring - BTW, they are your new boss because vmh lost the county contract.


Posted // May 25,2010 at 14:53

obveously these comments are leading to nothing but more negativity and yet nothing is being done. I will applaud all of you annonomous people when I see you become un annonomous and genuinly stand up for what you believe in by advocating for mental health. Realy you want the BMW that you lust over so much become a freakin lawyer because sorry to say it but no where in mental health except in admin positions are you going to get it. I know many LCSW's who don't work for VMH and they don't drive BMW's either they settle for the same averaqe car the rest of us drive. Why because the client comes first not the money. Mental health is not a priority to the state and federal government it has never been highly funded. Why focus all your time venting when you could be taking action isn't that what the NASW asks you to do anyway?


Posted // May 29,2010 at 18:37 - Also, Eleisha, why do you think those in administration of mental health agencies like Valley should, in driving BMWs, have different values than those who actually provide the treatment? Administration of the mental health field has never been composed of the best and the brightest. Do you think the cream rises to the top and, as a result, they deserve salaries that afford them BMWs? Rule of thumb, Eleisha: You see someone in mental health administration who's driving a high-end car, check your pocket or purse to see if your money is still there. The taxpayers should do the same. Mother Teresa and Albert Schweitzer (sp?) never drove BMWs.


Posted // May 29,2010 at 18:26 - Eleisha, to dismiss the postings here as negative, and to suggest they are not action is overlooking what City Weekly's story and the strong responses to it make clear: There has been no outside action taken to oversee Valley Mental Health and what it has done over many years. Overseers who are elected apparently feel safe in the knowledge that their constituents know little about the mentally ill and what services do or do not help them. They have little incentive to act, barring a good conscience. And let's hope some of them have that good conscience and are reading the story and the comments posted in response. Overseers who are not elected might share Adam's fears that Valley has a "long reach," as one poster put it in a response to City Weekly's story. This is the kind of thinking that tends to guarantee darkness on issues and keep exploiters in power. Helen Keller said it best, Eleisha, "There is no safety in fear." Perhaps you idealize Valley adminstrators. Perhaps they have helped you. If they have, and if they have placed you in a job with them, your reaction to all of this is exactly the reason NASW prohibits dual relationships, which is why the peer counseling thing is all the more suspect. Perhaps senior administrators enjoy the glow of appreciation that comes from those who look up to them, as many clients look up to those who help them. It is apparent that Valley administration lacks the ego strength to listen to opposing points of view from licensed mental health professionals. That is why -- if Adam is correct -- and Valley adminstrators are intimidating and blacklisting health care professionals -- something needs to be done. You ask what NASW is for: Well, one thing that NASW is not for is a code of silence. NASW, nationally, if not locally, would be appalled at the treatment of licensed mental health professionals at Valley Mental Health. Why, if you are on the up and up, would you have to silence someone and try to limit their career. If this is what Valley administrators are doing, then speaking out is all the more important. One thing, too, Eleisha and Adam, you should know that Valley is not highly respected by the at-large mental health community in Utah. Which makes it all the more interesting that its overseers do not oversee it. If you care about the mentally ill, you will speak out -- anonymously, if you must -- because the many informed and compassionate comments here cannot simply be dismissed as the product of disgruntled employees. Shame on anyone who would attempt to dismiss the compassion they show for the mentally ill.