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Valley Mental Health again facing lay-offs?

by Stephen Dark
- Posted // 2011-03-24 -

Shortly after 4 p.m. this Thursday afternoon Valley Mental Health CEO Debra Falvo began a presentation to the private nonprofit's board, which, according to sources, included plans for reducing personnel.

City Weekly went to the Murray-based offices of VMH's administration building and requested to attend the board meeting. Corporate communications director Chris Katis, citing the meeting as an executive session and so closed to the public, denied the request.

Staff members, who contacted City Weekly anonymously, expressed concern that Falvo would be informing her board that, subsequent to their approval, she will be laying off staff over the next few weeks. One complained of "horrible morale. Everybody is so scared and traumatized." The downsizing was to make Valley more competitive as a bidder to provide services. 

Another employee noted that there was growing concern about Optum Health, the out-of-state company brought into run the Salt Lake County's $55 million annual contract that provides care for its mentally ill. That employee predicted that "they will not be paying for many of the current services that VMH has always paid for."

Last spring City Weekly ran a cover story about the impact of Valley's proposed 100-staff lay-off [subsequently scaled back] and restructuring announced in late 2009 on personnel and client morale, as well as, at that time, a deeply troubled relationship with County officials. More recently The Salt Lake Tribune's Julia Lyon wrote a probing story looking at Valley's finances and its use of public dollars.

Meanwhile Valley continues to run a billboard campaign across the Wasatch Front, presumably attempting to build a brand prior to the agency shifting to fees for services in July 1. 

One question, for some, though, remains whether when Optum takes over, if the 25,000 Medicaid-eligible mentally ill Valley clients will have been informed of their new choices and understand what they mean. 

Friday morning Katis declined to comment on events at the board meeting or the fate of Falvo's plan. "If I have anything for you," he said, "I'll let you know."

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Post a comment
Posted // April 30,2011 at 14:40

Facts: Debra Falvo is incompetent. The vmh board is comprised of Falvo's friends and bankers who profit from vmh's unethical investment of public funds. Ruth Wilson and Richard Hatch are highly paid puppets who rely on numerous "associate directors" to help them forge intelligent sentences. Chris Katis is a highly paid liar, for example: vmh does't even have 700 employees left. vmh has indeed closed vital programs - or cut programs so severely that they are of no use to the community. Just check the facts - Oh! No one can check the facts because vmh is a private "non" profit agency.


Posted // April 30,2011 at 14:25

As of July 1 consumers with Medicaid insurance will have something they have not had in over 20 years: CHOICE. When Optumhealth takes over, approximately 30,000 Medicaid clients will be able to call ONE main number to seek a referral for treatment by any of over 400 licensed clinicians in their area - unlike the Monocracy they have endured for too long with vmh. Long live the free market.


Posted // April 30,2011 at 14:27 - YEAH!!! All they do is bill medicaid. I would like to know how the percentage of people recovered via VMH or did they just bill to service people?


Posted // April 30,2011 at 10:40

They had not even wanted to considering outside ideas, and your right many dead weight is there who have no intentin of chaning., They have so many off site programs up in the canyons and they pay for many trips that are just trips for fun but meant to be mental health conferences on our dime... they have private property investments in the millions. they seem to not want to hire ppl who are not needy and willing to not offer any dissent and they have a odd relationship with wells fargo bank. SS and the state and county did the right things. Dump them as dead weight.


Posted // April 6,2011 at 13:43

i know someone there over an critical program. they refused to even consider better more efficient ideas to streamtline and improve this vital service. despite good ideas that have worked in other states. VMH is bad and i am sad some mentally are being hurt by them. I am glad to see the state has a new pilot program. VMH i know has hurt some and not helped them. The had the ear of the lawmakes to long and some uf US educated them as to what could be done better and more timely to get ppl help. VMH was not interested in it. FAT CATS all of them.