Thursday, April 7, 2011

The NAMI-TC Conflicts of Interest In Its Relationship With MHMR & BRAVO Health Aspect of the Paradise Center Scandal

There are many aspects to the Paradise Center Scandal.

One aspect is MHMR-TC (Mental Health Mental Retardation agency of Tarrant County) and its relationship with Bravo Health and the local branch of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health).

MHMR got itself into conspiratorial cahoots with Bravo, promoting Bravo as the preferred HMO for mental health services over another provider known as AMERIGROUP Community Care.

MHMR had come up with a scheme to use its relationship with Bravo to monetize the Paradise Center operation. MHMR misrepresented to Bravo that the Paradise Center was a MHMR operation when Paradise Center was actually a non-profit independent operation.

The chart above, if you click to enlarge it, will show you what services the AMERIGROUP and Bravo plans provide. It would appear AMERIGROUP is the better deal.

It is telling to learn where does the local chapter of NAMI get its money.

NAMI's only fundraiser is the NAMI Walks for the Minds of America each fall. 

NAMI raised almost $100,000 last October.  Not from walkers, as everyone who puts on a "walk" knows, but from the sponsors.

Who were their biggest monetary sponsors??


And MHMR employees, who were strongly encouraged to form teams and raise money for NAMI. 

So, later on last fall, when it's time to enroll mental health clients in BRAVO, who are their mouthpieces to the community? 


There's a real conflict of interest here.  NAMI is supposed to advocate on behalf of clients, not profit from making recommendations about ANYTHING, such as medications from a pharmaceutical company, housing from a particular provider, OR FROM A MEDICAID HMO WHO NEEDS NEW CLIENTS.


(I am attempting to get the exact figure from NAMI-TC president, Melissa Gibbons)

See, it's a big deal, because NAMI is a non-profit that is supposed to educate, support, and advocate.  Not get into bed with mental health providers.

Now you can better understand why the local branch of NAMI has been silent about the Paradise Center Scandal, while at the state, and I think national level, concern has been expressed over what is serious wrong doing by various Tarrant county agencies, both governmental and private.

An interesting comment about NAMI-TC and the two Medicaid HMOs came to the Paradise Center Scandal blog this morning...

nami-tc family has left a new comment on your post "Righting Wrongs, Fighting Injustice & Ferreting Out Corruption Aren't the Fort Worth Way":

I just got my monthly nami-tc newsletter and very likely due to your expose of this scandal the leadership has scheduled reps from the two Medicaid HMOs to give presentations at this month's meeting, which quite a remarkable contrast from previous months when the board and other leaders were pushing Bravo Health as if it were the sole provider in our service area.

Keep up the good work because some good things are already coming out of it. The works not finished yet as long as the evil doers are not held accountable for the pain and suffering they've inflicted on Ms. Davis, her family, and her Paradise Center Family.


Anonymous said...

It keeps getting interestinger and interestinger, mr. durangtexas. english was not my strong point, but apparently it's yours. keep on writing and telling the truth that the so called professional journalists and media are too scared or too lazy to report. good on ya, mate.

money tracker said...

So it's the same culprit here, that five letter word : m.o.n.e.y.

Keep following it, Durango. You're likely to find all kinds of deals, schemes, scam, and all sorts of flimflam.

A Local Pro-vider said...

I'm confused because it has always been my understanding over the last eight years or so that each "local mhmr center " such as MHMR of Tarrant County was "the authority" in making sure that the mental health and related needs of its residents are met...FIRST by finding suitable local non-governmental "provider/s" to contract for different services from the array of needs and services to meet those needs, and ONLY AFTER S7CH PROVIDER/S could not be procured that MHMR THEN BECOMES THE DEFAULT "PROVIDER".

This enmeshed relationship with ONE of the two state authorized HMO providers seems to turn that state policy on its head.

This scandal appears to prove once again the point about what happens when there is lax in oversight and when there are conflict/s of interest situations. In other words, this MHMR-TC +Bravo partnership MAY NOT BE TECHNICALLY ILLEGAL (or it might be) but it sure as heck appear to be improper and/or unethical.

Maybe the MHMR-TC executives, not the lower level ones posting the creepy and semi-literate but very nasty personal attacks on the paradise center folks, who I'm almost certain read/monitor this compelling site could clarify this issue for me and my clients (and colleagues in the mental health field).

Thanks in advance and look forward to the response.

Thank you, Durango, for this public service you're providing our community. So confusing that those usually and even inherently tasked with various aspect of this scandal aren't doing what they're supposed to do. On se'Ind thought, add disturbing to confusing.

Healthcare Professional said...

Yes, from this comparison chart Amerigroup appears to offer better "Value added" items, esp. the cell phone service and quarterly extermination service because many crises are often resolved via talking to some one the person trusts/knows and apartment dwellers (many mhmr clients are these) encounter problems with bugs and such , which affects their health as well as the continuation of independent living (vs. cramped group homes or on the street/in shelters).

I'm shocked that as Bravo's business partner MHMR didn't suggest these two crucial benefits.

NOTE: all the BASIC SERVICES/BENEFITS are pretty much the same for both plans/hmo's--required by state law and Texas Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Can't wait to see what NAMI of TC says in response to your inquiry...something professional journalist typically do. But it's Fort Worth and Tarrant Co....

Your neighbor said...

Okay, so the Tarrant chapter of nami has been "neutra-sized" "by money and local politics. Where are the so called voices of mental health advocacy (literally to speak/act on behalf of one who needs help), specifically the other chapters, the state, and even the national organization??

Weird, it took the Dallas GLBT ACTIVIST GROUP AND LEADER to advocate for the glbt community in FW, Tarrant county after the shocking abuse of power in the infamous Rainbow Lounge raid in 2009 (see the cover story in the FWWeekly).

So, where's the NAMI of Dallas group?? The silence is eerily deafening. Rainbow Lounge folks at least tried tsp DO somthing to right this apparent wrong. But the VOICE OF ADVOCACY cannot even say a word ("No!" or "Stop!")as an organization? ??

I'm just a durangotexas fan and not associated with this existential reality, but it seems that Nami should either SPEAK UP OR SHUT UP and remove that claim because to continue the course is to live a lie. That's my two cents, for whatever it's worth, neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Yea, it sounds like NAMI WALKS alright, right past their broken moral compass and stepped right over the paradise people just like in the parable of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told. We all, including NAMI and MHMR--as individuals, leaders, and organizations--need to constantly recall what Jesus said was the answer to the question "But Master who is my neighbor?"

nami-tc family said...

You might want to ask her a couple questions: is she getting paid by nami of county county? and what positions both she and her husband hold on the nami-tc board of directors because it's kinda unusual to have a married couple serve as officers of a board?

Texas Teacher said...

That's why I tell my students over and over, "Be careful who you associate with because they could be a good or bad influence on you, possibly leading to life changing decisions and actions".

However, mistakes are part of life. What are you going to do and say to make amends for your mistake, NAMI of Tarrant County?

Maybe help the Paradise move into their new facility? Just an idea.

Brent B. said...

It sounds like NAMI of Tarrant Co. had stepped way over the line and is having a hard time finding its way back to its mission and principles.

Boy, I tell ya, money and power can be very intoxicating and addicting. This sub-scandal involving the advocacy group+government agency+ profit-driven HMO is a fine example of how and why these entities did what they did...and the consequences WHEN they get called out on it.

Thanks for providing these facts and allowing people to become knowledgible and contribute.

IMAN said...

It looks like the tarrant county NAMI is joining mhmr and its ceo in pleading the 5th because their statements could incriminate them.

Only wrongdoers would choose to do this.

I didn't realize that when NAMI lost their VOICE of advocacy, they really lost ALL of their voice.

Unless they choose to speak up, let's examine who the other conspirators or enablers are. Like the county judge, county executive, and commissioners who we heard are the bosses of MHMR-TC but had been very chummy with McDermott's 501/c/3 MHMR Visions--financially, socially, and politically.