It probably comes as no surprise that there is a lot of red tape involved with getting services for adults with developmental disabilities. That’s why Angel White is here at Frazer. As our Compliance and Quality Assurance Specialist, she makes sure that i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. But her job is so much more than that.
When someone wants to sign up for our Adult Program services, private payment is an option, but most families go the route of Medicaid. Medicaid is a federal program that is administered by the states, so in Georgia, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) is where one goes to apply for a Medicaid waiver. The waiver then allows an individual to receive support services. The Frazer Center contracts with DBHDD to provide those services.
Part of Angel’s job is to stay informed of all the Medicaid and DBHDD regulations and make sure Frazer is in compliance with these ever-evolving regulations. The Medicaid waiver manual is updated quarterly, so Angel regularly studies the changes and shares that information with the Adult Program staff.
Documentation is a big part of the Medicaid system, and any organization working with Medicaid has to be prepared for a Medicaid audit at any time. If errors are found in documentation, paybacks to Medicaid may be required.
But Angel’s job involves much more than paperwork. She is also a case manager for several of our program participants. That means she helps coordinate ISP (Individual Service Plan) meetings with the participants, their families and support coordinators, and she oversees each individual’s file to make sure it is complete. She also provides support to the Direct Support Professionals here at Frazer to make sure all their documentation is complete and in compliance with regulations.
Angel hasn’t always been a Developmental Disabilities Professional, but she has almost always been a caregiver, both professionally and personally. She is the mother of five children. When the oldest was 15 and the youngest was 1, she decided to move her family from Natchez, Mississippi, to Atlanta so her children could have more opportunities. With an associate degree in child development, she immediately landed a job as a pre-k teacher. Eventually, she went back to school and earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Mercer University. During her last semester, her mother became ill, and Angel commuted weekly between Natchez and Atlanta to take care of her mom and finish school.
After graduating she became a case manager with an agency in Jonesboro. This was her first experience working with people with disabilities, and she confesses to being a bit nervous in the beginning. There was a lot to learn about the job itself, and she had never had any engagement with people with disabilities before. She didn’t know what to expect, and she wasn’t sure how to communicate with the individuals in her caseload. But her co-workers provided guidance, and she continued to receive training through DBHDD. Once she began making home visits and spending time with each individual and their families, she soon fell in love with them and realized, well, people are people.
Angel moved to a different agency where she continued to travel around the metro area to make home visits. By 2015, Atlanta’s infamous traffic took its toll, and Angel was ready for change. That’s when she found Frazer. Angel’s combined experience fit the bill for Frazer’s Compliance and Quality Assurance Specialist position, and she’s been a great fit ever since. “It takes a team to do this work,” she says. “We work very well together at Frazer. We rely on each other because we know we are dealing with people’s lives.”
Any job in the field of human and social services can be stressful. Funding is low; turnover is high. Even when there is a will, finding a way can be challenging. Frazer’s Community Access Program can grow only as much as our fleet of accessible vehicles does, and staff-to-participant ratio always has to be taken into account.
Even so, Angel is hopeful about Frazer’s impact on the community as well as the individuals we serve. “We always try to do the right thing; it’s not just about the bottom line. Paige [McKay Kubik, Frazer’s CEO] tries to find the best in everybody,” and that permeates throughout the organization.