Monterey County Behavioral Health Workers: Putting patients first

All In TogetherOn May 2nd, Adult Behavioral Health Social Worker III’s and PSW’s had a follow-up meeting with Ray Bullick, Health Department Director; Sid Smith, Deputy Director; and other management staff on the issue of the changing staff’s roles and responsibilities when dealing with our clients. We also discussed the lack of clear and uniform communication about this transition.

As healthcare evolves with the changes in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so will our work. It is important for SEIU Behavioral Health staff to have a voice in how we provide the highest quality care to our clients while ensuring access to our diverse Monterey County community.

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Members had four specific asks to management that could be accomplished in monthly informal workgroup meetings where we propose to:

1. Work with management to define and clarify the written duties, roles and responsibilities for Social Worker III’s, Behavioral Health Aides, Psychiatric Social Workers and Supervising Psychiatric Social Workers in accordance with Title 9.
· This will provide staff with clear and uniform understanding of their role in Behavioral Health.

2. Address the increasing caseload for staff with the implementation of the ACA & transition of work to PSW’s
· Ensuring that clients are still a priority and ensuring their success in rehabilitation
· Maintaining quality delivery of care to our clients by providing adequate time, resources and tools to ensure success
· Identifying a manageable caseload that protects and supports PSW’s and their licensure
· Ensuring that all our diverse and multi-lingual client demographics are respected and supported through adequate and appropriate staffing

3. Discuss and problem solve recruitment and retention issues within the department and provide opportunities for Training and Development for ALL staff
· MFT’s retention issue and lack of clarify of actual work required
· Conference and training opportunities for ALL Behavioral Health staff
· Respecting and honoring the skills that all behavioral health staff bring to the county and the clients they serve

4. Review and discuss Safety Protocols and Procedures
· Identifying processes and protocols to ensure safety of staff in the field and in our own county facilities


From L to R: Yvette Carreon- PSW, Ignacio Gonzalez – SW III, Abelina Campos – SWIII, and Michael Channin – SWIII

“At the end of this meeting, Deputy Director Sid Smith agreed to work with us immediately to start writing out specific duties and roles for SW III’s and PSW’s as we continue with this transition period. This is a huge step forward in working together for our workers and our clients!”
— Monterey County Behavioral Health Leaders

Next Steps

Workgroups will be formed to meet with management. The next meeting will be scheduled pending discussion with county HR, but we need your voice in working together with management to make this transition successful for all.

If you wish to be part of a workgroup to talk about the four asks above, contact Glorianne Buan at and let her know which workgroup (Roles & Responsibilities, Caseload, Training & Development or Safety Protocols and Procedures) you want to participate in. You will be contacted to participate in upcoming meetings as they are scheduled.

For more information call Miguel Sauceda, Internal Organizer at 831-784-2575 or email him at

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