Care Management Assists in Navigating Life’s Obstacles

Robin Alcala has difficulty remembering what life was like before she received Tailored Care Management services from Monarch.

However, she does appreciate, and enjoys sharing with others, how she is doing today. She feels healthier both physically and mentally, works at a fulfilling job and receives important health care services.

“I was pretty sick and I don’t really remember coming to Monarch at first,” she says of receiving services through Monarch’s Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACTT), a community-based group of medical, behavioral health and rehabilitation professionals who use a team approach to meet the needs of an individual with severe and persistent mental illness.

After receiving ACTT services, she expressed interest in working at a job within her community. In 2018, she was hired to work as a direct support professional (DSP) at Monarch’s Stanly Industrial Services (SIS) day program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Albemarle.

She has continued at Monarch as a patient receiving Care Management services through the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) in Stanly County. She has benefitted from a team approach that addressed both her mental health and primary health from staff that included Medical Director, Long-term Services and Supports, Dr. Robert McHale, M.D., M.Sc., DFAPA, ABPM, FASAM; Behavioral Health Therapist Ana Liza Cisneros-Howard, LCSW, RPT; Director of Care Management, Behavioral Health, Debbie Miller, RN; Addiction Peer Coordinator Marcus Berry; and Care Manager Nicole Richardson.

Robin has drastically reduced her hospital stays, lives independently, enjoys life with her husband, David, of over 24 years and finds purpose in a rewarding job. Care Management services help her to continue incorporating patience, something she says she is working on.

She struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “I am still dealing with that pain and Ana has helped with that and Dr. McHale, too,” she confides.

This December, North Carolina will officially launch Tailored Care Management services for Medicaid enrollees that will offer a multidisciplinary care team and the development of a written care plan with a goal of connecting people to community resources. Monarch, designated as a certified Care Management Agency (CMA) through North Carolina, will provide integrated, collaborative care to Medicaid beneficiaries with serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, severe substance use disorders, traumatic brain injuries and I/DD served through the state’s Tailored Plans.

Direct Support Professional Robin Alcala, right, cares for person supported Sara.

Robin Alcala, right, is shown caring for Sara, a person she supports in her work as a direct support professional at the Stanly Industrial Services day program in Albemarle.

Just as Robin is thriving with the care that she needs, she finds it rewarding to provide care through her DSP role. She assists an individual with Down Syndrome at Monarch’s SIS day program taking her on walks, participating in day program activities and assisting during meals.

Robin says she looks forward to a brighter future and is grateful for Monarch being in her life. “It’s been a hard life in some ways but in other ways it’s been beautiful. I have a wonderful husband and I thought I would never get married,” she says about overcoming the obstacles of mental health diagnoses. “Monarch has helped me by letting me smile again. Monarch has been one of the best things that has happened to me.”

Debbie, who has worked closely with Robin during the past two years through Monarch’s CCBHC, has seen positive changes in her. “She needed our help and loved receiving it. She was a sponge soaking up all the information that she could learn,” Debbie says, noting that Robin flourished through Care Management services whether connecting with ways to incorporate healthy routines, additional medical services or learning how to use a computer.

“My hope for Robin is that she continues to do well, maintain her employment and care for the people she serves because she enjoys it so much,” adds Debbie.

For more information about North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Tailored Care Management Plans, visit here. Looking for a job opportunity in Tailored Care Management? Visit here for employment with Monarch across our North Carolina sites.


Posted on: Monday August 29, 2022