Under the supervision of the Program Manager and/or the attorneys, provide clients with information, referrals, advice, and problem resolution with regard to mental health and substance abuse services. Investigate grievances and appeals under the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Beneficiary and Client Grievance and Problem Resolution Process (Problem Resolution Process). Conduct community outreach and educational trainings as needed. This position reports to the Senior Program Manager.
About the Organization
Legal Aid Society of San Diego (LASSD), the largest poverty law firm serving San Diego County since 1953, strengthens our communities by redressing our clients’ legal problems, empowering our clients to access and effectively participate within the legal, governmental, and social systems and encouraging self-empowerment in the fight against poverty and injustice. LASSD continues to be a proud, committed, and compassionate group of people dedicated to providing equal access to justice for San Diegans through aggressive, quality legal services. #justicebeginshere
· Review consumer grievance and appeal requests through telephone and walk- in appointments while following established protocols.
· Assess clients’ needs and provide appropriate referrals or advice/representation according to LASSD’s policies and procedures. Gather necessary information, develop a case plan, and determine a preferred course of action.
· Enter accurate information for each case into the proprietary databases and always maintain client confidentiality.
· Investigate and effectively resolve grievances with providers, organizations, and other entities as appropriate by advocating on behalf of the clients.
· Collect and analyze evidence from clients, providers, and health plans by using applicable legal standards, including ASAM criteria. Provide advice to clients regarding the relative merits of their case. Advocate on clients’ behalf with providers, county representatives, and other entities.
· Prepare client and provider correspondence for consideration under the county’s Problem Resolution Process, complying with mandated timelines.
· Respond to clients in a calm, empathetic, and professional manner while courteously directing the conversation to the pertinent issues.
· Assist callers with communication barriers, including those who may be emotionally upset, those with physical or mental disabilities, and those for whom English is a second language.
· Negotiate resolution of client grievances and appeals by working cooperatively with the government department or organization involved in the client’s problem/dispute.
· Use a strength-based and trauma-informed approach to work collaboratively with clients and providers to help support clients in their recovery.
· A bachelor’s degree and professional experience with substance abuse disorder (SUD) or mental health services preferred.
· Experience in community mental health or substance abuse programs.
· At least two years’ experience of client advocacy or related experience.
Desired Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
· Ability to interview applicants and clients to obtain relevant facts and give clear advice and enter case notes into our database systems in a clear and concise manner.
· Commitment to the rights and empowerment of clients.
· Excellent time management skills, organizational, results-oriented problem-solving, analytical, and evaluative, verbal, and written communication skills.
· Ability to work with clients and providers to resolve problems at the lowest level whenever possible.
· Ability to determine and provide meaningful referrals to the most appropriate programs and agencies to help clients access the right level or care.
· Communicate clearly and effectively with members of the public, professionals, and government employees.
· Personal recovery is not required, however, knowledge of recovery support systems, and 12-step programs preferred.
· Knowledge and familiarity with San Diego County’s Mental Health Services and Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS), the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) care standards, and the consumer protections available.
· Experience in customer service, including obtaining personal information for intake, interviewing clients about sensitive and personal issues, and research related to these issues, or experience in the field and understanding of related systems, laws, and regulations.
· Bilingual fluency in English and Spanish or other county-designated threshold languages.
Salary and Benefits:
The Behavior Health Advocate position has an annual salary of $41,000. LASSD offers a generous benefits package, a 35-hour workweek, paid vacation leave and sick leave and 100% employer-paid medical premium, 50% employer-paid premium for dependents under LASSD health plan, as well as, dental, vision and life benefits. Staff also have the option to participate in a 403(b)-retirement plan and dependent and health flex savings accounts (FSA). In addition, there is a bilingual pay increase of 2% for passing an oral test and 2% for passing a written test for threshold languages other than English.
LASSD is an equal opportunity employer, we hire without regard to race, color, religion, religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices), national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition (including cancer and genetic characteristics), genetic information, marital status, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (40 years and over), sexual orientation, veteran and/or military status, domestic violence victim status, political affiliation, and any other status protected by state or federal law.
Hybrid Work Environment:
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, most Legal Aid Society of San Diego (“LASSD”) employees are primarily working remotely at the moment. LASSD has implemented detailed health and safety protocols to minimize risk of exposure and by early 2022, we plan to have a hybrid work environment in which most staff will be required to work in the office several days each week and permitted to work remotely the other days, provided their job duties allow. All employees must be available to travel to LASSD offices and service locations throughout San Diego County as needed and in compliance with public health advisories. Applicants must reside in or near San Diego County or plan to relocate in or near the County prior to their start date and must be able to commute to the physical Legal Aid Society of San Diego office locations or service delivery locations within San Diego County.
While LASSD remains primarily remote or hybrid, all employees are issued LASSD computers and provided appropriate supplies. LASSD has implemented and continues to explore additional technologies to make working remotely as efficient and connected as possible. LASSD’s normal business hours are 9am-5pm, but we are open to providing flexible work schedules to the extent feasible for the position. LASSD reserves the right to change these policies at any time.
Mandatory Vaccination Policy:
LASSD has implemented a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. We will consider individual requests for exemption from the policy for: (1) medical reasons, and/or (2) based on an applicant or employee’s sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. Any applicant or employee requesting an exemption should submit a completed exemption request form to Human Resources. Upon receipt of a completed exemption request form and any supporting documentation, LASSD will engage in an interactive discussion with the applicant or employee to determine whether an exemption is appropriate and can be granted without posing an undue hardship to LASSD or a direct threat to the health or safety of the individual making the request or others at LASSD. Any individual granted an exemption from the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement may be subject to conditions and restrictions (such as being required to use additional personal protective equipment or submit to LASSD-provided COVID-19 testing) to mitigate the risk to the individual and others at LASSD.
Diversity and Inclusion:
It is vitally important to LASSD that we represent the community that we serve. LASSD is a signatory to the San Diego County Bar Association’s Diversity Pledge. We pledge to promote diversity and inclusion through hiring and retention, promotion and leadership, engagement of outside counsel, and participation in legal community diversity initiatives. We strongly encourage applicants of diverse backgrounds to apply.