Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


We recently had an idea about  enrolling TLC into the AHCCCS program, the Arizona program for those under a certain income level.  That way we could hopefully serve more clients.
I thought it would be a good idea, considering that most of our clients are indigent. In other words they don't have the money to go into treatment. And a number of them do have AHCCCS cards. Or are eligible to obtain them.
But when our volunteers started wading through the mountain of paperwork that's required to become affiliated with the program we realized that we’d made a mistake.
Not only is there endless paperwork, the AHCCCS program also pays very low fees for counseling and other services we’d provide.  The program's focus seems to be upon volume, as opposed to results.
After I discussed the program with some of our counselors who had worked with them in the past I was sure we didn't want to become involved.
One negative thing is that they pay low rates and expect a lot of information and paperwork in return. One report I was given said that an auditor would actually come in and spend time in our accounting department auditing all the details of the operation.
Another person told me that this program only allows a company to make a certain margin profit. Anything above that margin must be returned to AHCCCS. I heard that the margin is something like 5%.
Most of the counselors I have talked to who worked with the program say they had to herd clients through like cattle. Some counselors say they carried caseloads of up to 50 or 60 clients each. Many of them became burned out after a short time.
I'm glad we made the decision to not proceed with AHCCCS. This business is difficult enough without adding more layers of stress.
I know we couldn't deliver the personal attention and quality that we now provide under such circumstances.