Health Care Agency - What's Up - keeping staff informed and current

Issue 13-11

November 2013

Inside this issue …


BH receives Probation Partner Award

On October 15, 2013, Behavioral Health staff were presented with the Probation Department’s Collaborative Partner Award during the annual Chief’s Awards held at the County Hall of Administration.

Public Safety Realignment was an opportunity to take preexisting partnerships and strengthen them. The collaboration between HCA and Probation is one of these relationships that have benefited from this shift in the criminal justice world.

Recognizing the importance of immediately linking offenders released from prison with appropriate resources, Probation embedded HCA staff in their probation offices. There are currently four assessment staff, one mental health caseworker, one re-entry case manger and one psychiatrist to assist with offender’s needs.

Probation and HCA staff work as a team to coordinate residence plans for offenders with mental health issues along with offenders that have participated in CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Substance Abuse Program (SAP). Both Probation and HCA staff attend SAP resource fairs at local prisons in order to meet face to face with as many offenders transitioning into the county upon release as possible.

Once in the community, probation officers work closely with HCA partners to link the offenders to in-patient and out-patient substance abuse services along with mental health counseling and psychotropic medication when appropriate. Recognizing that offenders who participate in community aftercare substance abuse treatment services are less likely to reoffend, the Probation Department and HCA contracted with sober living facilities in the community.

This continuity of care allows offenders who have demonstrated the willingness to remain sober to participate in Probation’s Day Reporting Center outpatient drug services which provides the opportunity for funded sober living housing.

Pictured (top row, left to right) are Probation Chief Steve Sentman, Dr. Donald Sharps, Brett O’Brien, Mike Priesing, Mitch Cherness, Allan Aloyian, and Teri Consunji. Pictured (bottom row, left to right) are Bhuvana Rao, Annette Mugrditchian, Jenny Hudson, Leticia Luna-Pinto and Meredith Desmond. Not pictured are Melissa Beck, Carla Romero, Scott Logan, Kristian Miranda and Cristina Sosa.
Pictured (top row, left to right) are Probation Chief Steve Sentman, Dr. Donald Sharps, Brett O’Brien, Mike Priesing, Mitch Cherness, Allan Aloyian, and Teri Consunji. Pictured (bottom row, left to right) are Bhuvana Rao, Annette Mugrditchian, Jenny Hudson, Leticia Luna-Pinto and Meredith Desmond. Not pictured are Melissa Beck, Carla Romero, Scott Logan, Kristian Miranda and Cristina Sosa.

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Photo of 2 children opening a holiday giftHoliday programs help those in need

The annual 2013 County Holiday Gift Drive for Operation Santa Clause (OSC) and Senior Santa and Friends (SSF) runs from November through December 23. Last year, donations enabled OSC and SSF to provide gifts and necessities to more than 42,800 children, teens, and families in need, and over 2,500 low-income seniors and adults with disabilities.

Each year, many holiday wishes have been granted for children who are abandoned, neglected, abused, or placed in foster care, and elderly and disabled adults served by the County of Orange Social Services Agency, Health Care Agency, Probation Department, Child Support Services and OC Community Resources.

Please join other County employees by giving to the County’s Holiday Gift Drive. New, unwrapped toys, gifts, necessities, gift cards, checks and cash are all needed to ensure Orange County’s most vulnerable children, teens, families and low-income seniors and adults with disabilities are not forgotten this holiday.

Donate online at: or Photo of 2 seniors holding a holiday gift

Angel Tags for the Tree – Angel tags provide gift suggestions for a child or senior in need of a holiday gift. Gift suggestions for each age group will be listed on the reverse sides of an Angel Tag which can be found on Christmas trees located throughout various County buildings. Gifts are greatly needed for all age groups and should be unwrapped and not heavily taped. If you would like to coordinate an Angel Tag drive for your unit, please call (714) 825-3159 or (714) 679-2438.

Gifts for Seniors – Cash donations and gift cards are needed for seniors to help purchase special request items like walkers and other medical equipment. Gift cards give clients the freedom to purchase items such as medication and clothing. For more information, please contact Eric Pittman at (714) 825-3111.

Donations – Cash, checks and gift card donations provide gifts and other special need items for toddlers and teens. Please make checks payable to Operation Santa Claus or Senior Santa and Friends and mail to: Operation Santa Claus, 1505 E. Warner Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92705.

Volunteer Your Time – Assist with sorting gifts at the Operation Santa Claus Gift Shop. Volunteers are needed in November and December. To volunteer, please email or call (714) 679-2438.

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HIPAA HorrorsCompliance Update

There are horrors far worse than the frequent misspelling of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), believe it or not. In the HIPAA world, the moment you know you have a breach on your hands resulting from either inappropriate social media use at work, theft of an unencrypted laptop, or unencrypted email, among other things, it’s the equivalent to the adrenaline rush experienced while watching the nerve wracking scene where Jack Nicholson hacks his way through the hotel room door with an axe and pokes his head through the splintered gash in The Shining.

The following are four real horrific tales of privacy gone wrong:

Compliance Hotline (866) 260-5636-The HCA Compliance Program offers a confidential telephone hotline to vice your concerns about any situation that may conflict with Compliance Program principles. You may call the hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the number shown above.

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Payroll Pointers

All timecards are due to HCA Payroll by 10 a.m. on the last day of the pay period.  Whereas the submission of the timecards in VTI may be electronic, the auditing of the timecards is still a detailed and manual process with a final firm deadline. When timecards are late, our time to do our job is shortened. Your cooperation is appreciated.

As we approach the Holiday Season, here are a few reminders to ensure happy payroll processing:

HCA Payroll staff are here to help and can be reached at (714) 834-5744 or via email at

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Holiday Food Safety Tips

The holidays are upon us once again. For many of us, the word “holiday” is a synonym for a get-together involving many people and food. When preparing foods this coming holiday, make sure that food safety is part of your planning. Environmental Health’s Food Protection Program offers the following tips to help make your holiday meals safe.

Food Safety Tips When Shopping

Storing the Turkey/Perishable Foods

Thawing the Frozen Turkey Safely Photo of a thawing turkey

Preparing Food Safely

Cooking Food Safely

Serving Food Safely

Photo of turkey leftovers

Storing Left-Overs Safely

For more tips on food preparation, visit the following websites:

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October rocked Red Ribbon Week!

October rocked Red Ribbon Week! Red Ribbon Week is a nationally celebrated anti-drug awareness campaign that began in 1985 in memory of a fallen DEA Agent, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. In honor of Red Ribbon Week, a county-wide kickoff event “Rock ‘N Road,” was held on Saturday, October 19, in conjunction with the City of Mission Viejo’s 25th Annual “Walk Against Drugs” and Supervisor Bates’ Safety Expo.

The triad of events led to an estimated turnout of approximately 5,000 people, mostly families, receiving information ranging from earthquake preparedness and community resources to teen safety driving and drug facts. Festivities for the day included a Battle of the Bands, Battle of the Banners, and recognitions.

The Battle of the Bands provided Orange County middle and high school students with the opportunity to compete for a grand prize, a FREE recording studio session in LA. Bands submitted original music prior to the event and the top three finalists played live on stage in front of a panel of judges, including County Supervisor Todd Spitzer. The winning band “Sharp Turn Ahead” featured eighth grade students from Thurston Middle School in Laguna Beach.

Supervisor Spitzer, along with Supervisor Bates, presented the Red Ribbon Week Resolution to the organizers of Rock ‘N Road, Erin Meluso (RADD) and Phil Falcetti (NCADD-OC). Supervisor Bates also fittingly presented an “Award of Excellence” to the City of Mission Viejo’s Mayor, Rhonda Reardon, in commemoration of the 25th Annual “Walk Against Drugs.”

“Battle of the Banners” is a county-wide contest giving the opportunity for youth to create the 2014 Red Ribbon Week theme and logo for Orange County. A total of 31 entries were received and judged by the Rock ‘N Road Youth Committee. Banners were then displayed at the Rock ‘N Road event for public voting. The 1st place winner was McAuliffe Middle School followed by Project Access-Stratford Place and then Magnolia High School’s Friday Night Live Chapter.

To learn more about Red Ribbon Week, visit the Red Ribbon Week campaign website at For more information about HCA’s Alcohol & Drug Education & Prevention Team (ADEPT) Red Ribbon program, visit

Collage of photos from Red Ribbon event

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December Health Observances

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None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.—Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

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What's UP is a newsletter for employees of the County of Orange, CA, Health Care Agency.

Tricia Landquist
Deanne Thompson
Anne Fialcowitz

Phone (714) 834-6644
FAX (714) 834-7644
Pony Bldg. 38-S, 4th Floor 

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