Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Five: Hot Fun in the Summertime?

Songbird invites us to list five things we love (or don't!) about summer. Easy!

1. The food! Sweet peaches, berries, cherries, and--best of all--our very own backyard tomatoes. Nothing can compare with those.

2. (A corollary to #1) Grilling! And not just meat, delicious as that is. I'll post a fabulous grilled squash salad recipe later today.

3. Trips to the beach.

4. The hypnotic call-and-response of the cicadas and peepers on summer evenings.

5. Summer music--reminds me of younger years, when summer really was a carefree time. "Hot Fun in the Summertime" will be playing in my head for the rest of the day.

Honesty compels me to add that there are two things I absolutely detest about summer:

1. Humidity! And regardless of where you live, if you've never been to Houston in August, trust me, you DON'T know exactly what I'm talking about...and...


Friday, June 04, 2010

So I have just completed my first week at my new job, and I am worn out, overwhelmed with new information, but very glad I made the change. I am working for a large (VERY large) national mental health managed care company as their new Autism Specialist. Many states have now mandated coverage of autism treatment, and insurance companies are scrambling to catch up. So are many parents and treatment providers, who have not had much of an opportunity to have intensive autism treatment like applied behavior analysis (ABA) covered by insurance before.

The last time I worked as a mental health care manager, fifteen years ago, the managed care atmosphere was very different, and I left because all of the jokes about my going over to the dark side of the force were finally too close to the truth for me to laugh. In those days care managers really were pressured to limit and deny treatment as much as possible. I'm glad I decided to take this job, though, because everyone I have met this week seems compassionate, positive, and very concerned to help people get the best possible use of their mental health benefits.

Because I was an in-network provider with this company for well over a decade, a lot of the care advocates already knew my name and have said things like, "I've been referring people to you for years!" My closest coworker and mentor here is a care advocate that I've been on a first name basis with for about ten years, from all the times I submitted treatment requests to him--but we had never met face-to-face before my interview.

I had not been planning to leave my old job, but I realize now that I've been phoning it in for a while and was more ready for a change than I knew. This is a totally different situation, and a welcome new beginning.