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.