24 August 05

Shane V Value Options

At this unit I share rec with twice as many inmates - twice as many sad stories. I recently met Shane, a good-natured thirty-year old, who described how he received an 11 1/4 year sentence from the same judge I was sentenced by.

Shane is mentally and physically ill. He has bipolar and borderline personality disorders. He has stage three cirrhosis of the liver from hepatitis C, which he contracted in prison. Shane’s first of many suicide attempts was at the age of seven when he stuck a knife into an electrical outlet. His mother abandoned him at age twelve and his father physically abused him, including smashing drinking glasses on his head. Also at age twelve, the State of Arizona started making him take Ritalin.

Shane’s adult life was spent either trying to kill himself – he ate glass, razor blades, and slashed his wrists countless times – or, in jails, prisons and psychiatric units, because he was committing petty crimes to obtain drugs to self medicate with.

Prior to this sentence for a minor burglary ($800 worth of stolen goods, which was returned to the victim), he spent seven years in prison functioning normally on psychiatric medication. Upon being released however, Value Options (the state contractor that was supposed to continue providing his medication) denied his application for medication on the basis that his behaviour had been normal in prison – which it had been because he had been getting the right drugs.

Off the medication, Shane reverted back to his old pattern of committing petty offences to finance drug purchases in order to ease his depressions. Value Options denied him any hope of living a normal life by stopping his medication.


According to a local newspaper Value Options has a $1.3 billion contract with Maricopa County. The company has been paying out $100,00 per death caused by them delaying or denying medication for seriously mentally ill people. The article revealed that Value Options is a subsidiary of Virginia based FHC Health Systems. I would like to know who owns FHC as I could not find any stock listed under that name.

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

http://biz.yahoo.com/ic/100/100867.html . the actual FHC website is down at at the moment and this is the yahoo thing about them.

Anonymous said...

This person should be looked after not just sent to prison. But, as is usual, the authorities take the easy and popular option of locking up anyone who has committed a crime. If he had money you can bet he would be treated differently for the crime.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, Ronald I Dozoretz, the owner/CEO of Value Options, and his wife, Beth, are both devout Democrat doners.


Weird. you'd think he voted Republican, what with the company's rep in AZ and it being a healthcare provider.

Huh, go figure.

Anonymous said...

What a very sad case. This is probably one of the most terrible state of affairs that I have read for a while in your blog, Shaun. An utter disgrace. The conscience has gone out of the legal system which seems to be run by empty brains. My prayers are with your friend and hope that the situation will have a miraculous ending.
Terry B

Cheryl said...

Their website says (2004 Annual Report) that they are an Affiliate of FHC Health Systems.
It says they are making changes because of the Court Monitor's report in the Arnold case: Arnold Vs Sarn, and are doing this under the watch of ADHS/DBHS.
The signatory is Michael R Zent Ph.D., CEO, ValueOptions Arizona.

FHC Leadership (with links): http://www.fhchealthsystems.com/about.htm

Value Options site: http://www.valueoptions.com

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me if this gets wordy.
Nearly 100% of my clients at work are also clients of Value Options.
I'll start off by saying that I believe in most cases that Value Options does the best they can with the resources available to them. They do provide thousands of clients with mental health care-there are many hard, hard working people with gigantic caseloads to manage. Mentally ill and seriously mentally ill people are not all that easy to work with. There are 'standards' , yet 'standards' hardly apply to those with mental illness. I give them a lot of credit for the work they do. When it comes to medications,the client is not eligible to receive them for free if there isn't valid documentation that the need is there. Clients that don't fit into that category can still get their meds but with a small co-pay attached. Many clients are non-complient- i.e.not showing up regularly or using street drugs to self-medicate. These clients also become ineligible.
Like any agency, government run or not, there are many cracks through which people can slip. It all comes down to paperwork and documentation and politics.(and covering their own asses)
That being said, I have witnessed first hand the blatant mismanagement of clients' mental health care. However, I believe that if someone commits a crime they are not excused just because of their mental health status. Sometimes the individual is safer in the jail setting than they would be otherwise. BTW, Value Options case managers are still responsible for the management of their client's cases while the client is incarcerated. This includes seeing to it that the client gets proper meds.
I deal with hundreds of case managers, and a day doesn't go by where I've delt with more than one case manager that is: 1)not finished with training yet
2)burned out and disinterested
3)just plain dumber-than-a-box-of-rocks
Arizona's mental health care system flat-out sucks.

-Your cousin's wife

Anonymous said...

Commercialism and healthcare do not belong in the same building. The NHS (with all its problems) is the only way to have fair medical treatment for all,
Nye Bevan

Anonymous said...

Here's another recent failure of ValueOptions, which Jon mentions also declined to continue medication for Shane.


Wal-Mart shooting suspect is state mental patient
Bought gun days before killings
Pat Flannery, David Madrid and Brent Whiting
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 25, 2005 12:00 AM
The man suspected of gunning down two Wal-Mart Superstore employees Tuesday is a patient in the state's mental-health system and bought the suspected murder weapon just five days before unleashing mayhem in a Glendale parking lot, records and interviews show.
The portrait that began to emerge Wednesday of Edward Liu was one of a rigid loner who had stocked his home with supplies by the case, including hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Police records also show Liu had shopped at a Wal-Mart store the day before the double killing.
Neighbors described Liu as a man who kept strictly to himself, ritualistically walking the same route to his mailbox every day without deviation, never stopping to chat or even to look at his mail.
"He did kind of creep me out," said David Meacham, 50, a Peoria resident who once lived next door to Liu. "I thought he was kind of rude."
Meacham said Liu always wore long, baggy shorts and rarely returned his greetings.
Police on Wednesday kept piecing together the 53-year-old man's activities in the days and hours leading up to the slaying of Anthony Spangler, 18, and Patrick Graham, 36, in the Wal-Mart parking lot near 83rd Avenue and Union Hills Drive.
Vigils were held for the victims after the store reopened Wednesday morning. But the mood was somber as store managers from around the Valley lined up outside its doors to hug employees returning for work.
A candle flickered at a memorial with seven red carnations. Grief counselors were on hand for workers, while fund-raisers for the victims' families were being organized.
Gov. Janet Napolitano on Wednesday asked the state Department of Health Services to look into "whether or not there was systemic failure" in the way ValueOptions, the private contractor for the state's mental-health system, handled Liu's case. There were no indications of any such failures at present, said Jeanine L'Ecuyer, Napolitano's press aide. ValueOptions has been under fire recently for the way it has run the mental-health system.

ValueOptions declined to discuss the case. Jill Faver, director of communications, said federal law prevents the company from disclosing if someone is under its care. She added that the company had not been notified by Napolitano's office or the DHS of any pending review.

The company already has undergone several reviews after clients committed suicide. The family of one of the suicide victims also has sued the company