A.B. Maloy grew up in the rural coal mining community of Morgantown, West Virginia where labor union activists completely altered the working conditions of local employees. She admits that she definitely has a “liberal outtake for the care of individuals in a society,” and after earning her undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts from West Virginia University, moved to Key West in 1991. She sold her car, kicked off her shoes and worked various odd jobs on and around the water for seven years before returning to the professional world and earned a law degree and a Master’s in Public Health. Now at the helm of the Guidance Care Center, Inc. (GCC) that works to provide behavioral health services to marginalized populations across the county, Maloy shared a little of her past as well as goals for the future of her organization.
The Guidance/Care Center, Inc., formerly The Guidance Clinic of the Middle Keys and Care Centers for Mental Health, is now under the umbrella parent company of WestCare. What types of services does the WestCare Foundation perform for the Guidance/Care Center?
WestCare serves as an umbrella company, providing centralized management of services like human resources, executive management, procurement and administration of national vendor contracts to allow the Guidance/Care Center to focus on better direct patient care. They also provide IT support; general counsel services with regards to contract reviews, board resolutions and amendments to bylaws, among other things; insurance procurement, administration and claims processing; payroll functions; treasury management; and national staff training and continuing education programs.
GCC also facilitates the Monroe County Transportation system for transporting disadvantaged and Personal Growth Center clubhouse with drop-in services for clients from Key Largo to Key West.
How did your personal career path segue from litigation to Area Director of the Guidance/Care-Center, Inc., WestCare Florida Keys Operations?
I’m still trying to figure out why they hired me! I’ve been in this position for three months, and it’s without a doubt the best job I’ve ever had. After I returned to the mainland in 1998 to pursue a Juris Doctorate and Master’s in Public Health at Boston University, I held a fellowship after graduation studying Bioethics and Human Rights in the School of Public Health.
After studying labor laws, insurance benefits and pension plans, I learned how much those issues intersect with individual behavior – specifically, with the natural environment, the work place and individual rights – as well as the provision of health care – how it’s funded and provided.
My experience in cross border class action litigation in Massachusetts, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia eventually brought me back to Key West. Key West is my home. I wanted to incorporate my interest in law and public health under one roof. Providing a critical service to the community in which I live is important to me.
What, besides funding, are the biggest challenges you face in overseeing the organization?
The services we provide are pretty multi-layered – from Crisis Stabilization and Support to In Home and On Site therapy services for families and children through Wesley House to Forensic Case Management, the Jail In-House Program at the Monroe County Detention Center and Keys to Recovery – it’s amazing to work with an organization that provides such critical services. There’s no doubt that what we’re doing is important. More than a third of the entire Keys population is uninsured, so we’re constantly looking to form strategic partnerships that help us provide those services in the most cost-effective manner.
The geographic layout of the Keys creates a huge challenge in managing three facilities, but that’s what makes it meaningful to work with the people I do in order to communicate across the miles and consolidate administration.
Since GCC came under the WestCare umbrella, have there been significant jobs lost?
During the initial affiliation between the three sites, there was an elimination of workforce. It was primarily those positions in administrative areas that were consolidated. Since I came on, however, we’ve hired several more doctors and qualified staff to serve in General Psychiatric Care and Therapeutic Services as well as case management.
What, if any, are some of the major changes in the future that will affect the GCC and the clients it serves?
We’re in the process of integrating primary care services for our clients through strategic partnerships with organizations like WomanKind, a Key West organization dedicated to providing thorough and affordable healthcare for women. We’re also preparing for the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and Health Care Reform that means more people in our community will be insured in a different way.
Behavioral health is core to a community because it affects families, the social fabric of a community and employers. Every person we treat is done so in a co-occuring manner. That means, we assess an individual for both substance abuse as well as mental health and include an examination of their family situation. Someone who has bi-polar disorder will have additional challenges if they’re living with an alcoholic spouse.
The work that GCC accomplishes in the community would not be possible without the leadership team working side by side with Maloy. That team includes:
• Nadine Hood – Deputy Director, G/CC; Director, Criminal Justice Programs
• Maureen Grynewicz- Site Director, Upper Keys (Key Largo); Director, Transportation Services
• Maureen Kempa – Director, Children & Family Services
• Lisa Marciniak – Site Director, Middle Keys (Marathon); Director, Personal Growth Center
• Larry Prescott – Site Director, Lower Keys (Key West); Director, Outreach & Advocacy