California Department of Health Services

  www.dhcs.ca.gov
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California Department of Health Services Reviews

Updated Jul 13, 2014
California Department of Health Services – US – “1501 Capitol Ave”

California Department of Health Services – US – “1501 Capitol Ave”
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.6 7 reviews

7 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    Friendly, relaxed place to work.

    Health Program Auditor (Former Employee) Sacramento, CA

    ProsIt is a fairly relaxed place to work by State standards. Of course, this all depends who you have for a supervisor.

    ConsThe California State Medi-Cal systems has a lot of problems and is difficult to enforce rules/laws. This leads to job dissatisfaction.

    Advice to Senior ManagementClean up the Medi-cal system and treat employees with respect.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    The Office of Legal Services (OLS) Within DHCS: Poor Management and Terrible Morale

    Attorney (Current Employee) Sacramento, CA

    ProsThe overwhelming majority of the people with whom I work are genuinely sweet, caring, intelligent, and hardworking. Most of my coworkers are here because they want to work on behalf of the public welfare. Generally, DHCS offers opportunities to learn about health care systems and the health care industry, especially Medi-Cal, which DHCS administers.

    ConsUpper level management within DHCS OLS generally refuses to promote people from within the organization. My coworker once interviewed for two promotional opportunities. She was overqualified for both of them, if anything, and was long overdue for a promotion. Her output was higher than most of her colleagues. When she got neither promotion, she asked upper level management what had happened. Their response was: "Why would I promote you when I can hire someone from the outside with outside experience?" I know of at least one occasion where DHCS advertised another promotional opportunity, many qualified DHCS attorneys applied, and the chief counsel refused to promote any of them. Instead, he re-posted the position and effectively demonstrated his belief that no one from DHCS was qualified to be a senior attorney. Many of the applicants had dedicated their careers to DHCS and some had over a decade of experience practicing law. It is now simply understood within DHCS that if you ever want to get promoted, even for a relatively minor promotion, you have to go somewhere else.
    Besides creating bad morale for employees, the promote-from-outside policy has created managers and senior attorneys who have no experience with the very specific policies and programs of DHCS. The managers typically have no experience performing the discrete tasks that the attorneys perform on the teams that they are supposed to manage. Because the new managers do not know what their teams do and there is little, if any, formal training for them, they focus on minutiae such as writing down when the attorneys come and go from the office and disciplining them for it while serious, underlying structural problems go unsolved. Besides "clock-watching," the culture is generally one of suspicion, fear, and disappointment.
    Once, an attorney was pulled out of a client meeting to be disciplined for parking in the loading zone in order to unload a rolling briefcase. When she tried to ask what the problem was, she was interrupted by one of her two managers (for some reason, every attorney must report to two managers simultaneously) with "Ah ah ah! I am speaking now," as if she were a naughty child. She was told that her opinion of her own performance did not matter and instructed not to talk.
    On a regular basis, managers talk down to attorneys and reprimand them for nonsensical matters such as parking in the loading zone to move hearing exhibits, coming into work after 9am (even though some of us have to travel and put in long hours on the road), taking more than an hour for lunch (even when we are meeting to discuss our caseloads), or not being at their desks (even though we have client meetings during the day). They have been known to sabotage the work of their staff, by accident or by design. One attorney's manager told him, "I'm not responsible for your career," when she messed up some paperwork and he was effectively demoted.
    But they do not stop with attorneys. It is also not uncommon for support staff to face discipline because they are not at their desks. At least two secretaries have come under fire for "staying too long" in an attorney's office, even though they were helping the attorneys manage files. The managers thought that the secretaries should be at their desks at all times, even though the nature of what they do simply does not allow them to be at their desk all day, without circulating to attorney offices, and still be efficient.
    This would be problematic even if DHCS were operating in "business as usual" mode, but it is not. It is one of the state departments tasked with implementing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which means that it has been growing and changing a lot over the last few years since the ACA was enacted. Even with the best and most organized managerial structure, this type of upheaval would be difficult. But DHCS OLS faces these challenges with the whimsical practice of deliberately appointing managers who have neither relevant substantive experience nor experience being managers or leaders of any kind. This creates a horrible atmosphere of uncertainty, a lack of accountability in favor of managers "passing the buck," confusion, accusations, and extremely low morale. It also creates long working hours that other state attorneys simply do not have. Except for the senior attorneys who are just a few years away from retirement, at least one team of attorneys has had almost a 100% turnover rate since I started working here only a few years ago. Our practice area (Medi-Cal) is very complex, but most of the experienced attorneys are so dissatisfied that they are anxious to leave. If you were to walk down the hall and poll a random sample of attorneys and support staff at OLS (as I have), you would find that the overwhelming majority of them hate their jobs and are looking elsewhere. If you believe in public service, as I do, you would find this office an incredibly sad place to work.
    Unsurprisingly, it is hemorrhaging attorneys and support staff.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf I were in the upper echelons of DHCS management, I would seriously consider a total sea change in managers within OLS. Most of the people who are there right now are dismally ill-equipped to be managers, both in substantive knowledge and experience as well as in "people skills."
    End the policy of refusing to promote experienced people from within. Go out of your way to demonstrate that you value experience and knowledge by promoting qualified people within the organization instead of alienating them. Stop the policy of "clock-watching" staff, stop treating them like naughty children, and trust them to manage their caseloads and their time. Try to develop smart, useful policies and implement them fairly. Don't talk down to your staff. Show all OLS staff that you value them and their contributions. Invest in quality skills training whenever possible. Try to create a place where people are proud to come into work and feel that they are valued for their expertise. You will face an uphill battle to win back the respect and admiration of your staff, but it is essential for productivity as well as morale that you do so.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    Great learning potential

    Office Assistant (Current Employee) Sacramento, CA

    ProsLearn a lot about health care industry, writing contracts, and managing plans. Work life balance is good, solid 8-5 hours, very little overtime.

    ConsOnce your in a position it's hard to promote. There is Environment is dirty and building is not kept up properly.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPromote knowledgeable staff before hiring people off the street with no industry knowledge.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    Steady, routine work.

    Staff Counsel (Current Employee) Sacramento, CA

    ProsStable pay and job security are great things. This job offers both, while providing a modest salary. Nothing extravagent, especially compared to peers in the private sector.

    ConsPay is not as great as it would be if you were in private practice. Some of the people you will work with are your typical state workers, and there is no way to get around this. Innovation is nil, as is ambition and real drive from your peers. I doubt this is a surprise to anyone working for a state agency.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    Department of Health Care Services

    Associate Governmental Program Analyst (Current Employee) Sacramento, CA

    ProsThere are a lot of different opportunities in this Department from Clerical to Deputy Director.

    ConsThe personnel section is quiet slow and sometimes can interfere with time off and scheduled leave.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    California Department of Public Health - "Physician, Heal Thyself"

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Richmond, CA

    ProsSome of the technical staff and certain managers are dedicated and excel in their respective fields.

    ConsThe existing culture and infrastructure of the Department is one that creates turf wars that prevents projects and Department goals from being achieved because cross-functional work is neither desired by the individuals nor promoted or supported by management. In addition, communication from executive management has been delegated to individuals who are new to the department but are lifelong bureaucrats. These individuals have promoted an atmosphere where rigidity replaces reason. Because of the civil service system administrative staff are generally compensated for above private sector norms and conversely professional staff are compensated for at lower than private sector. In the past this was seen as compensatory for the "9-5" nature of government work. However over the past 10 years these "9-5" positions have generally increase in scope and many are required to be monitoring email and working through the weekends and nights. All which might be expected in the private sector however, the compensation for professionals has not caught up with private sector.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTransparency
    Timely clear communication,
    Staunch advocacy for professional staff,
     Education of staff about and Implementation of standard matrix management structures where appropriate within the organization.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    Solid and stable place to work

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Richmond, CA

    ProsWorking at the California Dept of Health Services offers a clean and safe environment with many friendly people. There are many meaningful projects regarding the health of the public.

    The free shuttle from the BART station is very convenient for those who take public transportation.

    ConsLack of direction and inefficient use of resources. Working for the government, the pay is not as high as one would receive if working in industry.

    Advice to Senior ManagementNo major advice or feedback for senior management

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