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Table of Contents
1. What is SPOA?

SPOA stands for "Single Point of Access". This is a process designed to improve access to services. For adult services in Onondaga County, this relates to case management / care coordination and residential services only. Each has its separate process:

Adult SPOA Process
Children & Youth SPOA Process

2. What happens once a referral is submitted?

Once received, a referral is triaged. Homeless Case Management and Forensic Case Management referrals are forwarded direct to the program coordinator (see program descriptions).

Referrals for Intensive Case Management (ICM), Supportive Case Management (SCM), and Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACT) are triaged by SPOA Specialist and an intake interview is scheduled to determine eligibility and assess for level of need.

Process for Adult Case Management

3. Can I make my own referral?

A referral can be submitted by the person requesting services, friend, family, other support person, or a service provider.

Process for Adult Case Management

4. What do case managers do?

Case managers / care coordinators partner with people to support them in the selection, preparation, and obtainment of their recovery goals. Goal areas are often related to vocational, educational, housing, financial, and social life areas.

Additional focus areas often include physical health, independence, self-esteem, effects of alcohol and drugs, management of mental health symptoms, and community involvement to developing a valued role in the community and a support system of people you can count on.

Case managers / care coordinators connect with people directly in the community. They offer support outside of a clinical setting to lessen need for crisis services. They coach or facilitate a person’s efforts to learn new things and achieve the quality of life desired.

5. Why do different case managers provide different services?

There are several possible answers to this question. However, the differences are most commonly due to two reasons. One, services provided are based on the needs and wants of the individual enrolled.

A service may be needed and a good fit for one person and not for another. Two, case managers / care coordinators are individuals also, and will have varying styles and strategies for supporting people.

Also important to keep in mind is that case management services has evolved from a traditional long term model of ongoing support to a transitional, recovery oriented approach for supporting others to make positive life changes.

6. Do case managers have funds to buy things for people?

Yes. Funds are available for the purpose of supporting a person’s goal attainment, accessing needed specialized services, and promoting wellness and the development of individual support systems.

Funds can be used for emergency expenses when all other community resources have been exhausted. Repeat use of funds for this reason would be reviewed in order to prevent dependency on the service.

7. Do I have to be in treatment to get a case manger?

No you do not need to actively be in treatment. However, verification of a serious and persistent psychiatric disorder will be required to determine eligibility. Records can be requested to obtain a diagnosis with your permission.

8. Can I be forced to have a case manager?

This is a voluntary program. The only way you could be required to have a case manager is if you are court ordered by an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) order.

Information on Kendra's Law

9. Will a case manager take control of my money?

No. Case managers / care coordinators are not representative payees. A case manager may recommend obtaining a representative payee or make suggestions for strategies to manage money.

Case managers / care coordinators can assist with budgeting and banking skills as requested, however they will not hold or dictate how you spend your money.

10. Why do some people get case managers sooner than others?

The number of referrals received exceeds the number of enrollment openings. People are enrolled based on need. Those individuals with the greatest need for additional support will the first to participate in a comprehensive assessment when a case manager is available and be enrolled in the program that will best meet their needs.

Referrals are initially prioritized during the intake or SPOA process, however, level of need is continually reassessed. It is recommended that people maintain contact with the SPOA Specialist in order for this to happen.

Services are not available on a first come, first serve basis. Some people will therefore wait significantly longer than others.

11. How long does it take to get a case manager?

There is no way to accurately answer this question. Case managers / care coordinators become available to work with someone new only as current participants transition from the service. Access to the service is also determined by level of need.

Referrals are initially prioritized during the intake or SPOA process, however, level of need is continually reassessed. It is recommended that people maintain contact with the SPOA Specialist in order for this to happen.

Services are not available on a first come, first serve basis. Some people will therefore wait significantly longer than others.

12. What are the eligibility criteria for case management services?

The basic eligibility criteria includes
the following:

   -18 years of age or older.

   -Serious and persistent psychiatric
   -disorder (i.e. Major Depressive
   -Disorder, Bipolar Disorder,
   -Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective

   -Significant functional impairments
   -related to daily living skills, personal
   -safety, community living, economic
   -self-sufficiency, and/or
   -use/engagement with medical or
   -mental health services.

Priority need referrals typically are individuals:

   -with an AOT order in place or
   -pending OR

   -presenting with some degree of
   -enduring danger to self or others OR

   -currently decompensating & at-risk;
   -in urgent need of intervention OR

   -currently hospitalized for over 90
   -days with a discharge planned OR

   -recently discharged from a long
   -term hospitalization w/in past 2
   -months w/ a history of severe
   -impairments w/ community living OR

   -recent and frequent brief
   -hospitalizations in past 6 months OR

   -recent and frequent ER visits
   -for psychiatric reasons in past
   -6 months OR

   -currently homeless (living in a
   -homeless shelter or on the street)

13. How long can a person have a case manager?

The answer to this question is considered on an individual basis. Involvement in the program is not permanent.

However, length of participation varies depending on a person’s need for support to continue to make desired changes in their life and pursue personal recovery goals.

14. What is the difference between Intensive and Supportive Case Management?

Please see our program description:

Adult Mental Health Case Management

15. What is the ACT Team?

Please see our program description:

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)

16. How is the service paid for?

If a person receives Medicaid benefits, Medicaid will be billed. If not, there is no cost to the individual.

17. What does "community-based" mean?

This term refers to the manner in which services are provided. Case managers / care coordinators work directly with people in the community.

This means they might come to where you live, where you receive other services, travel to different locations with you such as; social services agencies, community events, etc.

Now a days, case managers / care coordinators provide hands on support in a variety of life areas.



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