CHICAGO (CBS) — Canceled appointments, missing prescriptions, and broken promises; a huge non-profit mental health services provider is failing its own employees.
Following a previous report by the Morning Insiders, the Illinois Attorney General’s office is now demanding answers from Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, also known as C4.
“Clearly, we’re being lied to. We’re really just being lied to,” said an incensed Nicolette Rivera.
Rivera is one of several clinicians who contacted CBS 2 after our report about funky financials at C4.
“Nothing really surprises me anymore,” she said.
Rivera was counting on upgrades to her benefits, promised through emails from human resources.
CBS 2’s previous story revealed late payment by C4 led to an abrupt cancellation of health care coverage. The board pledged to restore coverage by Jan. 1, but that day came, and Rivera said C4 wasn’t even in the health care provider’s system.
“I mean, you’re just like speechless, because you’re just kind of like, ‘What am I supposed to do?’” Rivera said.
HR instructed her to pay out of pocket and submit a claim for reimbursement.
Meantime, medical, dental, and vision deductions are still coming out of paychecks.
Speaking of those checks, the paystubs themselves are an upgrade. For two months, C4 social workers weren’t seeing itemized deductions, because payroll provider ADP pulled its contract with the non-profit. That messed up calculations for vacation and sick days.
All this while at least one round of payroll came late.
“I don’t think it’s fair the way that they are treating us,” Rivera said.
With the new year, CBS 2 extended a new opportunity to C4 leaders to explain themselves.
CEO Chris Carroll would not answer questions. He said he would let CBS 2 know when we could schedule an interview, but he never did.
Carroll previously claimed several of C4’s issues were because the state owed more than $1 million in unpaid claims and were months behind.
However, several departments said they owe C4 nothing, and the Illinois State Comptroller’s office provided receipts showing no backlog.
“A lot of the clients have been asking, a lot of them have seen the news – you know what I mean? – and said ‘What’s going on?’” Rivera said.
The Illinois Attorney General’s office opened an inquiry after CBS 2’s first story on C4.
Among the requests, the state demanded a copy of C4 financial statements.
C4 supervisor Jessica Larsen estimated 30 people resigned at the non-profit’s North Avenue location in the past year. Several left since CBS 2’s story aired in December, including Larsen.
“None of it really fit, and whenever questions were asked, they fell on deaf ears,” she said.
The turnover has begun affecting the greater community. Consistency is key for treatment of the 7,000 clients C4 serves.
“You don’t know if you come in the next day, is this person still going to be on the team? Is this still somebody that I can talk to?” Rivera said.
Carroll later sent an email claiming C4 staff are covered through COBRA health insurance. Curiously, he asked CBS 2 to tell employees who aren’t covered to contact HR.