Merrymeeting’s Closing in Maine May Not be Related to Section 17

April 7, 2016

An abrupt end to the company known as Merrymeeting Behavioral Health in Maine happened on April 1, 2016. That’s when the company, which offered in-home services by case managers and daily living support (DLS) workers, closed its doors. It was originally scheduled to close on April 8, 2016 but it abruptly closed after the owner, Jim Talbott, said that DHHS’s health care cuts and a media frenzy were responsible for the early closing.

Not so fast, Mr. Talbott. Questions are being raised by DHHS and Merrymeeting employees about the true reason for the closing. Closing such an agency had to be done with at least 30 days’ written notice but it was closed with little notice to its employees and almost no notice to the people they serve. DLS workers had to either tell their clients, lie to their clients, or were told to avoid the subject entirely.

Clients Still Unaware of Merrymeeting’s Closing

As of April 6, 2016, some of the clients were still unaware that Merrymeeting had closed. Closing the agency in this manner was a breach of contract with DHHS. The more troublesome issues are:

  • How the clients will deal with the closing
  • How some clients will be able to transition to new providers
  • How some clients will be able to cope
  • If the employees will ever be paid for their last few weeks plus unused vacation time.

Former Employees Concerned About Their Clients and About Getting Paid

Former employees are of course concerned about their clients. The employees are also concerned they will never be paid. Some of them are owed several weeks’ pay. Jim Talbott, the owner, in a letter to team leaders, also cited the following reason for closing:

This extraordinary media coverage caused the bank with which we do business to become alarmed. By this time I had secured the services of an attorney…but even his interventions were not sufficient to keep the bank from freezing all our assets and essentially draining all monies from the corporate bank account which we used to fund payroll.

The letter goes on to say things such as, “(H)ad the bank not seized our money” we would have made next weeks’ payroll. It also states that he has no idea if the employees would be paid because the people who do billing are no longer employed and, as Mr. Talbott said, “I am not able to do it myself.” The letter is not dated.

Talbott Able to Afford Recent Trip to Greece

A Merrymeeting employee indicated that Mr. Talbott had recently taken trips to Greece and to Spain. Other employees concurred that they were aware of his recent trips.

DHHS also stated that Mr. Talbott had never reached out to them for assistance. DHHS and Merrymeeting employees are doubting that Section 17 had anything to do with the loss of their jobs. In fact, on Friday, April 8, the date the company was supposed to close, there were meetings in Augusta to protest the changes to Section 17. This resulted in extensions of 120 days, with the possibility of further extensions to June 30, 2017.

Talbott said that this will not affect Merrymeeting and that Merrymeeting is closed. If Section 17 was truly the reason for the closing, the extension should have caused Talbott to do an about-face.

Court Order Required for Bank to Freeze Assets

When assets are frozen, a court order is usually required. That means Mr. Talbott knew that one or more creditors were going after him for money. This author is a licensed attorney in another state and is aware of court procedure.

When a bank freezes assets, it’s often because a creditor–which could be the bank itself–has brought an action in court to have the assets frozen. Perhaps the speculation that the company was already in financial trouble or was considering bankruptcy has merit.

That would mean that Section 17 may not have had anything to do with Merrymeeting’s closing its doors. If that’s the case, it would also mean that much of Talbott’s letter may not be true.

Former Employees Invited to Job Fair

Former employees were invited to a job fair in Brunswick on April 11, 2016. Many have filed for unemployment, wondering how they’re going to pay their bills. Without advance warning of losing their job, employees didn’t have time to prepare for it.

Some employees have contacted the Department of Labor and the Maine Attorney General’s office to investigate the closing.

Follow Blog for Further Updates

If you were a Merrymeeting employee, please contact me at if you have a story that should be told. Anyone who is interested in further updates, please click “follow” in the left margin of this column.

Have you been a victim of Merrymeeting as a client or as an employee? You can tell your story in the comments below or contact me at

Ronna Lambiasi DeLoe


Continue reading “Merrymeeting’s Closing in Maine May Not be Related to Section 17”


Maine’s Implementation of Section 17 Mental Health Cuts is Unjust and DHHS Head Mary Mayhew Should Resign


March 28, 2016

Maine will go down in history for having the worst record for mental health care in the country. This will be a terrible legacy for Mary Mayhew, DHHS’s head. Prior calls for her resignation should be stepped up. She should indeed resign. It’s fair to say she has no idea what she is doing. The people no longer covered by Maine Care’s Section 17 will be in the thousands. Thousands of people will no longer get coverage because they don’t have schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders.

Section 17 does not allow for thousands of people with other mental health illnesses and issues, such as bipolar disorder, depression, agoraphobia, anxiety, and a host of other issues to get coverage. They will be on their own as of April 8. This has already been implemented and unless someone can get Governor LePage to change his mind, the mental health care industry will suffer a severe blow.

DHHS Head Mary Mayhew Should Resign

Section 17 is already causing one big mental health care company in the state to close its doors in a few weeks. As I indicated previously, my daughter is a DLS worker. She and her co-workers just learned that they are out of jobs. I advised her over the weekend to send out her resume, which she did. She is lucky she has a college degree to fall back on. Not everyone is in that position. She still has to get another job and still has to wonder how her rent will be paid.

Thank you, DHHS head Mary Mayhew for adding thousands of trained people–people who spent 2-4 years of their lives getting mental health certifications–to the newly unemployed. Thank you for taking vital services away from the people who need it most. We’ll call on you when the hospitals are filled to capacity with mentally ill people or people with depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues such as agoraphobia and severe anxiety. Hopefully they won’t add to the criminal activity in the state. Hopefully they won’t add to the state’s homelessness. Maybe when these inevitable things happen you’ll realize what you did.

Governor LePage Should be Impeached or Resign

The blame also falls upon Governor LePage, who has shown time after time that he doesn’t care about the people of this state. The people who need help the most–people with mental illnesses who rely upon health care workers to help them with daily chores and routines, who rely upon workers to help improve their moods and keep them out of hospitals so they can stay home–are always affected by this governor.

It’s time for LePage to either resign or be impeached, and I’m not the only one calling for this. Impeachment has been brought up before. Now it’s time to revisit the issue. LePage’s nonsensical and cruel treatment for some mentally ill patients is to house them in the Windham Correctional Facility. Let’s face it–he has no clue what he’s doing, and he’s affecting thousands of people in the state. 

State mental health care cuts is part of a national crisis. People claim that violent acts, such as the ones committed in Newtown, upon Gabby Giffords in Arizona, and the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, to name a few, would not have happened if the mental health care system was working. It’s not, and LePage is creating more dangerous situations right here in Maine.

LePage will have the blood of people who have lost their mental health services on his hands should they commit suicide. He will be responsible for a rapidly growing unemployment rate and thereby increasing the depression rate among Maine citizens. He is creating an environment where horrible acts of violence  could happen here, right in Maine.

Remember These Cuts Next Time You Vote

Republicans seem to enjoy cutting out vital services. They pat themselves on the back for saving money. Their short-sighted ideas usually backfire. The changes to Section 17 are going to create a situation where:

  • Thousands of skilled workers lose their jobs 
  • Companies all around the state will be forced to close
  • Hospitals will be filled to capacity
  • Ridiculous scenarios such as housing mentally ill patients in Windham Correctional will happen
  • Homelessness will increase
  • Depression will become rampant
  • The suicide rate will increase
  • The crime rate will increase
  • People’s lives will be destroyed

Both Governor LePage and DHHS Head Mary Mayhew Should Resign

If you want to point fingers, Governor LePage and Mary Mayhew deserve the blame. LePage should be impeached or should resign. Democrats should take up the call to start impeachment proceedings again. 

My daughter’s company has hundreds of patients who will be without care. That’s just one company. There are many such companies in the state. The patients will all be without their DSL workers and case managers. How are these people supposed to survive? How can we tell them that we care when the state government doesn’t care?

Remember this next time you think about voting Republican. Make sure Mary Mayhew doesn’t get near the State House as she is hoping to do after LePage’s term is up. Let’s all make sure that never happens.

The government in this state is a disgrace and an embarrassment when it comes to labor, mental health, education and so many other issues. In the name of saving money, it takes away services from the most needy. LePage and Mayhew will have the blood of these people on their hands. As John Lennon wrote, How do you sleep?

Ronna Lambiasi DeLoe







Maine’s Section 17 Will Cost Mental Health Workers Their Jobs and People With Mental Health Issues Will Lose Vital Services


March 26, 2015

Any loss of mental health care is going to impact the people who need it most–people who are able to stay home and avoid hospitalization because they have dedicated workers helping them with daily living and with achieving goals to become more self-sufficient.

My daughter is one such worker. She is a DLS worker–which stands for Daily Living Support. It is unknown how many of these workers are in Maine, but the estimate is anywhere from several hundred to over a thousand. She is luckier than most DLS workers–she also has a English to fall back on if she needs it. Let’s hope she doesn’t.

DLS Workers May be Out of a Job

She’s going to need it the way things are going. According to the Beacon, Governor LePage, the trash-talking governor who said he would tell Obama to kiss his ass if he won the race for governor, blamed proposed cuts to mental health services in Maine on the federal government .To which my daughter replied, if that’s true, why aren’t other states doing this? Well said. A twenty-something with more brains than the governor apparently. Then again, LePage is probably counting on many of us to not rise up against him. Think again, gov.

The Ever-Unpopular Governor LePage

Keep in mind that LePage won the state with approximately 1/3 of the vote. That’s because someone named Eliot Cutler decided to run as an Independent, twice, which split the Democratic vote. That means approximately 2/3 of the people in the state do not like or are vehemently opposed to the governor and anything he stands for. Need I remind everyone that no sooner did he take office, he took down the mural at the Statehouse depicting laborers, those very people who built Maine from the ground up. The mural had been there for decades. That’s why our governor, who is an embarrassment to rational people everywhere, is #Notmygovernor. 

According to news reports from Maine, Section 17 is this nasty section in the law which is going to take away health care for mental health patients except for those who have schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders. This leaves out patients or clients who have depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, and other mental health issues. The clients (for lack of a better word, as they are somewhere in-between clients and patients) look forward to their DLS worker coming to help them. DLS workers are specially trained and some have received post-graduate certifications, such as my daughter. Others have other types of certifications to allow them to work with these clients.

When my daughter is afraid that she will be losing her job because of health care cuts, something is terribly wrong with our system. She is one of hundreds of workers who are affected. There are thousands of clients who are affected. It’s possible many of these health care companies will go out of business. Whose idea was this anyway? These clients need cheering up, need help with daily chores, and need assistance getting out of their apartments or houses. DLS workers are not glorified babysitters. They perform vital services to the people who need it most, and that is what is on the chopping block.

What is Proposed?

Section 17 is the legislation that was proposed by Governor LePage and his alter-ego, DHHS head Mary Mayhew. Ms. Mayhew was once a Democrat. She is now supposedly expressing an interest in running as a Republican when LePage’s term is up. She helped propose the cuts to mental health clients. As reported in the Beacon dated March 25, 2016:

Early this year, Mayhew attempted to change the rules for determining the level of mental disability of a client and the amount of corresponding benefits they are eligible for from an individual centered assessment to a simple standardized test. While Mayhew spoke of efficiency, this test had the potential to throw thousands of severely mentally handicapped Mainers out of needed support systems.

The proposal is that only clients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders will continue to receive DLS services. Where my daughter works, there are approximately 7 out of 70 clients who will still be eligible for services. The remaining 63 people will be on their own. The company probably will not need many DLS workers on its staff. The company could be in jeopardy of closing, along with other mental health-related businesses in Maine.

What Will Happen to the Mental Health Industry in Maine?

This is going to backfire on the governor who is not thinking this through. Many of these companies will go under. Many of the people who can no longer receive services will flood the hospitals and will not be able to stay at home. Most of the DLS workers and case workers will be out of jobs. The unemployment rate will skyrocket.

The governor, the most anti-labor governor I have ever witnessed, doesn’t care. He’s made that abundantly clear time after time. He’s blaming the federal government? We’re not that gullible. In fact, most of us are more educated than the governor, such as the undersigned. Yet he’s counting on the uninformed and the poor to just take it. Maybe he didn’t count on things like this blog or on the citizens of Maine who are really passionate about issues. Just look at the huge turnout for Bernie Sanders at the caucus and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Likewise, his crony DHHS head Mary Mayhew is just as responsible. There have been many calls for her resignation. She is running DHHS in an irresponsible way, cutting and cutting for people who need it the most. Maybe that is why she is now a Republican. In fact, as indicated in news stories, not one Republican in the Statehouse was in favor of keeping the mental health services intact. Only the Democrats are opposing this disastrous Section 17.

Five Democrats have petitioned the governor to review his decision to make these cuts. It would seem that the Democrats are the ones who care about this and how it affects their constituents. Maybe the GOP needs to be renamed. Don’t get me started. 

What Will Happen to the Mental Health Workers?

These proposed cuts are a tragedy in that they affect so many people–mental health clients the most, DLS and case managers, and the mental health industry and companies in Maine which could go out of business.

What was the point of the workers getting their additional degrees or certifications only to be told they can’t use them? The situation is disgraceful. I expect no less of Mary Mayhew or of Governor LePage. They’ve shown time and time again that the well-being of Mainers is not their concern. #Notmygovernor. #NewDHHSHeadNeeded.

Mental Health Clients, DLS Workers and Case Managers Will all Lose

When my daughter, who wants to help these people, tells me her clients are going to be devastated, she knows what she’s talking about. Not all the clients know that the axe is about to fall. She is not allowed to say anything. Her company is having emergency meetings next week. Who will be there to pick up the pieces of the mental health clients when they are without crucial services?

Civil Protests Needed

What will happen to the workers? Those with college degrees will be in better shape than those who don’t have them, but then there are also older workers. Don’t tell me there isn’t age discrimination in this state. I’m an attorney licensed in another state, and I have seen it in Maine more than in other states. In fact, the entire employment situation in this state is pitiful.

All we can do is hope LePage comes to his senses. I would call upon DLS workers and case managers, the mental health companies and concerned citizens to protest at the Statehouse. A civil protest. Let LePage and his Republican army know what we think of them.

Some of them will be up for re-election. Time to vote them out. Time to get rid of DHHS head Mary Mayhew now before she makes a bigger mess of this state. LePage has already done his share. At this juncture, he will be adding to it if he doesn’t do an about-face. Let’s hope the decision to review Section 17 doesn’t fall on deaf ears and that the governor really listens to the will of the people. 

What are your thoughts on this? Please comment. Please keep it clean so I can publish it. Thank you.

Ronna Lambiasi DeLoe   
Continue reading “Maine’s Section 17 Will Cost Mental Health Workers Their Jobs and People With Mental Health Issues Will Lose Vital Services”