QM Specialist Miguel Sabillon Works to Stop Domestic Violence

Leadership in Action_Miguel SabillonQuality Management Specialist Miguel Sabillon spends his time off teaching classes in a treatment program for domestic abusers, hoping to see that spark that one of them has gotten the message.

When it works, “it's like the light bulb pops on and they realize we all are individuals and we all have our needs….I try to drive home to them that this is about you. If you can't take care of you, you can't take care of everybody else," Sabillon said.

“There's a lot of guys that want to change. A lot of them didn't realize they were committing abuse," Sabillon said, adding that he's had men in the class say that they punched a wall and not their wife. “But that's still threatening."

Sabillon teaches two weekly classes through New Options for Violent Actions (NOVA) one in English and one in Spanish. This year, Sabillon celebrates 30 years working the behavioral health field. He's also a Six Sigma yellow belt and is working with a Cardinal Innovation Quality Management (QM) team from all regions to improve its processes for better efficiency.

“Every day is different," Sabillon said about working in QM. “We're responsible for ensuring providers are in compliant with federal, state and local regulations and policies. We go from one end to the other. We do investigations. We do complaints. I'm also a certified investigator. We also look into Medicaid fraud and billing issues. We'll have providers do payback."

Sabillon is originally from New York City. He attended St. John's University where he studied psychology. One of his first jobs was working in a residential program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). He later worked as a care coordinator in Mecklenburg County and eventually moved into quality management.

He said he learned a lot from the residential program. “They had intellectual and developmental disabilities but you learn from them. It's always been the members who have kept me going – just that we as a department make an impact on the members."

He said he enjoys making sure that people are doing the right things for those who need help.

“To me it's about the impact we make for others. That's the driving force behind this. We don't do this for the money. We do it for the gratification" of knowing you helped someone, he said.

Sabillon said he works with the NOVA program on weekends. NOVA is a 26-week state-certified batterer intervention program providing counseling and case management services to perpetrators of domestic violence. Sabillon facilitates the 26-week course. He works with a female co-facilitator to model the behavior and interaction that is appropriate between men and women. The class covers power, control and equality.

Often, class participants have often already been charged with domestic violence. “It's a challenge at times because most of the men are court ordered to be there, but some come voluntarily," Sabillon said. “You've got guys who flushed their wives in the toilet or punched their pregnant wife in the stomach."

There's a machismo that is taught to some men from Latin-American countries, Sabillon said. “For the men, it's a way of life. They're accustomed to the chaos."

For some, it's breaking a cycle learned as a child. Sabillon said the NOVA class also covers how domestic violence affects children. “Wetting the bed is common. When we get deep into stuff, (the men will) talk about their parents and they'll start crying."

Sabillon said he wants to give them new options for coping with the stresses of life. “For a lot of these guys, it is the pressure of life. Financial stress is always an issue," he said.

“The hard part about this is that the men are learning to cope better, but their home situation is still the same," he said.

“There's much more than just this, this is the beginning," he said.

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