For the first time in 30 years, Milwaukee County officials are refusing to release a safety report about the embattled Mental Health Complex with a history of violence, abuse and even death. Why, you ask? The complex falls under the watch of the County Executive, Scott Walker, who also happens to be the Republican candidate for governor. Walker has been blamed for his lack of leadership in turning around the facility, despite warnings of problems. And today’s revelations further showcase Walker’s willingness to put politics ahead of the people of Wisconsin.
Auditor says information may aid probe into troubled complex
By Steve Schultze of the Journal Sentinel
The Journal Sentinel spent six months investigating problems at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex. The newspaper found a cascade of problems, including a case where a patient with a history of violence was allowed to roam free, doctors orders were not followed and nurses falsified documents to cover their mistakes.
Lawyers for Milwaukee County have refused to turn over a 2008 consultant’s report on safety issues at the Mental Health Complex – the first time in 30 years that county officials have stonewalled a county auditor investigation, the current auditor said Thursday.
Jerry Heer said he was seeking the report as part of his probe of safety issues at the complex. That audit was ordered by County Board Chairman Lee Holloway in April, following Journal Sentinel coverage of a federal inspection of the complex that found multiple instances of patient sexual assault and the pregnancy of a patient.
Heer told county supervisors Thursday “we believe that the report may shed light on the Behavioral Health Division’s practices that are relevant to the audit we are conducting.” He did not give the name of the consultant, but said he learned of the report’s existence during the course of his work on the mental health audit.
Heer said it was important to get any information that might help the county to reform its patient care practices in the future. He said he still holds out some hope the consultant report eventually will be released to county supervisors “so stepscan be taken to ensure any problems have been addressed.”