Saturday, August 23, 2014

Austerity And The Mental Health System Equals Expensive

Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele is so set on closing the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Complex - even though there's not enough community beds to support the people that need help - that he had his bought and paid for state representative Joe Sanfelippo push through a law to make sure that these vulnerable citizens were thrown to the corporate wolves.

Likewise, Scott Walker is implementing austerity measures and has already started putting limits on one of the state's mental health hospitals, forcing Dane County law enforcement officers to transport people two and  a half hours away.

Walker and Abele try to spin their austerity as being cost-saving measures that will allow more freedom and independence to these vulnerable citizens.  Abele also likes to pretend that these are best practices for those involved.

I would strongly suggest that these two reprobates pay attention to the State of Washington, where austerity and the mental health system is costing taxpayers $30 million and counting:
Gov. Jay Inslee has approved spending as much as $30 million to start meeting a state Supreme Court order to add more psychiatric evaluation and treatment beds around the state, officials said Friday.

In addition, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a motion Friday asking the high court to delay the effect of its decision by 120 days so the state can implement a plan to ensure alternative care is available.

On Aug. 7, the Supreme Court ruled that the practice known as "psychiatric boarding," or holding mentally ill patients in emergency rooms, was unlawful. The state estimates the ruling applies to about 200 people.


The justices ruled that mentally ill patients who are involuntarily committed cannot be "warehoused" in emergency rooms or acute care centers as a way to avoid overcrowding certified mental health facilities. Patients have a right to adequate care and individualized treatment, and state law required that they be detained in certified evaluation and treatment facilities, the court said.

The state's involuntary-treatment law passed in 1973 allows people to be committed to a mental hospital or institution against their will for a limited period of time. The purpose is to evaluate and treat people with a mental disorder who may be gravely disabled or pose a danger to themselves.

The state has been using "single-bed certifications" as a way to temporarily hold involuntarily committed people in hospitals that aren't certified to evaluate or treat their mental illness.


The department's mental health program will have to seek a supplemental appropriation in the 2015 budget to avoid other mental-health reductions in this fiscal year, the agency said.
It should be noted that the $30 million is just to act as a stopgap to fix what they broke. It does not include the cost of any crimes that were committed, the police and court costs or the cost of any litigation that might develop from this violation of civil rights.

And to think that Walker and Abele like to paint themselves as fiscal conservatives.  The sad part is that the will probably get away with their malfeasance.

Walker has already proven that "no one cares about crazy people."

1 comment:

  1. Capper, thanks. Hope the new "Mental Health Board," is reading your stuff. They're the new buffer that Walker and Abele created to insulate themselves. The next time a mentally ill person in Milwaukee County makes the front-page, the spotlight will be on the Mental Health Board. What did they know? When did they know it?