Friday, September 24, 2010

The Purloined Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division Report

Don't you just love a secret! Especially one that taxpayer money paid for, and whose information is now being hidden from the very people who funded it?

In 2007, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division commissioned The Fields Group, a nationally recognized hospital consulting firm, to perform a safety analysis of Milwaukee's facility. The report found:

1. Substantial safety issues for both patients and staff, rendering a dangerous work environment and a summarily dysfunctional therapeutic healing facility.

2. A definite need for more staff training.

3. A definite need for higher staffing levels.

4. A definite need for a secure unit for violent and sexually aggressive patients, to keep them from harming others, or a policy to send those patients to a facility better equipped to handle them, such as Mendota State Hospital.

5. Issues with the security staff. Removing the Sheriff's Department as the designated security team and replacing them with private security personnel left the entire facility at risk.

That is a brief summary of what was contained in the report; and the report was very thorough, a top to bottom review of everything that was happening at the facility, and everything that needed fixing.

The report was never shared with the top clinical directors at Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division. Only a brief summary, i.e., as outlined above, was given to the people trying to run the facility and provide adequate care. One can only assume that it was not shared because Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, under the direction of Scott Walker and John Chianelli, decided that the changes would be disastrous as it related to budgetary concerns. This is generally what happens when anyone puts money above the human condition. It always costs more in the long run. And believe me, the taxpayers in Milwaukee County haven't a clue about just how much this debacle will end up costing them, but they will find out repeatedly in the next decade or two.

What was done at the Behavioral Health Division to address the concerns the report raised was absolutely nothing of significance. Now the report is being hidden again, from a County Auditor trying to find out what went wrong and how to fix it. The former clinical director I talked with reported that nothing changed after the report was completed. The report was obviously filed in the "Top Secret Don't Tell Anyone" cabinet. Who has access to The Fields Group's report? These are the real criminals and the real perpetrators of the ultimate heinous acts that did occur.

Now any reasonable person does not want slick, lying and unscrupulous people anywhere near their money. Bernie Madoff was slick, lying and unscrupulous, but he knew how to play the game and promote an image of a kindly, benevolent, wonderful human being who was going to make you rich. Many people believed in Bernie Madoff and they lost a great deal of their money. Good people of Wisconsin, don't be fooled by the clean-cut, Republican boy running for Governor. He just doesn't have the smarts, even when given the appropriate tools to do the job. Not qualified? That would be an understatement and a compliment.

The Wisconsin gubernatorial election has gone from politics to theatre. It is a tragedy, not a comedy. Frankly, given the differences between Scott Walker and Tom Barrett, the election should be a no-brainer; but then, there is no end to the denial in which people are capable of indulging. Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division is a point in fact.

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