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Take a  look at a recent article from the News and Observer concerning a newly released report that the Department of Health and Human Services sat on for two weeks. One can only conclude they are aware of the alleged worker issues and safety concerns.

Reports hammer mental health care

Two panels appointed by the Easley administration to review North Carolina’s mental health system have filed scathing reports that call for reversing bungled reforms implemented during the last seven years, saying deep cuts to hospital beds and treatment have endangered lives.

Among the key recommendations:

* Adding at least 717 full-time employees at state mental hospitals to meet patient-to-staff ratios needed to ensure safety.

* Adding psychiatric treatment beds to both the state hospital system and private facilities.

* Increasing pay to attract and retain qualified staff at the state hospitals.

* Adding trained investigators with law-enforcement experience to review complaints of abuse and neglect at the hospitals.

The reports were completed more than two weeks ago but were not made public by the state Department of Health and Human Services. Fully implementing the recommendations would cost far more than the $68 million in new mental health spending Easley has proposed for next year.

Mike Pedneau, chairman of the group assigned to review the mental hospitals, said Friday he feared the reports, sent to DHHS Secretary Dempsey Benton, would be deep-sixed. The stakes are too high and the needs too great to keep quiet, he said.

“It’s going to get buried until the legislature is ready to put the budget to bed,” said Pedneau, a former director of the state mental heath system. “I think these things need to be out in the public and I gave Dempsey two weeks and I haven’t heard a thing from him.”

Read entire article here.

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