Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and Interim Director of Mental Health Ron Dittemore are going to oversee an investigation into deaths, neglect, and abuse in private and public mental health care facilities in the state. Kinder says the investigating group will look into some of the concerns raised in a series of newspaper stories in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He adds that while the group will focus primarily on the problems identified in the newspaper series, it will also look into changing some of the structural problems within the Department of Mental Health that have resulted in some breakdowns in care. Kinder says he’ll gather the appropriate department directors, staff, and affected parties together for an initial organizational meeting to discuss procedures, timelines, and goals for the panel looking into the problems. Kinder wants to come up with some concrete plans of action as soon as possible, but can’t yet put forward a timetable until he’s had a chance to discuss the concerns with Dittemore and other department heads involved in the project.
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