A special task force has begun to review how the state responds to allegations of abuse in public and private mental health facilities. Governor Matt Blunt formed the Mental Health Task Force in the wake of a series by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that alleged that the state fails to properly monitor its mental patients and fails to properly investigate injuries and deaths. A co-chairman of the task force, Interim Mental Health Director Ron Dittemore, says a cultural change is needed in the department – one that has the Department of Mental Health existing to provide quality service to Missourians. Dittemore says it does no good for the department to ignore the problem. He says short-term solutions are underway. Long-term solutions will follow.
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