Media scrutiny and a call to improve from the governor sparks change in how the Department of Mental Health investigates allegations of abuse. Some high-profile cases prompted the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to publish a series on how the Mental Health Department handles abuse investigations, which prompted Governor Blunt to ask for more scrutiny. Mental Health Department General Counsel, Mary Tansey, says the biggest change implemented took investigations away from the facilities and placed them in the hands of investigators in Jefferson City. She says that creates more independence in the investigations and allows the department’s central office to review cases with fresh eyes. Since September 16, 2005, 1,146 investigations have been undertaken by the Department of Mental Health with 770 completed and 376 pending. Tansey says she has hired 11 contractors to help the department clean-up the backlog, which she says is her top priority. Tansey outlined the changes to the Mental Health Task Force meeting Tuesday at the Capitol. The task force was established by the governor to study the issue.
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