State Mental Health officials have decided to move ahead on a recommendation that it seek national accreditation of its six habilitation centers. One report, issued by the Mental Health Commission, already recommended the move. Another, soon to be issued by the Mental Health Task Force, will likely include it. Department of Mental Health spokesman, Bob Bax, says it just makes sense to seek approval of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. He says accreditation does indicate a facility has met high standards. Habilitation centers in St. Louis, Marshall, Higginsville, Nevada and southeast Missouri have been under fire because of reports of abuse and neglect of patients. The Mental Health Commission began its review of the facilities after two deaths at the Northwest Habilitation Center in St. Louis; one in 2005 and one in 2006. Governor Blunt formed the Mental Health Task Force after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a series of articles chronicling abuse at both state-run centers and community centers with which the state has contracts. The Mental Health Department also will seek accreditation of those 800 community providers. Forty of them, mostly the larger providers, already have received accreditation. Bax says it’s tough to win accreditation and acknowledges more money might be needed from the legislature to satisfy the requirements of accreditation. The department passed the accreditation process with its psychiatric centers in the 90s. Bax says that pattern will be followed for the habilitation centers.

Related web sites:
Missouri Department of Mental Health