The state mental health department is checking off its list of 25 improvements to be made. The Mental Health Task Force made the recommendations last fall after newspaper reports of abuses and deaths of people in state care.   The legislature passed a bill this year putting some of those recommendations into law. 

Mental Health Director Keith Schafer says ten recommendations have been carried out. Ten more are close to being met and the department is examining the others.

Shafer says one of the biggest accomplishments will be to establish a fatality review board in the department. He says the agency is surveying how other jurisdictions assemble their fatality review organizations.

He says the state is looking at how other state reviews are done. 

Schafer says investigators now have a higher understanding of their role in protecting consumer safety; and his department is moving toward establishing ties with the departments of Social Services and of Health and Senior Services to get more reports of abuse.  

But Schafer says one problem likely to linger is inadequate funding.  Schafer says it’s hard to tell people in need his department cannot afford to help them.


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