Scott Walker's shocking mental health mess | WisCommunity

Scott Walker's shocking mental health mess

I couldn't have said this any better, so why try?  Here is State Rep. Tamara Grigsby's take on the disastrous way Scott Walker has managed Milwaukee County's mental health programs:


By State Rep. Tamara Grigsby

As Scott Walker prepares his taxpayer-funded campaign tour across Wisconsin, what is he leaving behind in Milwaukee? Years of mismanagement and neglect that have put some of the County’s most vulnerable people at risk.

News reports last week confirmed that under Scott Walker’s watch a pregnant patient was repeatedly sexually assaulted at Milwaukee County Behavioral Health. Now troubling stories are emerging that this may be institutional practice under Scott Walker.

Scott Walker’s hand-picked mental health executive said last week that the county intentionally houses female patients with men they know are dangerous "because the presence of women reduces the likelihood of the men being violent," according to news reports. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported yesterday that Scott Walker and his cronies consider this a reasonable “Trade Off.”

Scott Walker’s history of mismanagement and neglect goes back years. Under Scott Walker’s watch, assaults on staff jumped by 50 percent. One veteran nurse was battered in 2007, leaving the woman “with a concussion, bruises and memory lapses. Another nurse was choked. A third was punched in the eye.”

And in 2006 one patient starved to death and another was found starving and the state declared all patients were in immediate jeopardy, the highest alert possible after an inspection discovered 11 federal safety and health violations.

Scott Walker is blind to his own mismanagement and neglect. Fortunately, we are not. One year ago Scott Walker needed to be rescued by the state because his public assistance programs were denying basic food aid to struggling families during the national economic crisis.

Even in the midst of calls for an audit from state lawmakers, County Supervisors, and an investigation by an independent patient’s rights organization, Scott Walker somehow still claims that he “is in compliance with state and federal regulations.”

As someone who has spent years cleaning up after one of the worst county executives in Milwaukee history, I believe it’s time we Trade Off Scott Walker for someone who truly cares, not someone who cynically uses vulnerable female patients as pawns to distract violent male patients. It’s time we hold Scott Walker accountable for his history of failure.


May 12, 2010 - 6:05pm