Change in store for Milwaukee Co. Mental Health System

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Change is on the horizon for Milwaukee County's Mental Health System -- like it or not.

On Tuesday, March 11th, the Wisconsin Senate voted unanimously to put a board of many medical professionals in charge of the Milwaukee County Mental Health System -- directing policy and funding.

No longer would the Milwaukee County Board have oversight over the system -- a system that has endured many problems -- including state and federal violations and the deaths of several patients at the Mental Health Complex.

Gov. Scott Walker would appoint members to the new oversight board from a list of names the County Board and County Executive would submit.

"You can talk about they're going to be good for the patients. They're not. Who are they going to be accountable to? Who is this board going to be accountable to?" asked Supervisor Michael Mayo.

Department of Health and Human Services Director for the county, Hector Colon, welcomes a new oversight board -- that would move the system to move community-based services.

"Historically, there have been a lot of progress that's been stymied because there's not mental health professionals on the board that can make sure that we're moving in the right direction," said Colon.

The legislation also calls for an audit of the county system including the Mental Health Complex. Recommended options could include a state takeover.