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Hats off to the Kingsburg Tri-County Health Care District for standing up for the rights of anyone receiving mental health services. In October’s monthly meeting, they adopted what I consider to be a ground-breaking resolution, a resolution advocating for the rights and care of mental health patients. 

The resolution has the title: “In the Matter of: Mental Health Care And Patients Victimized By Abuse, Fraud, Negligent Care or Other Misconduct.” Although the title is required legal language, the guts of this resolution stand up for high-quality mental health care and the rights of patients...BRAVO!

Everyone knows that high quality, caring and empathetic mental health rehabilitation is vital for individuals, families and the community, but there are too many instances in the news of mental health care abuse or fraud.

The old hospital building was converted to an apparently world-class locked mental health rehab facility. It’s not often that a city Kingsburg’s size, just more than 10,000 people, has such a large facility to house 66 supposedly local people. It’s vital that this facility doesn’t go the way of so many other mental health institutions who have been cited for multiple instances of neglect, abuse and fraud. Institutions such as Diagnostic and Behavioral Health Clinic and American Therapeutic Corporation.

By adopting this resolution, the Kingsburg Tri-County Health Care District is helping to ensure that anyone who might have a grievance feels comfortable reporting that grievance in a safe and anonymous way with the hopes that each will be investigated, and any discrepancies found properly corrected.

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The Board has made it clear that they would never want people to feel uncertain about reporting possible abuse or neglect for fear of getting into trouble for doing so. 

I applaud the board for posting, on the district’s website, Patients’ Rights Advocates, regulatory authorities and links to the laws that protect those who do report. Even though the Board cannot itself initiate or take part in any investigation, because it doesn’t have the authority to do so, this resolution is sending a strong message out to the community to insist that the most vulnerable among us are safe and receive the care that is promised with mental health treatment.

Betsy Tunnell,

Kingsburg

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