Letter: Help improve mental health system

I was disappointed but not surprised to see the guest column from Al Whitters (“Fix mental health system,” Jan. 23). I agree with Dr. Whitters that our mental health system is broken. Where we disagree is that I believe it is his fault.

Dr. Whitters notes that he is the medical director for three of the four Residential Care Facilities (RCFs) in our mental health region. Perhaps he can explain how he authorized RCF care for literally scores of people who — according to our experts — do not need that level of care. Not only is this an unnecessary restriction on the individual being served, but it costs taxpayers of the region millions of dollars. Of course, you can see the conflict — Dr. Whitters is paid by these RCFs.

Additionally, the facilities that pay Dr. Whitters have been asked for months to bring forward ideas for improving the system. Instead, Dr. Whitters has resorted to fear mongering in protection of the status quo. He should be ashamed.

Finally, Dr. Whitters has attended but one meeting of the mental health region. He stood up, pontificated and left without taking any questions. That is not how you fix anything. The mental health region board consists of nine elected county supervisors. We do our work in public. If Dr. Whitters would show up, we can discuss this in public. I certainly have some things I’d like him to hear.

Rod Sullivan

Johnson County

Board of Supervisors

Iowa City

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