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Hearing will shed light on mental health operations

A legislative hearing scheduled for Monday should shed somelight on finances and practices at the Mississippi Department ofMental Health.

District 92 Rep. Becky Currie, who will oversee Monday’shearing, and District 39 Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith are among lawmakersasking questions and seeking legislation following a 2008Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review report that wascritical of the department. Among the issues raised in the reportwere mental health department expenditures, a lack of long-termplanning and a lack of accountability on spending for patientcare.

While it is the state’s largest agency, the mental healthdepartment’s financing and operations are complicated and noteasily deciphered by those unfamiliar with the goings on at mentalhealth facilities. That said, Monday’s hearing will allow lawmakersan opportunity to inquire about activities and department leaderswill have a chance to present their case regarding operations.

Mental health services are an important function of stategovernment.

Oftentimes, those who receive the services are in no condition -physically or mentally – to care for themselves. With that in mind,it is imperative that mental health department deficiencies – inany – be addressed and its operations be as effective as possiblein helping some of Mississippi’s most vulnerable citizens.