Leading from the Left

Friday, May 04, 2007

Breaking News on Mental Health

Carmen Odom today announced her resignation as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Odom is a very capable individual, but there is wide-spread belief that mental health reform in NC has been botched. I have the utmost respect for Ms. Odom and wish her well in her new position as President of the Milbank Memorial Fund, a health policy foundation based on New York.

Odom's departture gives Governor Easley an opportunity to shake the etch-a-sketch and start over. I was speaking to a county commissioner from the western part of the state yesterday who described the state's mental health system as being "in total collapse." I agree. There are many reasons for the current situation, and we shouldn't blame one or two people for what's gone wrong. But the change in leadership at DHHS gives us a chance to realistically address the problems with mental health reform.