Guam – The Federal Management Team overseeing improvements to the Department of Mental Health [DMHSA] are blaming those who filed objections to their “Plan of Action” for sounding the “death knell” for their proposed “Center” to treat the island’s mentally ill.
In a lengthy Quarterly Report filed Tuesday with the District Court, the Federal Managers respond to the critics of their $16 million dollars “Plan of Action” [POA] from which their proposed $8 million dollar Center has been excluded.
The Federal Managers state in their report that the federal “Health and Human Services Administration was keenly interested in underwriting the cost of this “shovel ready’ project.”
However, they state “It is lamentable indeed, that the dissent articulated by those that filed objections and/or comments appears to have sounded the death knell, in terms of federal monies to bankroll this project.”
The 2 Federal Managers, Jim Casey and James Kiffer, argue that “the opportunity cost that Guam will forgo, is an eight (8) million dollar facility, that could have improved the efficiency, in terms of provision of care, treatment and services, to individuals within the target population, as well as a multitude of persons outside the scope of this case (including those with physical disabilities.)”
Daniel Somerfleck, the Attorney who brought to initial lawsuit that led to the appointment of the Federal Managers, has been among the critics of the “Plan of Action” and the Center it proposed. Federal Judge Conseulo Marshal has approved the plan, absent funding for the Center.
As noted in their Quarterly report filed yesterday [Tuesday], Somerfleck filed objections to the “Plan of Action” from “twenty-four consumers … two stakeholders and one service provider; the Director of DISID and Plaintiff’s Counsel.”
The Federal Managers respond that “with the exception of a lone stakeholder, the remainder have a vested financial interest.” And they write that “the Director of DISID “hopes to avert the imminent absorption of DISID into DMHSA.”
“It is noteworthy that these objections and/or comments were addressed in chambers … nevertheless, the POA [Plan of Action] was apporved by the court.”
Most of the objections cited in Somerfleck’s filing with the court had to do with the proposed DMHSA Center arguing that it would become an institution for warehousing the mentally ill and that its cost was excessive and unnecessary.