- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Gov. Dennis Daugaard says he’ll bring in a quality assurance officer from the private group he previously directed to monitor South Dakota’s state-run mental health hospital in Yankton.

Daugaard told the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/293YJCR ) that he asked a quality assurance leader at the Children’s Home Society of South Dakota to step in to work with the Human Services Center’s new administrator, Troy Jones. Daugaard previously worked as the society’s executive director.

Daugaard said he hopes the move will help address problems at the center. They have included high staff turnover, a rising number of patient attacks on staff, poor record-keeping and misuse of restraints to control potentially unruly subjects.

“I asked Troy if he would be willing to have another set of eyes and he was very welcoming to that,” Daugaard said. “I think he’ll bring some quality assurance processes that will be different and new.”

Phyllis Arends, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Sioux Falls, said she supports the governor’s move. Arends said having someone from an organization with a proven background to come in and scrutinize the facility will bode well for improvement.

State Sen. Bernie Hunhoff said the new hire and the effort to improve the state-run mental hospital will be welcome by staff members there. Hunhoff said he hopes the consultant will have the opportunity to speak at length with the patient care staff who knows the problems at the facility firsthand.

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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