LANSING, Mich. — Senate Health Policy Minority Vice Chair Michael Webber on Wednesday petitioned the committee’s chairman and other leading Democrats to open a hearing to investigate ongoing problems at Michigan’s only state-run psychiatric hospital for minors — the Hawthorn Center in Northville Township.
“You don’t have to look very deep to see there are serious concerns here,” said Webber, R-Rochester Hills, “Many parents who have children at Hawthorn no longer trust the Department of Health and Human Services in keeping their kids safe. We have a duty to these young people and their loved ones to ensure Michigan’s only state-run psychiatric hospital is being operated correctly and following all appropriate policies and laws.”
At least 17 young patients have escaped from the center under the supervision of Hawthorn personnel and the facility is the subject of a lawsuit pending from an active shooter drill that took place there in December 2022.
Webber sent letters to Senate Health Policy Chair Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores, Appropriations Subcommittee on DHHS Chair Sylvia Santana, D-Detroit, and Oversite Committee Chair Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, requesting an oversight hearing regarding the Hawthorn Center.
“It is also concerning that the hospital will be reconstructed and current patients will be temporarily housed at Reuther Hospital, where adults are currently being treated. Children and adults should be separated and not housed together under the same roof, which creates legitimate safety concerns,” Webber wrote.
“We must ensure state officials are held accountable and restore confidence to our residents.”