When the administration at Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center fell apart almost six months ago, mental health officials didn't know what battle they would be facing - until now.
"I hope each of us has taken with us a firmer view of what the Timpanogos experience has been," said L.J. Schmidt, chairman of the state Board of Mental Health. "Sometimes we don't understand where it hurts until we experience it ourselves."Schmidt and a number of mental health and government officials compared notes recently at the Radisson Hotel in Park City as to what they had learned from the Timpanogos Mental Health experience.
"In the next weeks and months we will undoubtedly learn more," Schmidt told officials at the state Board of Mental Health and Local Mental Health Authority workshop. "We all have a burden to put the pieces of the story together so that it represents a clearly balanced picture that is told carefully."
When a state legislative auditor's report was released in April, things at Timp were topsy-turvy after eight administrators were accused of misusing more than $3.5 million in public money.
Since that time, several audits have been conducted, an interim management team came in attempting to put the pieces together and build up employee morale, the authority board and citizens advisory council were restructured, policy and bylaws were reworked and new administrators were finally hired.
Don Muller, new director of Timp Mental Health, believes things are now falling in line.
Mental health and government officials also discussed the difficulty of attempting to repair Timp Mental Health without knowing for sure what the problems are.
Schmidt said, "We are working with a deficit of facts since the auditor general and other organizations are not ready to file charges. What do we know about it and when will we know enough about the facts?"
Utah County Commissioner Malcom Beck said the Timpanogos authority board has resolved the issue of how much was spent above the salaries paid to administrators, has taken depositions and filed charges.
"With our own auditing we came up with what we think is in excess of salaries, and I think you will be quite surprised at some of the figures we have come up with."
Officials plan a press conference Wednesday morning to release information about where the center stands and what details accompany the civil lawsuits filed against the top three former administrators at Timp Mental Health, Beck said.