Health & Welfare

Frac sand industry faces DNR violations, warnings

Nearly a fifth of Wisconsin’s 70 active frac sand mines and processing plants were cited for environmental violations last year, as the industry continued to expand at a rapid clip.

Wisconsin nursing homes fail to report deaths, injuries
Wisconsin nursing homes fail to report deaths, injuries

Attorneys for families of residents say that facilities’ failure to report serious injuries or deaths related to abuse or neglect is not uncommon. Far more often, they say, the state health department only learns about a case of alleged neglect or abuse after a family member files a complaint. Advocates for health care providers stress that incidents of neglect and abuse are extremely rare, and can come to regulators’ attention in a variety of ways.

A Frail System: About this project

Families’ abilities to hold potentially negligent nursing facilities accountable have been diminished by a recent change in state law that bars records of abuse and neglect from use in the courts, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has found. The Center’s investigation also shows that some long-term care facilities are failing to report deaths and injuries, as required by law. This page summarizes the components of the series.

New state law conceals records of abuse, neglect in nursing homes

A new Wisconsin law, which went into effect in February 2011, bars families from using state health investigation records in state civil suits filed against long-term providers, including nursing homes and hospices. It also makes such records inadmissible in criminal cases against health care providers accused of neglecting or abusing patients.

Wisconsin law increases abortion delays, risk

Planned Parenthood has not provided abortions by medication since April, claiming a new abortion law’s language was too vague to comply with. As a result, many women have had surgical abortions instead and face delays in making appointments.

Abortion pill restrictions part of nationwide push

Medication abortions have become more prevalent nationally in the past few years, and laws targeting them are sweeping state legislatures across the country.

Gaps remain in jails’ suicide prevention

Since 2003, 52 Wisconsin county jail inmates have taken their own lives. Department of Corrections jail inspector Nancy Thelen said that generally, Wisconsin’s 72 county-run jails are doing “a very good job with their suicide watches.”

But a Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism review of the counties’ most recent jail inspection records found that at least one-third of them had, like Monroe County, been cited for problems with their suicide prevention efforts.

Ignored and underfunded, mental health care thin at county jails

Key findings:
• Wisconsin’s county-run jails are overloaded with people with mental illness — but services are largely inadequate.
• The state Department of Corrections is charged with oversight but does not evaluate the quality of jails’ mental health care.
• For nearly a quarter-century, the Legislature has required the DOC to collect and summarize annual reports on jails’ mental health care, but most jails have not provided the information, and the DOC acknowledges it has not been asking for them.
• One-third of Wisconsin’s jails have been cited for inadequate suicide prevention efforts.

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