Perdue: More Information Should Be Public In Mental Health Deaths

Governor Beverly Perdue wants more openness when it comes to information on deaths at state mental health facilities.

The governor says she'll work with the attorney general in making more information in death records public.

The state's mental health system has come under fire recently for a series of deaths, including a couple at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro.

Perdue says the following information would be made public:

*The name, sex, age and date of birth of the deceased;
*The name of the facility providing the report;
*The date, time and location of the death;
*A brief description of the circumstances of death, including the manner of death if known; and
*A list of all entities to whom the event was reported.

"Ensuring that important information in death records is public will make state facilities more accountable for the people in their care, restore public confidence and rebuild public trust." the governor said in a news release.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said patients in state facilities must receive quality care that is safe. He said the law should be changed because more public input and scrutiny can help fix some of the problems.

"While we want to make sure we protect the rights of the individuals we serve, we also want to make sure the public has access to information about problems in the facilities and our efforts to correct them," says DHHS Secretary Lanier Cansler.

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