HD16 - Office of the Inspector General: Semi-Annual Report (April 1 - September 30, 2001)

Executive Summary:
At the outset of his term Governor James S. Gilmore III fulfilled an administrative priority through the establishment of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). One key element for government in maintaining the public trust is through the development of systems of accountability. Over the last 12 years the operations of the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services (DMHMRSAS) has undergone scrutiny by the federal government through Department of Justice investigations. This ongoing scrutiny has resulted in an erosion in the public confidence of the state’s ability to provide effective services. The Office of the Inspector General was designed to promote and advance accountability and integrity in the quality of clinical services as delivered by DMHMRSAS through the development of an inspection process that is objective, professional, independent, fair and forthright.

This new office was designed to be external to the operations of the DMHMRSAS and provide an unprecedented degree of accountability. The creation of the OIG in Virginia proved to be nationally significant; no other state has this level of scrutiny in the form of an independent Inspector General position for clinical services within the mental health delivery system. Inspectors General are granted substantial authority in order to execute the duties of their Office as established by statute. It is critical that any Inspector General regard the office as a public trust and its primary responsibility as serving the public interest.

It is the essential function of this office to provide an enduring challenge to the quality of clinical care in the facility system in Virginia. In order to incorporate contemporary clinical ideas, the OIG actively participates in statewide and nationally recognized meetings and conferences. These meetings provide valuable information and opportunities for exchange of ideas and exposure to successful programs developed in other state systems and countries.

Within the first year of appointment, Dr. Anita Everett, the Inspector General received certification from the American Association of Inspectors General. The intensive training required to receive this certification expanded the knowledge of current trends in inspections, investigations, and audit practices. In addition the Inspector General is an active member of national associations, such as the American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Community Psychiatrists, American Association of Inspectors General, Psychiatric Society of Virginia, and Virginia Association of Community Psychiatry. This provides the Inspector General with an opportunity to exchange information regarding the delivery of quality services that are consistent with contemporary clinical guidelines.