Maryland health chief: 'I just made a mistake' in not addressing mental health bed problem

Maryland's secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene went before a circuit court judge this week to defend his inaction in addressing the state's shortage of mental health beds, according to a report by The Baltimore Sun.

Secretary Van Mitchell told Baltimore Circuit Judge Gale Rasin, "I just made a mistake. I didn't do it," according to the report. Mr. Mitchell said he should have pushed for additional state funds to help address the bed shortage, but due to a host of other issues, he simply did not have enough time to do it before the end of the General Assembly session in April, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Mr. Mitchell and five other officials are being held in civil contempt as a result of their failure to carry out a court order to admit four criminal defendants to state mental health facilities within a reasonable timeline. The defendants are now in mental health facilities, but spent weeks in jail, according to the report.

Mr. Mitchell also told the judge he created a working group to find solutions for the problem, according to the report.

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