Nevada health official ousted over squalid homes for mentally ill

Nevada Mental Health (MGNOnline)

A state official has resigned from a department handling care for severely mentally ill people in Nevada after an audit found squalid conditions at taxpayer-funded homes under a program that she oversaw.

Chrystal Main, the public information officer for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, confirmed with News 4-Fox 11 that Amy Roukie stepped down from her position as administrator for the Division of Public and Behavioral Health.

A recently released state audit shows that Nevada's most vulnerable mentally ill residents are living in taxpayer-funded homes with human waste, rodents, mildew and other filthy conditions.

RELATED | State audit: Nevada's mentally ill live in filthy conditions

Roukie told The Las Vegas Review-Journal her ouster was political. She declined to say more.

State Health and Human Services chief Richard Whitley says Roukie falsely told a legislative panel on Wednesday that a deputy state mental health administrator in had been replaced due to the audit findings, although that departure was for other reasons.

Governor Brian Sandoval released the following statement on Wednesday, Jan. 17 prior to Roukie's resignation:

My office is reviewing the legislative audit now and I’ve called for an emergency action plan to be on my desk by next Monday. It was my understanding that all of these homes had been visited by state experts immediately following reports of poor living conditions more than a year ago. We also passed Assembly Bill 46 which required the Department to certify each provider by October 1, but that law has not been enforced, which is unacceptable. I am incredibly disappointed with the Department of Health and Human Services and disturbed that an issue we had made a priority has not been addressed by the Department. The men and women living in these homes are Nevadans and part of a vulnerable population and the State can and will do better to ensure they have the opportunity to live healthy and happy lives.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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