State review finds Milwaukee Health Department mishandled lead cases

NOW: State review finds Milwaukee Health Department mishandled lead cases

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – State officials have found massive failures within the Milwaukee Health Department’s lead program according to a report released just hours ago.

The report comes after the Milwaukee Health Commissioner resigned and mismanagement of the lead program was uncovered.

The state report found Milwaukee’s health department violated state statutes. It didn’t have set policies and procedures and even closed cases before the child’s lead levels returned to normal.

The state specifically reviewed 108 randomly selected cases of kids with elevated lead levels from 2012-2017.

They found 91% of cases closed didn’t meet the state statutes for closing cases, meaning kids were still sick.

The city also failed to conduct and document full lead risk assessments in all 108 cases.

“It’s shocking. It should not have occurred. This is not complicated. You have a state statute, you have a requirement to follow and somehow, in their department, they lost sight of that,” said 10th District Alderman Michael Murphy.

See the full report below:

Mayor Tom Barrett released the following statement regarding the latest report released by the state Department of Health Services:

"This report came to the same conclusions we came to earlier this year that there are significant issues that needed prompt attention. That’s why we have invested so much effort in corrective action and we continue to prioritize the health of children in Milwaukee to make sure we are doing everything that is appropriate."

New Milwaukee County Health Department Health Commissioner Dr. McManus released the following statement:

"I concur with the findings of the State’s audit of the City of Milwaukee Health Department’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP). The health and safety of the children in Milwaukee must be our first concern. I remain committed to working with the State to improve our lead program and ensure we are in compliance with State laws and obligations."
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