Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Kuhn: Hawthorn Center investigation first step toward accountability for state-run care centers
RELEASE|January 22, 2024
Contact: Tom Kuhn

State Rep. Tom Kuhn applauded a recent announcement by the Office of Auditor General (OAG) that will deliver needed transparency and accountability for families with loved ones in state-run care centers.

The OAG announced it will investigate the Office of Recipient Rights for how it handles allegations at the Hawthorn Center in Northville Township, as well as other state-run psychiatric hospitals, as part of its 2024 audit cycle.

“Families entrust these state-run facilities with the care of their vulnerable loved ones, and they deserve complete transparency if there has been any negligence on the part of the state,” said Kuhn, R-Troy. “The OAG audit will unseal any bad practices and allow the Legislature to have a wholistic view of how these facilities operate. Elected officials have a duty to step in and take corrective action if the facility is giving families in our community substandard care. This audit is the first step in that process.”

In July, Kuhn signed onto a letter to the OAG requesting a performance review of the Hawthorn center to further examine patient care and opinions of staff about patient treatment, the effectiveness of patient treatment complaints, clinical decisions and more. This came after Kuhn, joined by other legislators, hosted listening sessions for families with loved ones at the Hawthorn Center in Novi and Walter Reuther Psychiatric Hospital in Wayne County.

Among the issues communicated by those in attendance were barriers and restrictions on weekends that left parents unable to contact their children via phone or visit with them outside of normal workdays; health concerns; erratic educational services; and limited recreation or outdoor time that could jeopardize a patient’s well-being.

In addition to these concerns, families also underscored a controversial and unannounced emergency drill that took place in December 2022 and created psychological trauma for both staff and patients. That event led to a pair of class action lawsuits. Several young patients have also reportedly escaped supervision at Hawthorn, the only state-run psychiatric hospital for minors, showcasing a troubling security pattern.


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