UPDATES with responses from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Senate Minority Leader, who represents Flint.
ORIGINAL STORY: Governor Rick Snyder is calling for an immediate investigation of his own Department of Health and Human Services in the wake of the Flint water crisis.
Snyder wants the Auditor General and the department’s Inspector General to look into how the way the state handled a couple public health issues related to the crisis: namely the elevated lead level found in blood tests and an increase in the number of cases of Legionnaire’s disease.
“The public health issues the people of Flint and Genesee County are facing warranted an internal review of how the state handled these situations,” Snyder said in a press release. “That preliminary internal review warrants an immediate and thorough investigation. I want some answers.”
Snyder says he wants the investigation to be thorough, but that he also wants those answers as soon as possible.
The governor says he will cooperate with the investigation and share the results with the public as well as local and federal governments.
UPDATE: The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it will fully cooperate with the investigation called for by the governor. In a press releases, the department says it “remains committed to promoting public health across the state, and welcomes further review of its efforts in Genesee County” – but that it won’t make any more comments until the investigation is over.
UPDATE: A prominent Michigan Democrat is criticizing Governor Rick Snyder’s call to investigate the Department of Health and Human Services.
Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, who represents Flint, says in a statment that he’s “baffled as to how Governor Snyder can continue to push for investigations of departments that carried out his wishes, and then blame them for operating in a departmental culture he created.”
Ananich says he’s concerned about why the department only had a part-time chief medical officer at the time and about the department’s ability to identify and trace the cases and causes of Legionnaire’s disease.