Skubick: DHHS director admits his department “could have done better” on Flint water


LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The state public health director was questioned for the first time today on why he waited a year to notify Gov. Rick Snyder that there was a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Flint that may have been linked the water crisis in that city.

Nick Lyon concedes his department can do better.

Gov. Rick Snyder prides himself in not getting angry but an inside source reports he was just that when he was told, one year after the fact, that there was a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Flint.

The man who waited a year to tell his boss is Nick Lyon, the state’s Health and Human Services director appearing before a legislative panel.

For the first time in public, he concedes he waited a year to bring the governor into the loop.

“I was aware that Genesee County was doing an outbreak in January 15,” said DHHS Director Nick Lyon.

When asked if he did take a year to notify the governor of that information Lyon responded “I did mention legionnaires to the governor the day before we went public, so that’s an accurate statement.”

Twelve persons have died from the outbreak and the ranking Democrat on the committee thinks Mr. Lyons department should have issued what’s called a “Health Order Notification” in 2014, not 2016.

“There should have been a HON report sent out to the public in 2014,” said Sen. Jim Ananich. The senator adds he thinks it’s fair to say the department bungled the problem.

Mr. Lyon admits “we could have done better. We all could have done better.”

Should the governor been notified sooner?

Mr. Lyon answered that by saying “I believe that we need to work on that internally within the department in how those things are elevated.”

The Auditor General is investigating Mr. Lyon’s department on this and other Flint issues.

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