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Ex-DHHS official to lead Central Regional

Posted December 31, 2008
Updated January 1, 2009

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— A retired Department of Health and Human Services official will oversee the new state mental hospital in Butner.

Mike Hennike, who was chief of State Operated Services before retiring in 2007, has been serving as associate director of Central Regional for the past six months, following the resignation of hospital director Dr. Patsy Christian.

Dr. Michael Lancaster, co-director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, has been interim director of Central Regional in recent months.

The $130 million hospital, which has been designed to replace Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh and John Umstead Hospital in Butner, has been plagued by staffing and safety issues that forced DHHS officials to repeatedly delay its opening.

Patients still haven't moved from Dorothea Dix after an advocacy group obtained a court order to block the move, citing concerns about safety issues at Central Regional.

Federal inspectors also had said Central Regional failed to provide care in a safe environment and to prevent patient abuse and neglect. The findings jeopardized the hospital's ability to collect reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid for treating patients, but the state corrected the deficiencies.


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  • Retired nurse Jan 1, 2009

    Well if anyone can straighten out the mess at the new hospital, Mike Hennike can!! I worked under his leadership in the past and he will not bother anyone who is doing his/her job. But he will not tolerate anyone NOT doing the job or abuse or mis-treatment of any client in the institution! Someone needs to straighten out the mess and I believe they got the right person for the job!!

  • missingVA Dec 31, 2008

    According to the N&O, he will not be on DHHS payroll, he will be on the patroll of UNC...some sort of strange handshake agreement between the two agencies. The reason given is that UNC can pay him a higher salary than DHHS can. If this is true, he is not coming back out of the goodness of his heart, he is coming back for the MONEY! More of the same old, same old!

  • littlegramma Dec 31, 2008

    I'm sorry, but does no one wonder why easley keeps going back to the same ol' same ol' when it comes to "fixing" problems? Shouldn't he start looking outside his own cronies and get some new blood to reevaluate the whole mess that DHHS is in? How do we know he's really all that qualified, he's already there and could easily be part of the original problem with our State mental health crisis. Its so broke, it needs to be dismantled and rebuilt from the bottom up! or the top down, either way, I think they need someone from somewhere else to start from scratch and not reuse someone from its past. I just don't trust easley or perdue to make good choices for most any department in our state government! They broke it, so I doubt they can fix it. Same with the Dems in the federal gov't. We keep putting the foxes back in charge of the henhouse and we really expect it to get any better? Don't blame me, I voted for the other guys, and against any bailouts.

  • Newshound Dec 31, 2008

    I applaud the person to take on that job and coming out of retirement for it makes me like him that much more. There is nothing bad about a retired person Taking a job while retired. They earned that retirement money by putting in the time 20 years for state workers. I know several friends of my parents that have retired from the state and went to work part time for the very department they retired from. It is a win win situation the state doesnt have to train a new person who might not have the work ethic of the retiree. And if the person is a bad apple once they retire the state doesn't have to let them rehire part time.

  • quit_whining Dec 31, 2008

    Yet again...another whiner when it comes to other people getting a job they are obviously qualified to do.

    Amyrn...if you think you can do the job, then apply for it. I don't care if they guy is retired from the Federal, State, and Local governments and drawing a retirement package...if he can do the job and no one else can, then give him the job!!

    Whoever taught these people that life is a bunch of roses and everything is fair...

  • amyrn Dec 31, 2008

    A "retired" officical? So he gets to double dip? Draw his retirement and a state salary?