The Boston Globe on Sunday published the first installment of a three-part series exploring the byzantine and often dysfunctional mental healthcare system in Massachusetts. The story focuses on Mike Bourne, whose struggle with mental illness has included constantly changing diagnoses, missed medications, and trips to both the hospital and the courthouse.
In Massachusetts, as in other states, mental health care has largely moved out of hospitals and into communities. In many ways, this is better for patients. Still, stability can be elusive; setbacks common; the illness is brutally persistent. And so much falls to family members. In a crisis, they may find themselves adrift — struggling to navigate a disjointed, often dysfunctional system, unable to get the help patients need — either because the help isn’t there, or because they can’t find their way to it.
Steward Healthcare System sued The Boston Globe and Bourne ahead of the story’s publication, demanding to see reporter Jenna Russell’s notes and any medical records shared with the paper. They also asked a judge to allow them to speak publicly about Bourne’s medical records, a violation of federal HIPAA regulations. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Jeffery Locke denied those requests.
Click here to read part one of the Boston Globe series.