The complaint against Mesa County employee Lisa Mills that led the Social Work Board to sanction her

Lisa Rickerd Mills, Behavioral Health Strategies Manager for Mesa County, who reports directly to Commissioner Janet Rowland and who appears to have been the person who prompted Rowland to start attacking Dr. Jeff Kuhr, longtime Director of the Mesa County Public Health Department (Photo: Facebook)

Lisa Rickard Mills is Behavioral Health Strategies Manager for Mesa County, reports to Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland and is administering programs funded with $1 million in combined grants from the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health, St. Mary’s Hospital and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

According to text messages (pdf) obtained between Janet Rowland and Mills, Mills also appears to have been instrumental in prompting Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland to start her recent attacks Mesa County Public Health Department Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr.

Mills is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) with the State of Colorado. Public records show that in 2020 she was sanctioned by the state Board of Social Work Examiners.

The Social Work Board found that while Mills was working in a hospital in 2019, she had “failed to conduct and document an adequate suicide risk assessment of a patient” and her “discharge plans were inadequate.”

What we haven’t seen before was the complaint submitted to Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Affairs (DORA) that prompted the Board to investigate Mills.

Since the complaint (Complaint No. 2019-2630) resulted in action being taken against Mills, both the original complaint and the sanctions are a matter of public record.

An Open Records Act request yielded the text of the full complaint (pdf) against Mills that led the State to sanction her.

Some things to know before reading the complaint:

— The complaint was submitted anonymously by what appears to have been a co-worker.

— An M-1 hold (pdf), discussed in the complaint, is a legal 72-hour hold that can be placed on a person when the person is deemed to be in imminent danger of harming themself or someone else, or they are “gravely disabled. Such a hold can be placed by a registered nurse, a forensic psychotherapist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed clinical social worker or licensed counselor. The ability to place an M1 hold on someone is based on Colorado Statute 27‐65‐101, “Care and Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness”.

The effective part of the complaint against Lisa Rickerd Mills (LRM) is as follows:

“Nature of Complaint:

  • Documentation Issues
  • Inappropriate Care of Child Client/Patient
  • Misdiagnosis of Condition/Problem
  • Other: Please Describe in the Comments section below
  • Comments: Inappropriate diagnosis, clinical skill and ability to practice in a safe manner.

Please provide a chronological summary of your complaint:

Information is all from a confidential setting. HR has not authorized a release of the information, making this compliant very difficult as most of the pertinent information is protected. If you are able to follow up, LRM has worked at the local VA Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado, which she reported three of her patients completed suicide in 2018 after directly working with her. Other complaints have come from St. Mary’s Hospital Emergency Department after releasing unsafe clients into the community, and finally complaints from the local university when collaborating with community members about inappropriate professional communication. Some examples: Patient seen and released after evaluation, LRM deeming patient safe. Concerns: Law enforcement stated patient had been posting pictures and suicidal statements with guns and pills on social media. Law Enforcement verified they viewed the pictures on social media. Additional concerns with this patient: recent serious suicide attempt, divorce, making suicidal posts with a gun and pills. None of this was address in her assessment or discussion with the doctor; however, her assessment stated he was at moderate risk and discharged home with a safety contract. Family came back the next day, as patient was escalated, carrying guns in his car and continued to be suicidal. Patient placed on M1 following day. This poses serious risk to the client, family, and community. Two overdoses and released by LRM. New clinician saw the patient on third overdose which resulted in M-1. Concerns with patient safety. This occurred over a week. Clinician team expressed concern about a female who had been seen a few times by LRM as suicidal with plan and intention to suicide; however, was released to the community. Patient returned and needed to be intubated after a suicide attempt. This occurred in a week span. The concern is that she is making independent decisions about crisis clients and releasing them when they clearly meet m1 protocol to ensure the safety of the client and community. LMR continued to discharge all of these patients, indicating her clinical skills may not be appropriate. LRM moved from East Coast where she was not an independent practioner, holding an LCSW (licensed certified social worker) as in there state she would have needed to be an LICSW (Licensed independent clinical social worker) to practice independently. My concern is for our patient safety.”

  9 comments for “The complaint against Mesa County employee Lisa Mills that led the Social Work Board to sanction her

  1. Thanks for your reply.

    But…there is nothing that I am reading which “proves” Lisa was responsible for anything. If she was, I’d imagine she’d have been prosecuted or at the very least lost her job.

    And one complaint from an anonymous source doesn’t hold much weight, IMO.

    Besides, none of this pertains to Anne’s erroneous charge that somehow Lisa is involved in Kuhr’s potential removal as director.

    It’s a classic case of Anne muddying the water…which she does quite frequently. And she gets away with it because you all never read beyond her salacious headlines.

    • Oh Alice, unlike your assertions, a confidential complaint to a state regulatory agency does carry weight. To suggest otherwise, really underlines that you’re either a complete idiot or just here to play a sad part in this baseless whisper campaign. Although I do appreciate you proving just how attention-starved your posts are; because when Anne bothered to respond with evidence, you promptly ignored it and pivoted to another straw man. Classic! It’s only by accident you’ve said anything remotely correct; which is your whole take on this issue is indeed imaginary and there is nothing you could ever to read to be convinced otherwise…whereas most everybody else here seems to have made up their own minds given the mountain evidence.

      The pearl-clutching about Anne “getting away with it” though, well that’s rich. Seems like again you fail to appreciate the concept of irony: as a faceless internet troll complaining here about muddying waters. Or maybe you’re just confused where we are? So let me remind you; this is HER blog, not some local newspaper where “headlines” actually exist. Guess I still can’t help but wonder how anybody has so much free time, let alone with such a sense of self-importance and insecurity, to post here so regularly. It’s also interesting to see how all your inane criticisms align with persons whose positions are equally so weak on facts they can only be litigated in public opinions rather than a courtroom. What is Janet Rowland’s salary, anyway?

      Consider starting your own salacious blog! Just think about all the articles you could write without pesky things like proof. Besides, there’s no need to muddy any waters here, esp when there’s a stinking swamp in your own right-wing backyard! With such a special brand of hard-hitting journalism infused with ignorant distrust, rhetorical soapboxing, fake fiscal austerity concerns, and lizard-brain thinking…Twitter could even offer you a show.

  2. Anne, Thank you for your work on this serious issue.

    Mesa County has long suffered a devastating number of suicide attempts and deaths each year.

    The commenter is likely ignorant of state licensed mental health providers’ legal and ethical responsibilities, and further appears to be uninformed about the national recommendations on safe messaging. I’ll leave a couple of education resources here.

    Provider negligence can result in fines and incarceration.

    Colorado office of suicide prevention 2022 report

    Regarding media responsibilities

    Regarding commonly accepted wording

  3. Sounds like a lot of hearsay…especially the alleged complaints from St. Mary’s and the cops. Where is the documentation of the complaints from them?

    Also…a copy of the “sanction” from the state of Colorado?
    There should be a record of that somewhere.

    And apparently Lisa is responsible for three people committing (completing???) suicide.
    That seems like a big stretch. If she didn’t have the proper license/training…why was hired?

    you have no proof that Lisa has anything to do with the situation Kuhr is in.

    • Can you say, “I was wrong”, Alice? Or are you above that? Why would they hire her? Have you never heard of people lying on their resume? Just ask Santos.

    • Jeez
      She was sanctioned by the state. Do you have any idea what DORA is or how it works? If not then look it up. The website is pretty straightforward.

  4. Roland is a broken record of constantly spreading lies about others who are the wrong color or of the wrong political party.
    She needs to look at herself first, before creating falsehoods & hardship upon qualified professionals & others whom she dislikes. she been heard to say that she takes great pleasure in kicking ass of her enemies.

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