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Dispute over court order escalates between state and Flint hospital

McClaren hospital sign.
courtesy of Signs by Crannie
McClaren hospital is caught in the middle of a fight between Michigan's Attorney General and the Governor.

A dispute between Michigan’s governor and attorney general is spilling over into institutions charged with protecting public health.

The state Department of Health and Human Services issued a press release yesterday saying there’s a seventh case of Legionnaire's disease in Genesee County. But it added it can’t say much more because it’s blocked by a court order from learning more.

From the release:

At this time, the MDHHS does not have additional information about the case, including whether or not it is healthcare-associated, as MDHHS is prohibited from fully investigating Legionella cases in Genesee County by a protective order.

The court order was sought by the Attorney General’s office, which is investigating possible criminal wrongdoing by state employees in the Flint water crisis.

The MDHHS press release pointedly singles out McLaren Hospital.    

Governor Snyder’s spokesman Ari Adler posted on his Facebook page, this report should be a “heads up for anyone who might consider going to McLaren Hospital in Flint.”

"We have no way of knowing if they are handling this situation correctly due to actions by the attorney general that are prohibiting state employees from performing their legally required duties."

Meanwhile, Mlive's Ron Fonger reports that in a filing with the Michigan Court of Appeals, an attorney for the Flint hospital claimed “crimes were committed” by state employees in previous Legionnaire's outbreaks. 

That’s the reasoning behind the court order before the appeals court blocking state health officials from interacting with McLaren and Genesee County health officials in the first place.

The Michigan Court of Appeals is expected to act soon on the Snyder administration’s request to weigh in on the court order.  

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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