North Central Health Care is investigating an anonymous but potentially damaging letter sent to Marathon County board members prior to their critical vote on the county’s future relationship with the agency.

The letter, apparently from a disgruntled employee, accuses leadership in NCHC’s crisis intervention department of “creating an environment of dislike and distrust toward law enforcement.” It also accuses crisis intervention leaders of shopping and planning vacations on the job while patients needed help, and firing an employee who complained.

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Interim CEO Michael Loy says NCHC is investigating the complaint and forwarding some of the information to the state to conduct its own investigation. The accusations, if true, are troubling, Loy says, but also surprising because NCHC has anonymous hotlines where tips can be reported directly to the state. Loy wondered why the letter was given to the county board instead.

County Administrator Brad Karger says he’s committed to setting up NCHC for success, and that the accusations “make matters more difficult.” His administration is tasked with negotiating a new agreement with NCHC to bring better communication and accountability.