State intends to deny license for Gladstone teen mental health f - KPTV - FOX 12

State intends to deny license for Gladstone teen mental health facility featured in FOX 12 investigation

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GLADSTONE, OR (KPTV) -

The Department of Human Services has notified a Gladstone mental health treatment center of its intent to deny the facility’s application for renewal of its license.

Earlier this month, the agency conducted an investigation into safety concerns at Northwest Behavioral Healthcare Services, which provides treatment for teens and adolescents.

According to documents provided to FOX 12, investigators found evidence that staff at the facility used drugs, or “chemical restraints,” to sedate patients who were behaving erratically.  The use of drugs in this way runs counter to state guidelines, the agency said.

In its report, DHS cited one specific instance in which a child was reportedly injected with an antipsychotic medication that was not prescribed to that child, and was not part of the child’s treatment plan.

In addition, investigators found staff at the facility failed to comply with state suicide protocols and failed to properly address suicidal behavior and self-harm.

Children were also placed in seclusion as a form of punishment for up to two days at a time, the agency said.

MORE: NW mental health center for teens, adolescents under investigation for safety violations

The agency also found the facility’s former director, Dan Mahler, whom DHS asked to step down in August because of a felony tax fraud conviction, continued to run the day-to-day operations from August until early November.

Earlier this month, the Oregon Health Authority suspended the facility’s license to provide alcohol and drug treatment.

According to the notice provided by DHS, Northwest Behavioral Healthcare Services’ license renewal is pending.

The facility has the right to request a contested case hearing within 30 days of the notice.

Until that time, the facility can continue to operate, but can no longer admit new patients.

MORE: State pulls license from Gladstone teen mental health facility at center of FOX 12 investigation

Staff members are also not permitted to use chemical restraints and must notify DHS within 24 hours if a patient is placed in seclusion.

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