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Concerns and questions surround ‘surprise’ inspections at mental health facility

Concerns and questions surround ‘surprise’ inspections at mental health facility

JOHNSTOWN Colo. — The credibility and integrity of state inspections are being introduced into query following testimony from former workers and sufferers at a Colorado psychological well being facility north of Denver, who declare the state pronounces their inspections previous to displaying up.

One former psychological well being technician at Johnstown Heights Behavioral Well being says regulators on the state degree are overlooking severe security issues contained in the 92-bed facility. His misery facilities round what he witnessed contained in the hospital, after being assaulted twice.

“I consider it’s not a secure place for sufferers or workers,” he mentioned. “I used to be assaulted twice … the second time I used to be assaulted I used to be despatched to the hospital.”

The previous psychological well being technician tells Denver7 Investigates, staffing was low on the day of his assault. He now questions the efficiency of state regulators, paid by tax-payers, to verify psychological well being services are safe, secure, and correctly staffed.

He says Johnstown Heights is given days to organize for what must be shock inspections, per state code.

“I really feel like if it had been a shock there would have been much more points they discovered throughout the facility, “ he mentioned.

Different former workers and sufferers share the identical issues, telling Denver7 Investigates, the state’s oversight is being missed.

“Every time they’d state are available they might workers up,” one former nurse mentioned. “They’d name folks in and say, it’s all fingers on deck. Everyone’s obtained to be right here. So it appeared to the state that we had been absolutely staffed.”

One other former worker says due to the pre-announced inspections, senior leaders at Johnstown Heights had the chance to muffle the message to the state.

“I do know the state has gone in loads of occasions to speak to folks, however no one can truly say the reality as a result of any person is at all times hovering. Somebody is at all times listening,” she mentioned.


A former affected person tells Denver7 Investigates, she didn’t obtain the assistance she wanted at Johnstown Heights, calling the ability unsafe. She says state regulators have to take a more in-depth look.

“I believe they positively have to take a more in-depth look and dig a bit of deeper,” she mentioned. “With a spot like this, with as many complaints as they’ve had and the problems that they’re displaying, they need to not announce visits. They need to be popping in randomly.”

Nonetheless, state regulation lays out inspection finest practices, highlighting, “The licensee shall present correct and truthful data to the Division throughout inspections, investigations, and licensing actions.”

“I really feel if it had been a shock there would have been much more points they discovered throughout the facility,” the previous psychological well being technician mentioned. “As a result of when you have got the time to organize for one thing like that you’re going to cowl your tracks and so they’re not going to search out what is absolutely occurring there.”

November 2022, Christopher Dickson died within the detox unit at Johnstown Heights. A state inspection 9 days after his demise discovered at the very least ten deficiencies, and declared the hospital in “quick jeopardy.” Instant Jeopardy is the state’s most severe designation for a psychological well being hospital.

One portion of the state’s November report famous the shortage of consideration to Dickson, regardless of his situation at occasions requiring hourly checks. He had not been checked for eight hours earlier than his demise, in line with the report.

“I’m not shocked they discovered the whole lot I believed they’d discover… insufficient staffing, insufficient security measures,” mentioned BJ Potts, a veteran nurse who resigned from Johnstown Heights two weeks earlier than Dickson’s demise after being assaulted by sufferers.

Considerations and questions encompass ‘shock’ state inspections at Colorado psychological well being facility

Since Johnstown Heights opened in 2021, state data present 29 inspections producing 28 citations. However workers and sufferers say by asserting visits, state inspectors will not be seeing the true image.

“I hope that [state regulators] rethink how they run issues and that they’re extra thorough and pay extra consideration to the issues they appear to miss,” the previous psychological well being technician mentioned.

“Cease this from occurring to anyone else. No one else ought to lose their life being there. No one ought to really feel lower than a human being held there,” the previous affected person mentioned.

A second quick jeopardy was declared on the hospital in April. The latest report by the state cites the ability’s failure to maintain sufferers secure.

The inspection particulars an incident the place a number of workers, together with senior-level managers, carried a affected person out of the ability by her legs and arms and dumped her into the parking zone. That affected person was being handled due to suicide threats.

Elaine McManis is the director of services contained in the Colorado Division of Public Well being and Surroundings, the state company liable for inspections. She wouldn’t reply to an on-camera, in-person interview with Denver7 Investigates. As an alternative, the state responded through e-mail, pointing to present procedures which state they usually conduct unannounced inspections.

Johnstown Heights CEO Sean Peterson didn’t return a number of cellphone calls looking for remark.

Clear View Investigation

1:02 PM, Jun 18, 2019



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