SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Internal Affairs Unit of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) / Community Care Licensing Health Department (CCLD) has launched an administrative investigation into misconduct by CCLD officials during a January 10, 2017 site visit to a children's recovery home, an adolescent mental health treatment center operated by Sovereign Health, a national behavioral health system. The investigation was launched in response to a complaint submitted by Sovereign to CDSS Director, Will Lightbourne.
The complaint details the outrageous conduct of CCLD staff who brought an armed, unnamed individual to the facility that houses children recovering from trauma. The gun wielding individual, who wore no badge or other form of identification and refused to give his name, stalked the grounds of the facility openly carrying a firearm. During the visit, CCLD Licensing Program Manager, Shelly Grace and Licensing Program Analyst, Marisol Lopez, refused to name the armed intruder and stood by as he bullied the staff and belligerently ordered the facility's Medical Director into a room while refusing to allow the Facility Administrator to enter.
In the complaint, board member Seth Zajac protested that: "The children's recovery home is a sanctuary for children with mental illness and for children recovering from trauma." Mr. Zajac went on to say: "These actions by CCLD's staff are despicable. It was dangerous. Sending a gun wielding individual to the children's recovery home in civilian clothing who refused to identify himself interferes with our staff's ability to identify a potential active shooter. And it was illegal: Health and Safety Code Section 1533 requires staff to properly identify themselves before entering the licensed children's recovery home."
The blatant, ethical, procedural and legal violations didn't end with the site visit. The complaint also reveals that Ms. Grace and Ms. Lopez intentionally falsified the required site visit reporting documents by deliberately omitting any mention of the armed individual in their official site report. CCLD's actions stand in stark contrast to the fact that the children's recovery center has long maintained Gold Seal accreditation from the Joint Commission, the nation's oldest and most respected healthcare accrediting body.
These recent incidents and CCLD's history of licensing irregularities have compelled Sovereign Health to call for an independent investigation by the California State Senate. Licensing irregularities were the foundation of another State Senate investigation. In 2012, the California Senate published a report: Rogue Rehabs: State failed to police drug and alcohol homes, with deadly results. Sovereign Health says it is high time for the Senate to investigate CCLD's "rogue regulators."
In its call for action, Sovereign Health has asked the State Senate to protect the people of California by holding CCLD accountable for its egregious behavior and correct a licensing process that is corrupt and out-of-control. And as Mr. Zajac stated in Sovereign Health's complaint, CCLD's actions serve as a prime example of what needs to change. "This disgusting conduct was entirely unnecessary, unprecedented and unlawful. This disgusting conduct must never happen again."
About Sovereign Health
Sovereign Health's mission is to provide a broad spectrum of high-quality behavioral health treatment services for adults and adolescents, including support services for family members. One factor that differentiates Sovereign from other treatment providers has been the company's ability to offer separate mental health and addiction or dual diagnosis treatment programs at its facilities. For more information, visit www.sovhealth.com.
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SOURCE Sovereign Health