Author Topic: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility  (Read 5952 times)

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Offline hurrikayne

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State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
« on: September 06, 2008, 04:30:22 PM »
State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
Lower Hudson Journal news, NY - Sep 4, 2008

SOUTHEAST - The state Office of Mental Health has revoked the operating licenses of a private mental-health facility that treats young adults at two residential centers in Southeast, ruling that the facility failed to correct repeated violations and that its owner and clinical director lied at an administrative hearing.

The ruling against SLS Residential Inc., a for-profit company, was issued Aug. 29. It revokes three operating certificates that SLS uses to run the treatment centers at two stately homes on North Brewster Road and off Putnam Avenue.

"SLS lacks the requisite character and competence to operate a program licensed by OMH," the ruling said.

It was sent to Alfred Bergman, chief executive officer of SLS, and Joseph Santoro, a psychologist who is its chief operating officer. They did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.

SLS received the letter Tuesday and has 10 days from then to request an administrative hearing before the OMH to appeal the revocations. As of yesterday, SLS had not requested a hearing.

"It should be noted that OMH has worked assiduously in an attempt to assist SLS programs in achieving regulatory compliance by providing continuous feedback and technical assistance, but at this time OMH has no alternative but to revoke the above-referenced operating certificates," Joan M. Halpin of OMH wrote in the ruling.

OMH spokeswoman Jill Daniels said the agency rarely revokes operating certificates.

"It's not unprecedented, but it doesn't happen all that often," she said.

The ruling is the latest blow against SLS, also known as Supervised LifeStyles Inc., which operates out of offices in a plaza at Route 6 and Drewville Road.

The Office of Mental Health fined SLS $80,000 in November 2006 for eight violations that inspectors found during unannounced visits to the residential centers. A return visit Nov. 28, 2006, resulted in $30,000 more in fines for additional violations.

Among the violations state inspectors alleged were that SLS used illegal restraints on its patients long after it was told not to, that it administered sedatives to patients when they refused to take their medications and over their objections, and then hid the practice from the state, and that it failed to report troubling incidents to the state, including patients behaving suicidally and complaining of abuse by staff members.

SLS hired one of the nation's largest law firms, Proskauer Rose, and fought the findings in a hearing that began in July 2007 and continued over 20 days through September 2007. Most such hearings last a week or less.

When state OMH Commissioner Michael F. Hogan in July adopted the hearing officer's decision to uphold the fines, SLS appealed in court. That case is pending.

Reasons cited for the revocations include that SLS continues to use physical restraints on patients and that SLS officials either misled or lied to state officials.

"SLS owner, Dr. Joseph Santoro, and its clinical director, Dr. Shawn Pritchard, testified falsely in several instances at the administrative hearing," Halpin, a registered nurse, wrote in her ruling.

Santoro testified that an SLS patient, Evan Marshall, was not receiving services from SLS in August 2006 while on a weekend pass to his mother's Long Island home. During that visit, Marshall killed one of his mother's Glen Cove neighbors and drove around with the woman's severed head. Marshall, 32, is serving 29 years to life.

"Dr. Santoro testified that (Marshall) was not receiving licensed services from SLS at the time he committed a homicide, yet documents show that he was, in fact, receiving services from the SLS clinic until the time he was discharged because he was jailed for the homicide," the ruling said.

The state also determined that Santoro ordered SLS workers to shred internal documents after OMH inspectors reviewed the documents and found several violations. The ruling also says Santoro testified that patients who wanted to leave SLS were not held against their will.

"OMH staff have continued to receive phone calls from former SLS residents who allege that they were required to stay at SLS even after asking to leave," the ruling said.

If SLS does not appeal the ruling, the OMH decision will be considered final and SLS will have to surrender its operating certificates. The state would give SLS three months to transfer its clients to other facilities.

The violations for which the state fined SLS are similar to complaints that two New Jersey residents and former SLS patients made in a $225 million federal class-action lawsuit filed last year against various companies affiliated with SLS. Nicholas J. Romano and Deborah A. Morgan, both in their 20s, allege they were physically and emotionally abused while patients there. The lawsuit, filed by attorney Michael Sussman of Goshen, is pending in federal court in White Plains. Sussman could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Glen Feinberg, a Pleasantville lawyer who went to court to win the right to protest outside SLS sites over the poor treatment he thought his son got there in 2001 and 2002, said he was ecstatic with the OMH decision.

"It's a tremendous relief to know that the years of abuse at SLS is coming to an end," Feinberg said. "OMH has worked patiently with SLS to bring them into compliance with the law and basic human decency, and SLS has proven it is not capable of either. I commend the OMH for its diligence and hard work. I only hope that the Office of the [Professions], which regulates the licenses of people who run and work at SLS, take this report as seriously as the OMH has."

http://http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080905/NEWS01/809050412/-1/newsfront
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Offline Troll Control

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Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2008, 10:28:25 AM »
This is astounding.  This program was operating right under my nose almost literally.  I had no idea it even existed.  Talk about a "media blackout" - this isn't even a blip on the radar.

On the flip side, I'm glad they're being shut down.  I can only hope that prosecutions are pursued for the false ststements to investigators and that the principals get what's coming to them.

I'm just really, really surprised that in a populated, wealthy area like this (Putnam county is sandwiched between Westchester Co, NY and Fairfiled Co, CT)these scumbags were able to fly under the radar for so long.  Usually the "not in my backyard" well-to-do locals would stop this kind of private prison in its tracks.  I suppose they misled the planning board as well.
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Offline TheWho

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Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2008, 08:52:38 PM »
None of this is new, I have bit my tongue long enough.  We have worked with them for several years and it pisses me off that SLS was allowed to use ERP therapy as a treatment for drug and alcohol addiction for this length of time in light of the continuous problems.  Santoro wrote a book “Kill the craving” I think it was called, in 2001.  They subsequently produced an outcome study which basically showed there was no evidence that ERP was effective and even went as far as to suggest that a controlled study should be done?  This indicates to all of us that the outcome study was “retrospective” and/or “uncontrolled” (basically garbage).  Santoro had 7 years to produce results and all he could conclude is that it “Appears” to work?  And less than 20 people in the world are trained in ERP in 7 years (almost all of them SLS employees) and still holds onto the thought that ERP is a breakthrough treatment and recognized world wide.  People that write a book and base their life and careers on that same book should not be given unharnessed control over outcome studies and administration control over treatment.  There should be independent agencies/people to oversee and help balance the perspective.

Santoro and Bergman are professionals that should know better than to lie to the state board in an attempt to cover for a faulty treatment and going against direct orders of the OMH.  I know the revocation of their license goes way beyond just the use of ERP, but practices like these give the entire industry a bad name.

They deserve what they get.



...
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Offline psy

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Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2008, 04:48:14 AM »
Quote from: "TheWho"
We have worked with them for several years

Who is "We", mister "just a parent"?
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Offline TheWho

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Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2008, 09:17:55 AM »
Quote from: "psy"
Quote from: "TheWho"
We have worked with them for several years

Who is "We", mister "just a parent"?

Yes, just a parent.  About a third the way down the article it says:

"It should be noted that OMH has worked assiduously in an attempt to assist SLS programs in achieving regulatory compliance by providing continuous feedback and technical assistance, but at this time OMH has no alternative but to revoke the above-referenced operating certificates," Joan M. Halpin of OMH wrote in the ruling.

We being, us, the people, the state etc.  Here are some other uses:



The editorial we:  in newspapers and similar commentators in other media refer to themselves as we when giving their opinions.

scientific literature of referring to a generic third person by we:
By adding three and five, we obtain eight

The patronizing we is sometimes used in addressing instead of "you". A doctor may ask a patient: And how are we feeling today?

We mean to stop your evil plans!

Etc.




...
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Offline Anonymous

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Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2008, 11:42:44 AM »
Using the royal "we" is a stupid troll trick used to imply the troll is the voice of many, you are a singular oddity.  "WE ARE LEGION', blah, blah, blah.  He's the voice of the industry.  The who has always used the same explanation for his troll "we".  The simple truth is that the who is a pathetic shill and a vacant cunt.
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Offline TheWho

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Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2008, 02:30:39 PM »
Quote from: "We the Troll"
Using the royal "we" is a stupid troll trick used to imply the troll is the voice of many, you are a singular oddity.  "WE ARE LEGION', blah, blah, blah.  He's the voice of the industry.  The who has always used the same explanation for his troll "we".  The simple truth is that the who is a pathetic shill and a vacant cunt.

Boo Hoo Hoo, someone disagrees with me so they must be a troll or work for the industry.  I was forced to stay in my room and study until my grades improved and eat healthy food, exercise, couldnt drink or do drugs for a whole year, the staff didnt even let me order out for pizza!!  How abusive.  None of this was my fault, it was all my parents.  I swear, they are lousy parents, who cares that my brothers and sisters turned out fine, went to college, they were just lucky and succeeded in spite of my parents lack of skills.  Why should my parents interfere if I wanted to drop out of school at 14 and sit around doing drugs all day watching tv or stay out all night when I felt like it.  Its my life isnt it?  I can throw it away if I want and live on assistence the rest of my life.  Smarten up people, drop out of school, blame your parents and any schools you went to for your screwed up life.  Get on federal assistence, screw up somemore and then blame the system and get yourself a section 8 status which will bring you more cash.  Life doesnt get much better!!  Work the system brother.
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Offline Anonymous

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Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2008, 03:06:05 PM »
Quote from: "Reverend Grape"
Quote from: "We the Troll"
Using the royal "we" is a stupid troll trick used to imply the troll is the voice of many, you are a singular oddity.  "WE ARE LEGION', blah, blah, blah.  He's the voice of the industry.  The who has always used the same explanation for his troll "we".  The simple truth is that the who is a pathetic shill and a vacant cunt.

Boo Hoo Hoo, someone disagrees with me so they must be a troll or work for the industry.  I was forced to stay in my room and study until my grades improved and eat healthy food, exercise, couldnt drink or do drugs for a whole year, the staff didnt even let me order out for pizza!!  How abusive.  None of this was my fault, it was all my parents.  I swear, they are lousy parents, who cares that my brothers and sisters turned out fine, went to college, they were just lucky and succeeded in spite of my parents lack of skills.  Why should my parents interfere if I wanted to drop out of school at 14 and sit around doing drugs all day watching tv or stay out all night when I felt like it.  Its my life isnt it?  I can throw it away if I want and live on assistence the rest of my life.  Smarten up people, drop out of school, blame your parents and any schools you went to for your screwed up life.  Get on federal assistence, screw up somemore and then blame the system and get yourself a section 8 status which will bring you more cash.  Life doesnt get much better!!  Work the system brother.

We think you're a douche nozzle.

Is grape your favorite KoolAid flavor?
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Offline Anonymous

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More SLS Articles
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2008, 10:22:37 AM »
Reprehensible Actions
http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article? ... /newsfront

SLS Residential Inc., which runs residential treatment centers for young adults with psychiatric problems, operates two facilities in well-manicured, stately old Victorian homes in Brewster. From the outside, SLS properties look as if they belong to the ideal neighbor, but whatever went on behind those crisp facades is starting to sound like a Stephen King novel.

It was bad enough when SLS was accused of violating their patients' rights in a variety of demeaning ways, from using illegal restraints and physical holds, opening personal packages, conducting body and room searches, and forcing patients to submit urine samples while a staff member watched. This humiliating list of findings against SLS was upheld in June by the state commissioner of the Office of Mental Health, who heard an appeal of the charges and ordered the company to pay $110,000.
Advertisement

But now a federal court judge in White Plains, hearing testimony in pre-trial hearings for a separate $225 million class-action suit brought against SLS by former patients, says that the for-profit health-care company did something unthinkable. Some therapists from SLS called their former patients and their families, and tried to prevent them from joining the lawsuit, according to the court. The therapists - whom the patients presumably turned to in their weakest moments, revealing their intimate thoughts and feelings - threatened that if the patients joined the suit against SLS, their medical records, including their troubled mental-health histories, would be made public in open court.

Such coercion is beyond unethical for therapists who, after all, are duty-bound to protect their patients, not their employers. It is manipulative, cynical and downright predatory.

As Journal News staff writer Terence Corcoran reported Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Stephen C. Robinson said that no medical histories would be discussed in the trial, which was brought by two patients who chose to identify themselves, and many unnamed patients. "I have no doubt that inappropriate action took place here,'' the judge said, before demanding that SLS produce a list of every patient and family member called, as well as the names of those who made the calls and those who ordered the calls to be made.

If the tale unfolding in federal court now turns out to be half as bad as it sounds at this juncture, the Office of Mental Health should revoke SLS' license to operate. If found culpable, individuals working for SLS should be severely sanctioned. Any licensed therapists, psychologists, social workers or medical personnel found to have participated in the scheme should be investigated by the state Education Department, which licenses them.



"Federal Judge Blasts Putnam treatment Facility"
http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article? ... /newsfront

A federal judge yesterday blasted representatives of a for-profit mental-health company that treats young adults with psychiatric problems at two Putnam County facilities for lobbying former patients to opt out of a multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuit brought against the company.

U.S. District Judge Stephen C. Robinson in White Plains said the actions by representatives of SLS, which runs two residential treatment centers in Southeast, might be the "most outrageous conduct" he's ever witnessed as a judge.
Advertisement

Therapists from SLS contacted former patients who qualify for the class action and told them that if they didn't opt out, their medical records could be made public and discussed in open court. The patients had been sent a letter by the court, advising them that they needed to respond by next Monday to opt out.

Robinson said there was nothing to indicate that medical records would be revealed or individuals identified during a trial.

Family members of the patients were also called, and, in one case, an SLS representative contacted an attorney with Connecticut Legal Services to urge that clients who were treated at SLS opt out of the action.

"I have no doubt that inappropriate action took place here," Robinson said. "There's no question."

SLS began making the calls after the court sent the letters.

Goshen, N.Y., attorney Michael Sussman filed the class-action lawsuit last year against several companies affiliated with SLS, the principals of those companies and several employees. The defendants include SLS Residential Inc., SLS Health, SLS Wellness, Supervised Lifestyles Inc., Chairmen Alfred Bergman and Joseph Santoro, a psychologist and several SLS employees. The company has its headquarters on Route 6 in Southeast.

Sussman filed the lawsuit on behalf of former SLS patients Nicholas J. Romano and Deborah A. Morgan, both of New Jersey, and many unnamed patients. Romano and Morgan, in their mid-20s, allege that SLS violated their rights and others' rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The lawsuit seeks $75 million in compensatory damages, $150 million in punitive damages and an injunction to bar SLS from further violating patients' rights.

Sussman said he had heard from at least five potential plaintiffs who received calls from SLS.

Mark Lombardo, a psychologist at SLS, which runs residential treatment centers on North Brewster Road and off Putnam Avenue in Southeast, told Robinson that he and other therapists were given a list by a supervisor of patients to call who qualified for the class-action suit and their families.

Lombardo said that none of the therapists had legal training and that no lawyers were present when the supervisor ordered them to make the calls. He said that patients and family members were not told they could possibly benefit from joining the lawsuit. He said people who had problems with SLS were not called.

Robinson ordered SLS attorney Paul Callan of Manhattan to bring a list of every patient and family member SLS contacted, the time of the call, the person who called, and the person who gave the instructions to call. Robinson ordered that all who made the calls appear in court.

He noted that several former patients who had contacted Sussman to complain about the calls were not on the list provided by Callan. He called Callan's responses to his questions "misleading, deceptive and troubling to this court."

Callan took umbrage, saying that no one had questioned his ethics in his 35-year law career.

"Mark the date on your calendar," Robinson responded. "July 8, 2008. Mark it."

Robinson later ordered that new letters be sent to those who opted out, and those who didn't, after Monday's deadline. Those who opted out will also get a letter from SLS in which the company will explain the misinformation it gave patients and families in the phone calls.

In addition, Robinson said he would order SLS to pay any legal fees Sussman incurred in bringing the calls to the court's attention and would consider a financial sanction against SLS and, possibly, Callan's firm, Callan, Koster, Brady & Brennan.

Robinson also issued an order barring SLS from discussing the lawsuit with any current or former patients. The parties will return to court July 17.

Allegations in the lawsuit are similar to several violations for which the state Office of Mental Health fined SLS in 2006 after visiting its treatment centers. The state fined SLS $110,000 for eight violations that inspectors found during a visit on Nov. 17, 2006, and for three more violations found during a follow-up visit Nov. 28, 2006. Among the violations were that SLS used illegal restraints on patients and failed to conduct criminal background checks on new employees.

SLS fought the allegations in a hearing in the summer of 2007 before the state Office of Mental Health. A hearing officer found that SLS violated patients' rights on several occasions and broke the law. Then, last month, OMH Commissioner Michael F. Hogan upheld the state hearing officer's findings. However, SLS has yet to pay the fine and can still appeal in court.

Actual Revocation Order:
http://www.heal-online.org/slsshutdown.pdf
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Offline Anonymous

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Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2008, 10:50:38 AM »
This matter has received a dozen front page articles since the beginning and has not been a media blackout.  As for these anonymous posters above me - this is what former SLS patients had to deal with by staff.  Antagonistic and abusive.  Good riddance to all of you people who abuse the weak and vulnerable.
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Offline Anonymous

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Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2008, 10:54:22 AM »
The ERP therapy that SLS tried to market for years is actually responsible for the relapse of many SLS patients.  One thing that has not been mentioned often enough is that SLS Clinical Director Shawn Prichard had a program called the "mediation program" that was used for patients moving to the final phase of the program.  It was a signed contract between Prichard, Deletis (the ERP creator) and the stating SLS would permit them to use their drug of choice if they fulfilled each weekly obligation (work/school, budget, groups, etc).  

This tactic was employed to allow these patients - who are about to finally get back out to the community - to relapse and "need"  SLS services and ERP ALL OVER AGAIN.  Can we say terrible money making practice?
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Offline Ursus

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Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2008, 12:27:08 PM »
Quote from: "Dysfunction Junction"
This is astounding.  This program was operating right under my nose almost literally.  I had no idea it even existed.  Talk about a "media blackout" - this isn't even a blip on the radar.

On the flip side, I'm glad they're being shut down.  I can only hope that prosecutions are pursued for the false ststements to investigators and that the principals get what's coming to them.

I'm just really, really surprised that in a populated, wealthy area like this (Putnam county is sandwiched between Westchester Co, NY and Fairfiled Co, CT)these scumbags were able to fly under the radar for so long.  Usually the "not in my backyard" well-to-do locals would stop this kind of private prison in its tracks.  I suppose they misled the planning board as well.

LoHud has been pretty good about reporting on this place, but the readership is mostly Putnam and Westchester counties, not national.

People also do not know how to categorize this place. Client population is both adolescent and young adult. People more focused on adolescent concerns think it should/will be taken care of by those overseeing adult facilities. Likewise the other way around. In fact, a comment to that effect was even posted when this place was first aired as a thread subject on fornits last September:  
    SLS in Brewster, NY?
    viewtopic.php?f=14&t=23220[/list]
    HEAL has known about them for awhile, and has them described on the same page as Benchmark.

    They were mentioned in this thread:
      CARF/PFC/STRAIGHT Connections...
      viewtopic.php?f=7&t=24413[/list]
      Due to the lack of traffic on the New Info Forum, I had started a thread in the TTI, mostly based on the blog that Say-It-Ain't-So-Joe runs, but that was lost with the March-May-June DB loss we suffered earlier this year.

      The only other thread (than the current one) subsequent to that DB wipeout is the other one Hurrikayne posted recently:
        Federal judge blasts Putnam treatment facility
        viewtopic.php?f=49&t=25598[/list]
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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        Offline Troll Control

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        Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
        « Reply #12 on: September 22, 2008, 02:58:28 PM »
        Thanks for the info, Ursus.  The "LoHud" must have a tiny readership because I have lived here almost my whole life and never heard of it.  It has got to be smaller than the Poughkeepsie Journal which is a relatively small paper that covers most of the lower Hudson Valley.

        Anyway, I'm glad that the information is public and I am outraged over the conduct of SLS and sincerely hope the principals will get what's rightfully coming to them.
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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        Offline Ursus

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        Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
        « Reply #13 on: September 22, 2008, 03:55:29 PM »
        LoHud stands for the Lower Hudson region of the New York Journal Times (Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties). I may be wrong about this, but I suspect that the major venue of access is via the internet, and not via paper or subscription access. It has a forum attached, and some of the readership can get quite involved "discussing" the news.

        http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage

        I think that region "hides" facilities/programs quite well as long as they are small enough. You've probably driven right past SLS if you were ever in Brewster, and didn't even know it. It is housed in a small number of Victorian houses that are an integral part of that landscape.

        Two other programs in that general area are Green Chimneys (special needs and special behaviors) and New Hope Manor (adolescent girls on the wayward path), although the latter may well no longer be in existence.
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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        Offline Anonymous

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        Re: State revokes licenses of Putnam mental-health facility
        « Reply #14 on: September 24, 2008, 12:23:57 PM »
        Their is also another program that is the exact same type of format as SLS called Search For Change.  They have the same types of OMH licensing as SLS yet they have no problem staying within compliance of the laws and treating patients appropriately.  SLS even sells it's Sigmund software to Search For Change so you have to wonder why they haven't sat down with the owners of that facility and asked how they can treat people without violating civil rights or using abusive practices.
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »