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News Items / Dark Side of Bain
« on: July 20, 2012, 05:56:45 AM » ... singleton/

Dark side of a Bain success

WEDNESDAY, JUL 18, 2012 07:45 AM EDT

A for-profit health company bought by Bain -- that Romney profits from -- has exploded in size and tales of neglect


It seemed a world away from the executive suites of Bain Capital when Dana Blum, a recent widow living in Portland, Ore., made the fateful decision to send her son Brendan to Youth Care, a residential program for troubled teens located in the suburbs of Salt Lake City.

Brendan, a 14-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, had been extremely aggressive for years; he was even arrested a few times after attacking members of his family. Local therapists hadn’t helped, and six months after her husband died, Dana was frantically casting about for solutions. A consultation with UCLA’s neuropsychiatric unit convinced her that Youth Care’s therapeutic and educational program would finally make a difference.

Four months into his stay there, Brendan had earned a reputation as a temper-prone student who tried to shirk his obligations. So on the afternoon of June 27, when he complained to medical staff that he felt very sick, as if something were “crawling around” in his stomach, his concerns were dismissed. After 11 p.m., he woke up, complaining of stomach pain, and defecated in his pants. The on-duty monitors took him to the Purple Room, a makeshift isolation room used to segregate misbehaving students. There, he suffered a long night of agony, howling in pain and repeatedly vomiting and soiling himself. According to court transcripts and police reports, the two poorly paid monitors on duty did little more than offer him water, Sprite and Pepto-Bismol. They never telephoned the on-call nurse and waited until nearly 2 a.m. to contact the on-call supervisor, only to leave a voicemail. There was little else they felt they could do — Youth Care’s protocol on emergency services meant they were too low on the totem pole to call 911 themselves.

“They didn’t trust our judgment in emergency situations,” explains Josh Randall, a former Youth Care residential monitor, who wasn’t on duty that night. “If you’re working for $9.50 an hour on the graveyard shift, you don’t want to buck the system.” At any rate, the monitors had little expertise in how to respond — it was an entry-level job requiring only a GED, plus a CPR and safety course overseen by Youth Care itself.

When the morning staff arrived at 7 a.m., they discovered Brendan facedown on the floor of the Purple Room, his body already stiff with rigor mortis. The state’s chief medical examiner later determined that Blum had died of a twisted-bowel infarction, which requires emergency surgical intervention.

“It made me very angry that they couldn’t provide better emergency services for my son,” Dana Blum told the online magazine Momlogic. “I feel like he was murdered” — although, in fact, no court has ever found Aspen or its staffers guilty of murder. Blum, who, with the help of insurance and school district aid, paid Youth Care $15,000 a month to care for her son, made those remarks in 2009; she can no longer speak publicly about Brendan’s death, according to the terms of a settlement she reached last year in a wrongful death lawsuit against Youth Care and its parent company, Aspen Education.

The failure at Youth Care was not due simply to the carelessness of a few workers — a point underscored when a Utah court found that the threshold needed to pursue criminal negligence charges against the two monitors in 2008 wasn’t met and the charges were dismissed. And it wasn’t the only example of alleged negligence or abuse at treatment centers for adult addicts and “troubled teens” that are owned by Aspen’s parent company, CRC Health Group, according to a Salon investigation based on government reports, court filings and official complaints by parents and employees, along with interviews with former clients and staff.

Our investigation found previously unreported allegations of abuse and neglect in at least 10 CRC residential drug and teen care facilities across the country, including three I visited undercover in Utah and California. With rare exceptions, such incidents have largely escaped notice because the programs are, thanks to lax state regulations, largely unaccountable.

Court documents and ex-staffers also allege that such incidents reflect, in part, a broader corporate culture at Aspen’s owner, CRC Health Group, a leading national chain of treatment centers. Lawsuits and critics have claimed that CRC prizes profits, and the avoidance of outside scrutiny, over the health and safety of its clients. (We sent specific questions on these basic allegations to CRC and owner Bain Capital. CRC would answer only general questions; Bain did not reply.)

And CRC’s corporate culture, in turn, reflects the attitudes and financial imperatives of Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney. (The Romney campaign also did not reply to written questions.) Bain is known for its relentless obsession with maximizing shareholder value and revenues. Indeed, this has become a talking point of late on the Romney campaign trail; he bragged to Fox in late May that “80 percent of them [Bain investments] grew their revenues.” CRC, a fast-growing company then in the lucrative field of drug treatment, was perhaps a natural fit when Bain acquired it for $720 million in 2006. In conversations with staff and patients who spent time at CRC facilities since the takeover, there are suggestions that the Bain approach has had its effects. “If you look at their daily profit numbers compared to what they charge,” Dana Blum said of CRC’s Aspen division in 2009, “it’s obscene.” That point, ironically enough, was underscored by the glowing reports in the trade press about its profitability.

The purchase of CRC came seven years after Romney publicly announced his retirement as CEO of Bain Capital, where he had been in charge since its founding in 1984. But at the time of his departure, Romney worked out an arrangement to continue to share in Bain’s profits as a limited partner in the firm. Today, he is still an investor in 48 Bain accounts. Though he has refused to disclose their underlying assets, some information about them can be gleaned. For example, he has reported at least  $300,000 to $1.2 million, if not more,  in fluctuating annual earnings from Bain Capital VIII, the convoluted $3.5 billion array of related funds that owns both name-brand companies such as Dunkin’ Donuts and the lesser-known CRC Health Group. Most of these funds were made more attractive to privileged investors by being registered in the Cayman Islands tax haven. And Romney’s connections to CRC run even deeper: Of the three Bain managing partners who sit on CRC’s board, two, John Connaughton and Steven Barnes (with his wife), gave a total of half a million dollars to Restore Our Future, the super PAC supporting Romney. They also each donated the $2,500 maximum directly to his campaign.

Bain takes over

When Bain purchased CRC, it looked like an investment masterstroke. The company, founded in the mid-’90s with a single California treatment facility, the Camp Recovery Center, had quickly grown into the largest chain of for-profit drug and alcohol treatment services in the country, with $230 million in annual revenue. Under Bain’s guidance, its revenue has nearly doubled, to more than $450 million. CRC now serves 30,000 clients daily — mostly opiate addicts — at 140 facilities across 25 states. In the first five years after its acquisition, Bain had already extracted nearly $20 million in management-related fees from the chain, although Bain investors haven’t cashed in yet through dividends or an IPO.  Bain’s purchase, a leveraged buyout, also saddled CRC with massive debt of well over $600 million.

According to company executives and independent analysts, hands-on oversight of subsidiary companies is a hallmark of both Bain and CRC. Romney’s campaign literature boasts about Bain taking exactly this sort of direct role in helping to turn around failing companies. “Over the life of an investment, they have a strong management team willing to participate,” Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst with CRT Capital, a leading institutional brokerage firm, says of Bain.

The CRC acquisition immediately made Bain owner of the largest collection of addiction treatment facilities in the nation. Unlike some Bain Capital acquisitions, which led to massive layoffs, the company’s approach with CRC was to boost revenues by gobbling up other treatment centers, raising fees, and expanding its client base through slick, aggressive marketing, while keeping staffing and other costs relatively low. But that rapid pace of acquisition couldn’t be sustained in the mostly small-scale drug treatment industry alone. So Bain Capital and CRC set their sights on an entirely new treatment arena: the multibillion-dollar “troubled teen” industry, a burgeoning field of mostly locally owned residential schools and wilderness programs then serving, nationwide, about 100,000 kids facing addiction or emotional or behavioral problems.

One of CRC’s first acquisitions under Bain ownership was the Aspen Education Group. Founded in 1998 with about six schools, Aspen Education had expanded to 30 troubled-teen and weight-loss programs by 2006, including Youth Care of Utah. With Bain’s backing, CRC purchased Aspen for nearly $300 million in the fall of 2006.

Less than a year later, Brendan Blum was dead.

At the time of the CRC acquisition, Aspen already had a history of abuse allegations, including at least three lawsuits, and two known patient deaths, one by suicide. Featured on “Dr. Phil,” it grew out of schools inspired by the “tough-love” behavior-modification approach of the discredited Synanon program,  which was eventually exposed as a cult. By 2006, Aspen was facing a wrongful death lawsuit, later settled, over an incident in 2004 in which a 14-year-old boy, Matthew Meyer, perished from heat stroke just eight days into his stay at its Lone Star Expeditions wilderness camp in Texas. Nevertheless, less than a year after Meyer died, NBC’s “Dateline” extolled Lone Star as part of a puff piece on Aspen’s success with overweight teens. As an Aspen press release boasted, the show told how a rebellious student who did a stint at Lone Star “returned a month later with a new outlook on life.”

In October 2006, just nine months before Brendan Blum died and as Bain’s deal to purchase Aspen Education was being finalized, CRC received a far less upbeat assessment of Aspen’s services. Following some phone conversations, family therapist Elisabeth Feldman walked into CRC’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters to see Dr. Thomas Brady, a psychiatrist then serving as CRC’s chief medical officer, in order to confront him about a host of issues at Youth Care. She had stumbled upon the problems while trying to help her son’s former girlfriend, a teenage girl who had suffered what Feldman called  “gross mistreatment” at Youth Care. Of particular concern to Feldman was a three-month delay before Youth Care hired a psychiatrist to assess the young woman’s deep depression and a failure to treat her Lyme disease. Feldman’s ultimately unsuccessful crusade to get the woman released had led her to seek the services of a Salt Lake City lawyer, Thomas Burton, who had settled two lawsuits against Aspen Education for fraud, neglect and abuse.

Feldman had been part of Brady’s professional referral network for years, but this visit wasn’t congenial. Feldman presented Brady with a 100-page sheaf of legal and corporate documents — including her affidavit describing “brutish punishment and isolation” at Youth Care — about Aspen Education programs in order to help support her charges of abusive treatment and neglect. These claims included reportedly covering up the alleged sexual assault of a female student by an Aspen employee at Turn-About Ranch in Utah; the girl was later duct-taped and restrained by staff, a former employee, Toni Thayer, told Feldman, after writing complaints about abusive staff conduct to management, state regulators and the Garfield County sheriff in 2004 — but no sanctions followed. (Subsequently, a lawsuit filed in June 2012 charged that staffers at the ranch engaged in the “torture” of a 15-year-old girl in 2005.) According to Feldman, Brady said he wasn’t aware of any problems at Youth Care or Aspen Education and sought to mollify her about Bain’s pending purchase of Aspen: “I have to trust that Bain did their due diligence,” she recalls him saying. Dr. Brady confirmed, by email, that he spoke on the phone and met with Feldman, but said he has “no recollection” of making those remarks. And he insists that the documents she brought didn’t support her claims of mistreatment. Even so, he says he took her concerns seriously and that CRC and Aspen conducted a thorough review. “I came to the conclusion,” he said, “there was no merit to the accusations.” He remained as CRC’s medical director until May 2009 and said that although he encountered a few “untoward event” cases at Aspen during his time there, he saw no “pattern” of unsafe care.

At any rate, Bain’s purchase of Aspen Education went ahead smoothly. When, months later, Feldman learned about Blum’s death, she was horrified to realize her warnings had had no effect. “For Bain and the big guys, nobody cared,” she says. “It was all about the money.”

Questionable deaths

When he died, Brendan Blum’s was the first publicly reported death due to apparent neglect in CRC’s 12-year history. But in the six years since Bain Capital acquired the company, there have been at least five more seemingly preventable deaths of patients at CRC’s residential programs. Since the Bain takeover, critics and former employees charge that corporate attitudes have too often emphasized cutting costs and limiting public scrutiny at the expense of safety and quality of care. These tendencies appear to have produced risky, potentially life-threatening practices — only a handful of which have drawn public attention.

Several lawsuits have been filed against CRC over mistreatment of its clients, but the company has never acknowledged any wrongdoing and has kept confidential any damage payments arising from legal settlements. CRC is a significant player in the scandal-prone, decentralized field of residential teen treatment that has more than 1,000 scattered facilities; the firm has nearly 36 therapeutic schools, wilderness sites and weight-loss programs catering to youth.

The latest lawsuit over CRC’s current practices was filed in January against CRC’s prestigious $40,000-a-month Sierra Tucson drug treatment center in Arizona, for the allegedly poor monitoring and treatment of what the lawsuit says was an obviously suicidal 71-year-old patient, Dr. Edward Litwack; the center’s own staff had assessed him as a “high” risk for suicide, requiring one-on-one supervision. He was reported missing last August, but it took two weeks for the staff to find his corpse on the grounds. Last October, after an investigation by Arizona regulators following Litwack’s disappearance found 42 major violations, the center was put on one-year probation. The regulators found that ill-trained monitors spent too much time patrolling on golf carts rather than actually interacting with patients. CRC had purchased Sierra Tucson in 2005 for $130 million as its “crown jewel” shortly before plans to sell CRC to Bain were announced. “Then the business side started controlling admissions,” says a former employee, who worked at Sierra Tucson before and after the CRC acquisition. “It doesn’t take a brain scientist to realize that if you reduce staff [in key programs] and add sicker patients, there’s going to be trouble.” With the addition of a new 44-bed lodge in 2007, staff at Sierra Tucson was stretched thin, former staffers say; by 2009, a state licensing office fined the facility for having insufficient staff to prevent high-risk patients from wandering off.

Other incidents suggest a corporate culture that often downplayed safety and quality of care. In 2010, at least two drug treatment patients died at the overcrowded New Life Lodge in Burns, Tenn., according to wrongful death lawsuits and an investigative series in the Tennessean. According to an account in the Tennessean, based on public records and interviews with people at New Life Lodge, one of the patients, a 29-year-old mother named Lindsey Poteet, had come down with pneumonia and was drifting into unconsciousness when she was driven in a private van to a Nashville hospital 30 miles away. The journey was undertaken on orders of the facility’s medical director, although another hospital lay just eight miles down the road. Poteet stopped breathing en route and died the next day in Nashville. The other, Patrick Bryant, died on his 20th birthday just four days after being admitted to New Life; his mother alleges that he’d been misprescribed several medications and had been unresponsive for hours before being discovered by staff.

A third patient, 18-year-old Savon Kinney, died last October just days after leaving New Life in a state of disorientation, his sister told the newspaper; his death sparked a state investigation.

After the Tennessean series appeared last summer and fall, the state’s Department of Mental Health froze all new admissions to the facility. (It was finally allowed to admit a smaller number of new patients in early April.) One former patient, Malea Fox, who had befriended Poteet at New Life, told me that she called state Medicaid (also known as TennCare), the facility’s primary funder, to complain that the facility was far too overcrowded for personalized care. “All they [New Life] care about is making money,” she said.

In 2009, the state of Oregon forced the closing of two teen programs run by Aspen Education. State investigators found nine cases of abuse and neglect at Mount Bachelor Academy in central Oregon, including incidents of “sexualized role play,” in which young patients were allegedly forced to do lap dances during therapy sessions. After Mount Bachelor and its director threatened costly lawsuits, the state’s Department of Human Services softened the language of the report; CRC claims the allegations were false (while also fighting $37 million in abuse lawsuits over the school’s pre-CRC practices). Even so, DHS “stands by our findings,” a spokesman says of the 2009 report. That same year, at SageWalk Wilderness School in Hampton, Ore., 16-year-old Sergey Blashchishen died of heatstroke on his very first school hike, in an incident eerily reminiscent of Matthew Meyer’s 2004 death in Texas. One morning in August, Blashchishen suited up in an 80-pound backpack; by afternoon, the heat had topped 80 degrees, and he was soon staggering, drifting off the trail, and complaining of dizziness and exhaustion. Staffers contended he was faking his symptoms and failed to call 911 until his pulse had stopped; that death is the focus of a negligent homicide investigation.

To CRC officials, the lawsuits, criminal investigations and state sanctions all come in response to isolated events, aren’t “systemic,” and shouldn’t reflect on the dedication and quality of a large company serving 30,000 trouble-prone teens and substance abusers each day. The company declined to respond to a memo outlining allegations made by alumni, parents and former employees about questionable practices at specific programs, citing a legal requirement to protect patient confidentiality. But a public relations consultant, Robert Weiner, who works closely with CRC and its most prominent board member, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, President Bill Clinton’s drug czar, did respond in general terms in a phone interview: “The people you cited can whine all they want, but that’s just a bunch of specifics we can’t talk about compared to 30,000 people a day we’re making better lives for.”

“In a human-run company there will be human errors in some cases,” he added. “But in other cases, it’s garbage.”

In a December 2011 press release in response to the Tennessean series, CRC vice president Jonathan Ciampi disputed criticism of CRC over the reported deaths, citing positive surveys of parents and clients, and certification by government regulators and accrediting agencies. “Safety and quality are our highest priorities.” And in a conference call last fall for investors, CRC’s new CEO, Andrew Eckert, discounted the developments in Tennessee as merely “unwelcomed bumps in the road.” In fact, later in the call he claimed that “CRC is in the process of staking its ground as the definitive leader in clinical excellence.”

Camp recovery: More patients, more revenue

Such claims of excellence do not seem to have pierced the canopy of the Santa Cruz redwoods, home to Camp Recovery, the first drug treatment facility CRC purchased in the mid-’90s. Nestled on 25 hilly acres in Scotts Valley, Calif., Camp Recovery is an idyllic setting for recovery for as many as 70 adults and teens at a time. Yet after Bain purchased CRC in 2006, according to former employees, safety and quality eroded,  while  state agencies periodically reported increasingly more troublesome findings after 2006 regarding conditions at the camp. “It got progressively worse,” says Tom Corral, a counselor who was employed there before CRC bought Camp Recovery and worked there on occasion after the Bain takeover. Meanwhile, prices were steadily jacked up from about $6,000 a month to as high as $18,000. Under Bain ownership, Corral says, “they’ve been under a lot of pressure to cut costs, and they’ve been squeezed for profit.”

What most alarmed Corral and other former employees was that ever sicker and more mentally disturbed patients kept being admitted. The governing view, Corral recalls, was, “You’ve got to keep them at all costs.”

Camp Recovery is registered with the state as a nonmedical facility, and so patients needing intensive medical or psychiatric care should be referred elsewhere. But such restrictions soon collapsed, say former staffers, in a drive for profits. “Certified nurses were reprimanded when we complained to the intake office,” says one former nurse. “When I didn’t want to admit a person who was falling down drunk, they wrote me up.” Former staffers say that Camp Recovery’s business staff even began to pressure nurses to knowingly admit patients with potentially deadly MRSA infections, which, the CDC warns, may require treatment by an infectious disease specialist. Shawn Bottoroff, a former clinical technician who left Camp Recovery last year, said that when she started in 2007, nurses were primarily responsible for determining who was stable enough for admission. But they were soon overridden by camp administrators seeking to rope in more clients, Bottoroff and other former workers say.

To Denise Murphy, a former director of the camp’s adolescent unit, the decline became especially noticeable in 2008, when a new executive director took over, Bobby Stearns, hand-picked by CRC, who was determined, according to complaints to the NLRB, to crush a unionization drive and keep down costs. “It was so dangerous there, they’re lucky they didn’t get sued,” Murphy says. According to complaints made by staff at the time to the now-reorganized California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, CRC cut back on everything from drug-testing kits to staffing levels. In a 2009 interview, Stearns said any staff cuts were due to declining patient numbers. But eventually, the Department of Social Services, which has oversight over the facility’s 17-bed adolescent unit, confirmed that caseloads had soared and kids ran wild at night. The agency demanded corrective actions — improvements that former employees say were in large part ultimately abandoned.

Equally troubling, former staffers report a pattern that echoes the events surrounding the deaths of Brendan Blum and Lindsey Poteet at other CRC facilities: When patients face a medical crisis, ambulances are usually not summoned. Instead, “techs,” whose emergency training, the former employees say, is generally limited to a two-hour CPR course, are ordered by supervisors to use a van lacking medical equipment to drive patients to the emergency room in nearby Santa Cruz. The tactic, say former employees, helps prevent the facility from being flagged in the 911 system, risking unwelcome attention from state or local officials.

The administrative resistance to calling 911 was so pronounced that when one overmedicated, mentally disturbed patient fled the facility in hysterics one summer day in 2008, she was left to lie on the road outside the gate, screaming for help before collapsing into convulsions. One camp executive told staff on duty at the time, “Leave her alone. We don’t want to make a scene,” according to Bottoroff and other former staffers. It was left to neighbors to call 911. Nevertheless, the camp still makes more emergency calls than any comparable facility in the Santa Cruz area, according to addiction and ER doctors who reviewed 911 log data we obtained — perhaps a measure of just how ill many of the patients are at this nonmedical facility. That log showed 158 calls between January 2008 and August 2011. “That’s a lot of calls,” a local government official says. “It ought to be investigated.” Logged 911 calls represent only a small portion of total ER visits, the official observes, because it doesn’t account for people who arrive by other means.

Camp Recovery’s drive for secrecy was especially pronounced when it came to potential instances of sexual misconduct, violence or drug use among the adolescents in treatment, former staffers say. “There were several situations in which we were told by the director of the adolescent unit, per [current executive director] James Bailey, not to call 911,” says Bottoroff. Former staffers speak of wild nighttime teen assaults on weaker youth or even staff, and recount hushed-up incidents of underage girls having sex with adult male patients at their cabins. “They were trading favors for cigarettes and alcohol,” Bottoroff says of one such incident she encountered. In almost all such cases of on-site crime, according to an employee complaint to state regulators, the orders handed down from Stearns, the former executive director, in 2009 were clear: “We don’t contact the police.”

State investigators were rarely able confirm the most serious employee allegations on the few occasions when they bothered to investigate, a review of state reports shows. But this could be due to efforts by managers to cover their tracks. Trevor Bottoroff, a former Camp Recovery counselor and Shawn’s husband, says that sometimes managers would rewrite log sheets to make them seem more benign. At other times, supervisors would simply remove them. Murphy, the camp’s former adolescent director, came to see CRC as “the slumlords of treatment.” Other evasions are commonplace at Camp Recovery. The camp openly advertises that it offers prescription-based medical detox, though it is not licensed as a medical facility to do so.

A failure of oversight

But such complaints against CRC have rarely led to consequences for either their drug treatment or youth programs. The troubled teen industry in particular is a regulatory Wild West, with some states lacking any licensing system at all for these residential programs. Even some states that do license, such as Utah, appear unable to guarantee patient safety: about 10 young people are known to have died since 1990 while attending Utah residential and wilderness programs. Regulators often shield the teen care industry from genuine scrutiny, according to investigations by the GAO, congressional hearings in 2007 and 2008, and reports by such mental health advocates as the Bazelon Center and Mental Health America.

In California, regulation of drug treatment facilities appears especially ineffective. California’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, for example, has never investigated the deaths of nearly 200 patients over five years at CRC’s 12 outpatient methadone clinics. Mostly likely, addiction experts say, the clients’ rampant substance abuse is the culprit, not sloppy practices at CRC, but that supposition has not been rigorously tested. In fact, Pennsylvania regulators cited two of CRC’s methadone clinics for failing to properly screen patients for drugs or narcotic use, a potentially deadly oversight. Weiner, the CRC spokesperson, said that CRC itself would doubtless look into any client deaths: “At least somebody’s going to wonder why they didn’t come in for their treatment the next day.”

“The programs have experienced the reality that there are no consequences if anyone dies,” says a knowledgeable ex-government official about California’s drug programs, including CRC’s methadone clinics, which have become the chain’s cash cow. With nearly 27,000 daily clients nationwide at  54 outpatient clinics, CRC founder Barry Karlin was dubbed by Treatment magazine “America’s Methadone King.”

Loose oversight seems to have been critical in enabling CRC to flourish. It’s hard to imagine, in particular, that without the scandalously weak monitoring of the teen treatment industry CRC’s Aspen division would be able to continue its harshly regimented, unproven behavior-modification methods and dicey emergency protocols. “Without regulations and enforcement, this profitable industry will continue to have actors that present unacceptable risks to the children they serve,” U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said last year when introducing a federal oversight bill.

A culture of abuse and neglect?

This apparent lack of oversight in the teen industry, combined with a widespread view by providers that their charges are manipulative troublemakers, has allowed a toxic culture of psychological abuse and medical neglect to prevail, according to parents, alumni and federal officials. As Greg Kutz, a GAO investigator, said in testimony about the industry in general before Congress, “It seemed that the only way program managers would believe they [the students] were not faking it is if they stopped breathing or did not have a pulse.” That culture is visible even at Aspen’s most upscale residential programs, such as Island View in suburban Syracuse, Utah. One former student there, Colleen Davidson, now 20, who graduated from the program in 2009, recalls her alarm when she coughed up blood one morning as she stood at the bathroom sink. She says she was never allowed to see a doctor because by the time the nurse wandered by a few hours later, another student had rinsed the blood from the sink. “They assume you’re lying,” she says.

For months, CRC denied me press access to any of its facilities, so I visited Island View last August posing as a father of a troubled girl. During that visit, director Laura Burt confirmed this skeptical stance toward potential medical emergencies. She said the nursing staff would see my daughter immediately in case of a medical crisis but would monitor her if they suspected fakery: “We’re not going to rush her to the hospital if she’s just saying that and there is nothing that says it.”

In March 2008, Duane Bernard rescued his son Matthew, then 16, from another Aspen program, Adirondack Leadership Expedition in Saranac Lake, N.Y., after gleaning from one of his son’s monitored letters the brutal conditions he was enduring. Matthew, who was sent to Adirondack by his mother during a custody dispute, later told his father of food deprivation, neglect of serious medical complaints, and cruel taunting by instructors, including an incident when field staff  pressured one kid to lick clean a urine-soaked cup. Medical neglect, Duane Bernard says, was ingrained in Adirondack’s get-tough “wilderness therapy.” Father and son say that during Matthew’s monthlong stay, he was required to go camping in subfreezing weather with too-thin clothing and sleeping gear, and he soon developed severe numbness and frostbite in his right foot. But he wasn’t taken to an urgent care facility until shortly before his release and required eight months of medical treatment afterward.

Duane Bernard wrote in April 2008 to state officials alleging child abuse, enclosing Matthew’s written descriptions of his alleged maltreatment, but the state’s child protection agency said it had no jurisdiction over Adirondack. “They blew us off,” Bernard says.

I heard Matthew’s experience echoed in conversation after conversation with Aspen alums, many of whom suffer nightmares and PTSD-like symptoms. Hannah Sangillo of Bethesda, Md., now 19,  ended up at SUWS of the Carolinas, Aspen’s showcase wilderness program in North Carolina’s breathtaking Pisgah National Forest, in 2010. She now considers her 49-day summer stay “child abuse.” She recounts one of several instances of heat exhaustion she experienced during hours-long hikes designed to promote self-reliance and personal growth. Even on scorching, humid days, when temperatures soared into the mid-90s, groups of girls were saddled with 60-pound-plus packs, exceeding Girl Scout safety guidelines. “I was not able to walk straight,” she says of one incident. “I was stumbling and sweating profusely. I kept telling people I needed to stop and they said: ‘No, we can’t stop yet.’” She temporarily blacked out, only to be dragged to her feet by fellow campers and prodded along the trail at the urging of what SUWS calls its “highly trained” field instructors. By the end of the summer ordeal, nearly half of her small team of girls had collapsed during hikes, she says, without receiving any medical attention.

Throughout their time there, neither Sangillo nor Hannah Spungen, a 2007 SUWS graduate, ever saw a single staffer actually help young residents with medical problems. These included everything from heroin withdrawal to all-night vomiting caused by drinking from fecal-contaminated streams during their daily hikes.

Before I interviewed the two alumni, I met with Shawn Farrell, executive director of SUWS of the Carolinas, who insisted to me that emergency care is a top priority. (Subsequently, CRC declined to answer any questions about allegations of medical neglect at this SUWS program. Shawn Farrell, the executive director of SUWS of the Carolinas, insisted to me that emergency care is a top priority. He says field staff are instructed to radio in symptoms of any injuries or illness immediately to the base camp’s field medic and, if needed, arrange transport to a hospital only eight miles away. “We want the doctors to do the diagnosis,” not the outdoors staff, he says. But this policy appears to falls apart in the execution. In Spungen’s experience, “There’s no protocol in place to make sure it’s safe for you.”

These incidents seem to illuminate an institutional culture that allowed Sergey Blashchishen to die in 2009 before ever receiving emergency medical aid. As one government investigator told me about the field instructors at SageWalk, where Blashchishen died, “They were highly trained, but the culture overrode that.” The SageWalk Field Instructor Manual — like other Aspen manuals, vetted by CRC, according to a former CRC official — requires staff to go through a rigid “chain of command” before emergency help can be summoned. “There are inherent delays in a system like this,” the investigator observed. CRC spokesman Weiner defended those procedures: “If there’s a [medical] issue they should go to the top supervisors,” he said. “I don’t see how that’s wrong to make sure you’re doing the right thing. That’s why they’re not the boss.”

Yet Weiner also insisted that CRC is “aware of complaints and problems at Aspen and wants to make sure it has the best practices possible.” To that end, he pointed to a recent initiative by CRC to ensure that all its teen programs are certified by two leading accrediting agencies, CARF (the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and a body known as the Joint Commission, a 60-year-old industry-funded nonprofit that accredits thousands of health care programs in the United States. This is perhaps of scant comfort, given that members of Congress harshly criticized the Joint Commission in the wake of revelations of medical negligence at Walter Reed and other Joint Commission–accredited hospitals. Moreover, many facilities in one of the most notorious chains in the teen treatment field, Straight Inc., were approved by accrediting agencies, including the Joint Commission, until they shut down in the wake of lawsuits and state action. Some maintained their high ratings even after Straight Inc. and several of its spinoffs were hit by state investigations and at least 90 lawsuits alleging abuse.

No turnaround from the turnaround experts

Despite the accumulating lawsuits, state investigations and even criminal inquiries, Bain Capital has yet to force a major shake-up in the culture or leadership of CRC. Aspen co-founder Elliot Sainer and CRC CEO Barry Karlin remained in their executive posts until they retired in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Both now serve on the CRC board of directors. Trina Packard, the executive in charge at Youth Care when Brendan Blum died, remains in her post to this day.

Rather than instituting reforms, CRC seems to have responded to the series of lawsuits, in part, by requiring parents to sign elaborate contracts that feature sweeping “hold harmless” clauses even in the case of death. “This is a business-driven model: caveat emptor,” one Utah Education Department official conceded on background. The contracts leave parents like Julie Scheule, a Wisconsin mom, with little recourse when they suspect deception or abuse. In 2007, she sent her daughter, then 15, to an Aspen facility in Utah, since closed, called Aspen Ranch. Aspen, she now charges, “abused parental trust, abused our bank account, and abused the kids in their care.” She had a change of heart when she realized she was being hit with thousands of dollars in extra costs and flew to the ranch to remove her daughter. She recalls her daughter hugging her, trembling, and saying, “Please mama, take me out of here.”

Aspen uses what the teen treatment industry calls a “levels” model that grants more privileges and freedoms as students follow the rules, but imposes sanctions of varying severity on those who slip up or disobey.

Punishments were more often psychological than physical. According to former students, emotionally brutal isolation punishments and peer-driven encounter “therapies” were commonly employed to break down resistance, especially at Island View. For Colleen Davidson, the former student there who coughed up blood, the worst part was when students were prodded to confront each other about real or fabricated transgressions in harsh encounter sessions. (In fact, she says, they were very similar to the group therapies cited in the June “torture” lawsuit against Turn-About Ranch.) The sessions were so terrifying that girls resorted to desperate measures to avoid attending, according to Davidson. She recalls that some girls choked themselves to induce fainting; one rubbed feces in her own eyes to cause an infection.

“They break you down, but they don’t really build you back up,” she says of the Island View approach. “I have nightmares from it, and the memories are really awful.”

The no-data zone

CRC declined to address any program-specific allegations. A company spokesperson, Kristen Hayes, instead summed up the company’s approach in a written statement: “Our mission is to bring best practices to our industry in clinical excellence and quality patient care,” she wrote by email. “Our comprehensive risk and compliance protocols help to ensure the delivery of the safest, proven treatment processes.”

CRC has said that its teen care programs are based on recognized and evidence-based programs, including one called contingency management. But critics suggest that the approach as actually applied by Aspen is inconsistent with contingency management — which emphasizes primarily positive reinforcement — while alumni and lawsuits filed over the years by parents of former teen patients describe instead a distorted atmosphere of terror and punishment that undercuts their possible utility.

But there are virtually no independent, well-designed, peer-reviewed studies showing that any residential programs for troubled teens actually work — and none at all for the behavior-modification approaches employed by Aspen. Research funded by the Department of Justice and a literature review by the NIH both found, in the context of youth violence and crime prevention, that get-tough, discipline-based approaches generally do more harm than good.

Shy of evidence, CRC’s PR machine offers up testimonials from pleased parents and CRC-funded surveys of parents and students that report positive outcomes. Hayes put me in touch with one of these parents, the mother of a self-destructive, drug-abusing 15-year-old son whom she sent to Island View, the Aspen program Colleen Davidson attended, after other treatments had failed. “I didn’t want to stand around and wait for my child to die,” she says bluntly. Enrolling him in Aspen, she says, was the turning point. “I wish all kids were as lucky as my son,” she says.

And what can’t be washed away by good PR can always be described as an unavoidable tragedy. At Youth Care of Utah, admissions counselor Claire Roberts offered up this sort of soft-focus gloss when she told me about the death of Brendan Blum. “It was very traumatizing for us,” she said. Then she added philosophically, “These things happen.”

No plausible deniability

Mitt Romney may not know the details of Brendan Blum’s death, but it is difficult to imagine he wouldn’t be aware of the troubles facing CRC and the residential teen-treatment industry as a whole. Not only are two of his major campaign donors, Connaughton and Barnes, on CRC’s board, but two of his key advisors, Robert Lichfield and Mel Sembler, faced firestorms after allegations of abuse emerged regarding their own residential treatment chains.

Meanwhile, Ann Romney has said that she would make helping troubled teens a top priority as first lady. And CRC is roaring ahead with an expanded sales force; Eckert, the CEO, told investors in May, “We now have [sales] coverage in every major metropolitan area in the United States.”

The Romney campaign did not respond to queries about his investment in CRC. But candidate Romney has been outspoken about his belief that for-profit health care companies can flourish only without onerous regulations. “I had the occasion of actually acquiring and trying to build health care businesses,” he said during a primary debate last year. “I know something about it, and I believe markets work. And what’s wrong with our health care system in America is that government is playing too heavy a role.”

Crystal Manganaro likely has a different view. She is the mother of Matthew Meyer, the 14-year-old who died at Aspen’s Lone Star program in 2004, and has forcefully advocated for a federal crackdown on teen residential programs, including those run by Aspen. “For those of you who have not lived through losing a child due to negligence, you just cannot imagine what it feels like unless you have walked through it and deal with it every day of your life,” she said in 2009. “My son is dead and there is nothing I can do about that, but I’ll be damned if my son died in vain.”

News Items / UN Questions JRC
« on: July 18, 2012, 12:20:00 AM » ... 85930.html

UN probes shock therapy at US school

A special-needs school is under fire for its treatment of students with severe behavioural problems.
Al Jazeera staff Last Modified: 17 Jul 2012 20:32

In 2002, Andre McCollins, an autistic 18-year-old, was restrained for several hours face-down, and electrically shocked 31 times in seven hours by a remote-controlled device for what a special-needs school described as an attack on a member of staff.

This American school's practice of using electric shocks to discipline students with severe behavioural problems has solicited renewed attention from the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture.

UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez confirmed to Al Jazeera that he has asked for access from the US government, asking them to investigate the use of "skin shock therapy" by the Judge Rotenberg Centre (JRC).

In 2010, Mendez's predecessor, Manfred Nowak, said he believed the practice constitutes torture. "I have no doubts about it," said Nowak at that time. "It is inflicted in a situation where a victim is powerless. And, I mean, a child in the restraint chair, being then subjected to electric shocks, how more powerless can you be?"

Skin shock therapy, in which students exhibiting extreme or dangerous behaviour are subjected to electric shocks from a remote-controlled device, is legal in the United States. Twelve US states currently send their children to the JRC. Parents and a probate court judge are required to approve the treatment on a case-by-case basis.

The practice has come under fire in the past few years, and the JRC faced renewed scrutiny in April, when a video of McCollins being repeatedly shocked surfaced. McCollins' mother, Cheryl, has said the incident in question occured because her son refused to take off his jacket, but JRC lawyer Michael Flammia countered her claim by saying Andre "started off that day by attacking a staff person on the bus", and that the punishment was not applied simply because he refused to remove his coat.

The JRC, founded by behavioural psychologist Matthew Israel and based in the Boston suburb of Canton, has a "zero-rejection, zero-expulsion policy", according to its website. Many of its residents have exhibited severely violent behaviour towards themselves and others: a summary statement on the JRC website says its students include people who have gouged out their own eyes, pulled out their own adult teeth, swallowed razor blades, and attempted to strangle their parents.

The JRC has 235 students, more than 30 of whom receive skin shock therapy.

"JRC is the place of last resort," said Flammia. The typical JRC student, he explained, "has come from a psychiatric hospital, or come from another programme that's expelling them because their behaviours are so dangerous that they can't keep them safe."

Students at the centre receive individually tailored treatment programmes that include both positive and negative reinforcement. Initially, new students are offered rewards for good behaviour, but if that doesn't work, aversive shock therapy is ultimately considered. The therapy delivers an electric shock to a student when he or she exhibits undesirable behaviours such as aggression or self-injury.

Skin shock therapy

Skin shock therapy, also known as aversive shock therapy, requires students to wear either a "fanny pack" or backpack containing a battery-operated device, known as a Graduated Electronic Decelerator (GED), which is connected by wires to electrodes on the skin. The electrodes themselves are fastened onto the flesh with a fabric strap, which is connected to a metal lock to prevent students from removing them.

Interview with former JRC student Hilary Cook
Staff members of the JRC then use a transmitter to activate two-second-long shocks when undesirable behaviour is exhibited. One former patient, Hilary Cook, told Al Jazeera that she had to wear the GED 24 hours a day.

Of the medical sources Al Jazeera spoke to, a majority raised questions about using skin shock therapy to treat severely maladaptive behaviour.

Dr Allison Baker, a psychiatrist at Columbia Presbyterian hospital in New York City, advocated the use of reinforcement-based procedures instead.

"There's a large evidence base to suggest that behavioural intervention programmes can be successful without the need of using aversive punishment-based procedure," she told Al Jazeera. "While the notion of a punishment-based procedure will diminish the maladaptive behaviour in the heat of the moment, you're not teaching the youngster. You're not giving them replacement behaviours and you're not giving them skills they can take with them into the future."

Baker also noted that no "rigorous peer-reviewed publication for this kind of treament" had been released in nearly a decade, though the school rejects this claim.

Legislative efforts

Brian Joyce, a Massachusetts state senator, echoed Baker's emphasis on alternative therapies. "We're successfully treating such individuals through positive interventions everywhere else in the country and throughout the world," he said. "We certainly don't need to resort to this barbaric treatment in Canton, Massachusetts."

Joyce, who says the practice is "inhumane and at times barbaric", is trying to ban aversive shock therapy altogether. He believes legislation has not yet passed due, in part, to what he says are the JRC's powerful lobbyists and deep pockets - he said that, in 2007, the centre took in $56m in revenue.

In 2011, the JRC was prevented from administering the therapy to newly admitted students, although the centre is appealing this decision.

Cook, the former JRC resident, told Al Jazeera that she is "kind of amazed" that the treatment continues to be legal. She described the therapy as "clearly a case of torture".

"I don't remember what the first thing I did to get a GED was. But I do remember what the GED felt like at the time," she said. "I was expecting a bee sting and what I got was pretty extreme pain that felt like longer than a few seconds, but was only a few seconds. It did cause me to scream and it was very intense and burned for a while afterwards. It actually left marks on me that went away after a few days, but it did leave marks."

'Immediate' effect

Flammia told Al Jazeera: "Anybody who says this treatment is torture is 100 per cent wrong. It's no different than saying dental work is torture.

"If [the treatment] was taken away, they would either die or be put on drugs for the rest of their lives and they'd be comatose for the rest of their lives."

Interview with Lauren Emmick, mother of JRC student
Some parents agree with Flammia's characterisation, and are convinced that the JRC's approach has saved their children from a life of misery.

Lauren Emmick, a mother of a current resident at the JRC, argued that aversive shock therapy should not be classified as torture, and credited the treatment with allowing her daughter to live a more normal life.

Emmick said her daughter Lian had been in therapy since age three and a half, and began taking medication at age six. She said Lian's behaviour was so aggressive that she had to be taught separately from the other children at the special-needs school she previously attended. "What she experienced before was torture," said Emmick. "She had been restrained so many times, both of her knees needed to have surgery."

Emmick had considered shock therapy as a last resort, but finally agreed to it after Lian had been at the JRC for five months without responding to other treatments. The therapy not only produced an "immediate" effect on her daughter, she said, but it also continues to limit her violent outbursts. "She works in the kitchen, she's got two roommates, she's in a classroom, she's learning, she's happy. I've never seen her happy. Ever."

News Items / Re: St. John's Military School - Violence Alleged
« on: June 21, 2012, 02:40:56 AM »
Please post links on this thread.

News Items / Sky View Christian Academy - Lawsuit
« on: May 20, 2012, 04:04:05 PM »

Teen Claims Abuse at Christian Academy


Thursday, May 17, 2012

   LAS VEGAS (CN) - A Mexican teenager's brief stint in a Nevada boarding school was marked by plates full of cigarette butts and other abuse, the student and his mother claim in court.

     The Sky View Christian Academy in Hawthorn, Nev., covered up the abuse by screening mail between students and their parents, according to the complaint.

     Anthony Vaca entered the academy, located 134 miles southeast of Reno, in May 2007. Shortly after his arrival, the 15-year-old boy "began receiving physical and mental abuse from the defendants and the defendants' employees and agents," according to the complaint.

     Now 19, Vaca says a school employee forced him to fight a student two years older and much larger than him.
     Employees also allegedly forced other students to watch the doors and windows to shield what was happening.
     When Vaca was predictably injured from the fight, school officials denied him medical treatment, and "a fellow student with no medical training or expertise" helped "set his nose without the benefit of any anesthesia or pain killers," according to the suit.

     Vaca, who is Mexican, says an employee pushed him, threatened him and used racist names and epithets while speaking to him.

     Vaca "would often find cigarette butts and ashes from cigarettes in the food served to him by Sky View Academy," the lawsuit states. "At times, Mr. Vaca would only have an apple or other small piece of fruit to eat for many days at a time because the food was so bad."

     Defendants also "forced Mr. Vaca to submit to screening of his mail, both incoming and outgoing, in order to control his mental state and thoughts, to convince him his mother knew of and approved of what was happening to him when she in fact did not," according to the complaint.

     The lawsuit also says Vaca was forced to sleep on the floor, and that Sky View employees brought drugs into the school for students.

     Cynthia Shepherd says removed Vaca, her son, from the school after just five months because it had refused to let her see students' living conditions.

     She and Vaca claim that the school failed to disclose that it was under investigation by state officials for physical and sexual assaults on children.

     Nevada suspended Sky View Academy's license Sept. 28, 2007, according to the complaint.

     Shepherd and Vaca seek damages for assault, battery, false imprisonment, negligence and fraud. They name as defendants the academy; Sky View manager Orval Hagerman; the academy's parent, World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools; and its sister company, Lifeline Family Services

     They are represented by E. Robert Spear.

Web forum hosting / Re: Little help?
« on: May 19, 2012, 06:18:43 PM »
"registeration"[sic] and the grammatical errors make it seem like a scam. Probably don't need to update anything.

News Items / Re: Judge Rotenberg - Shock torture video released
« on: May 12, 2012, 04:11:14 AM »

Judge Rotenberg Educational Center: Please Stop Painful Electric Shocks on Your Students ... tton_modal

Massachusetts Representatives: Please Stop Painful Electric Shocks on Students at JRC in Massachusetts! ... sachusetts

News Items / Re: Judge Rotenberg - Shock torture video released
« on: May 12, 2012, 04:06:03 AM »
WGBH Greater Boston  May 9, 2012

Cheryl McCollins and Gregory Miller speak with Jared Bowen about the shock torture at Judge Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts as well as petitions signed to ban this "so called" electric shock therapy. ... 11&rssid=3

If that link doesn't work try here:

On youtube:

Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / KHK Self Descriptions/History
« on: May 07, 2012, 04:38:38 AM »
Some info data-mined from KHK's old website pages.......

Check out the vague way they describe where the program originated from. ... gkids.html

In the late seventies, early eighties, there were no beds in the Cincinnati area designated for treatment of chemically dependent adolescents. Drugs, however, had sifted down into the high schools and junior highs. Parents were beginning to see the behavioral symptoms that accompany adolescent poly substance abuse. A Psychologist who was working for a therapeutic community for adolescents in Florida did a presentation in a Northern Kentucky School Auditorium. It was well attended by parents who were having problems with their children. One Cincinnati couple enrolled their son in the Florida Program. Then another. Through word of mouth, several families found their way to that program. They became convinced that Cincinnati needed a program such as it. Those parents organized as a 501 (C) 3 private, non-profit corporation , wrote Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws and did lots of fund raising. In July, 1981, eleven teens were transferred from the LIFE Program in Florida to Kids Helping Kids which was then located in a leased facility in Northern Kentucky. By 1984, there were several other programs for adolescents. These programs were located in hospitals and modeled after the treatment programs for adult alcoholics. Teens first went into detox for several days, then spent most of the day with a teacher doing school work. These models usually allowed for one group a day to deal with therapeutic issues and the clients often left the facility in the evening to go toAA meetings where they could connect with other teens. After 28 days they were discharged. . For the most part, these programs were expensive and ineffective. There was almost no outcome research done. Businesses and insurance companies took a close look at the services and became very controlling about what they would pay for. Almost all those program have subsequently closed. While Kids Helping Kids was modeled after the Florida Program, KHK is completely independent and has changed and grown into the program it is today without collaboration with any other program. Kids Helping Kid's model is effective for adolescents for a number of reasons ... apart.html

Length of time: It takes time for kids to become chemically dependent and, when they do, their lives become consumed with their drug use. Their activities revolve around obtaining and using drugs. They socialize with other kids who use. Achieving in school, playing sports and/or participating in other extra circular are no longer meaningful. For a long time, they have been telling themselves that drugs are NOT the problem. Their parents are the problem. Their school is the problem. Other kids are the problem. The police are the problem. They have suppressed their feelings for so long that they have become totally out of touch with them. When people are out of touch with feelings, rather than expressing them appropriately, they act on them. An angry person can go into a rage at the slightest provocation; someone with low self-esteem can become seriously self-destructive. People who blame their problems on others, and behave without insight into why, can be said to be victims, unable to act in their best interest; always reacting to their erroneous perceptions of the world. Recovery must include the development of awareness that their drug use is the problem and, if treatment is to be successful, it must fill the voids left when drugs are removed. Kids must learn to talk honestly about their feelings. Underlying emotional problems must be addressed and kids must learn coping skills to be able to deal with life's ups and downs without reverting to drug use. Developing this awareness takes months and should be done in a setting in which the person is isolated from people who feel threatened by their newly found independence. Intellectual learning can be fairly fast but internalizing any new skills takes time. The process is usually two steps forward, one back, until internalization has been achieved. Host Homes: The host parents provide an emotionally warm, home-like setting for new clients. Newcomers observe as the upper phase clients (oldcomers) interact with their family members in an appropriate manner using the skills learned in treatment. Through interacting with host parents, even those kids who were the most out of control, ... tment.html

In day treatment, kids help kids learn to apply a set of principles that will enable them to better manage their emotional and behavioral responses to life's situations. Most teens who abuse chemicals use a kaleidoscope of drugs in their attempts to get high. While not usually physically addicted to any one drug, the child develops a very intense belief system that supports drug and/or alcohol use. A variety of harmful effects can be observed in their young lives - deterioration of school performance, disruption of family relationships, arrests, depression, and withdrawal. Removing teenagers temporarily from access to drugs will not change their usage when they return to their regular environment.

KHK incorporates a number of features that have been found to foster comprehensive and lasting behavioral changes. First, treatment makes use of positive peer influence through group discussions that challenge the clients' past beliefs and behavior with respect to drugs. These groups are primarily led by peer counselors - teens who have completed KHK treatment and have been trained as peer staff. All aspects of treatment are under the direct and continuous supervision of clinically trained professional staff.

Though the major emphasis is group therapy, individual attention is given to each teenager. When a teen enters treatment, he/she is called a newcomer and is assigned to an oldcomer, someone who is further along in treatment and who takes responsibility for talking individually with that teen and teaching him/her about treatment. Each teen is also assigned a primary peer counselor, a professional case manager, and an individual treatment plan is written.

Treatment is divided into five phases. During First Phase, the teen is in treatment for 10.5 hours per day and lives at night in a temporary home with an oldcomer and his/her family. ... pense.html

The treatment fee is $19,500 for in-town families and $22,500 for out-of-town families. A $1000 nonrefundable assessment fee is included in the treatment fee. Treatment fees are $2,750 per month until paid in full. Food and host home fees are in addition to the treatment fees. Total treatment fees should be paid within 7 months for in-town families and 8 months for out-of-town families. Treatment fee payment arrangements may be made to compensate for insurance reimbursement. Treatment fee scholarships are available based on financial need. The $1000 assessment fee and food and host home fees for one month are due at intake.

Food Fee

A monthly food fee is charged to cover meals and snacks your child eats at the program. The fee is payable at the beginning of each month. The monthly food fee schedule is based on a daily charge of $6.00.
Host Home Fee

A monthly host home fee is charged when your child is in the home of another child. This fee is paid to the family who is providing the home during the first phase of treatment or at any time a home is provided. The host home fee schedule is based on a daily charge of $5.00.
Interest of 1 and 1/2% per month will be charged on any late program fees.

We at Kids Helping Kids are extremely eager to help you make optimal use of your health insurance. However, with ... sment.html

Is your child’s behavior out of control?
Are family and school relationships deteriorating?
Do you wonder if it’s alcohol or drugs causing the problems?
You may notice physical and emotional characteristics in an adolescent that signal involvement with drugs and alcohol. Although some characteristics may appear in any teenager as part of normal puberty, consistent and extreme examples should not be overlooked, especially if a pattern develops. Should you suspect that your teen is using drugs and alcohol, find out for sure. Get a substance abuse assessment. We'll give you the answers you need.
Assessment Process:
- A KHK counselor meets with the parent(s) and the teen.
- Parents and teen are interviewed separately.
- Teen completes objective computer tests regarding his/her drug use and related issues parent views a video on adolescent addiction.
- Teen has a drug screen (urinalysis).
- Preliminary results are shared and a follow-up visit is scheduled within 10 days for final results.
A written report and referral options are provided at that time.Cost may be covered by insurance.

News Items / Restoration Ranch - Investigation abuse
« on: May 06, 2012, 05:09:40 AM » ... eUn1A.cspx

DHR Investigates Restoration Youth Academy After Allegations of Abuse

Published: 5/02 7:27 pm
Updated: 5/02 7:31 pm

(PRICHARD, Ala.) - The mother of a former student at a Mobile County reform school said kids are being physically abused while under the school's care.

Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said her office, as well as the Alabama Department of Human Resources, is investigating the Restoration Youth Academy in Prichard, but there is no credible evidence of any physical abuse.

The mother told Local 15 News she did not want her identity, as well as her daughter's identity, revealed because she fears for their safety.

The claims come after Prichard Police said six students broke out of the Restoration Youth Academy Saturday night. The six were found by authorities in Florida after stealing a van from the academy and driving it to Lee County before they ran out of gas.

"I asked them," Academy Director John Young said, "I said, 'What were you all going to do?' 'Well, we were just going to go down to Tampa, and just hang out.' I said, 'What we're you going to do for food?' One of the kids said, 'I was going to rob me somebody.' "

Young said the kids were safely returned to the school by authorities, but were not charged for stealing the van. The anonymous parent claims the academy is above the law.

"They are terrified to make arrests there because, and I've personally witnesses this, John Young and Will Knott told them, 'Go ahead and make an arrest. I'll put the cuffs on for you, and, tomorrow, I'll have your badge," the mother said.

The woman, whose daughter has since returned home from the school, claims police have copied her on reports sent to state representatives regarding physical and sexual abuse at the school. She said the kids are sometimes put in solitary confinement.

"Naked, and locked them in there with hoods on their head for days at a time with no food or no water," she said. "They will beat the kids, thirty lashes, with leather belts for fidgeting in church, and they've admitted this to police officers, but, you know, nobody thinks that that's abuse."

Academy Director John Young said they have welcomed investigations into the claims.

"They talked to every kid," Young said about the county investigators, "and the kid admitted to them, 'I just want to go home, so I lied on them so hopefully they'll close this place down so I can go home."

Young said the allegations of abuse are false, maintaining critics are attacking the school in an attempt to shut it down.

"We have found no credible evidence to support any claims of any physical abuse," District Attorney Ashley Rich said.

Rich said she has reviewed the complaints thoroughly, and said her investigation is still open.

"We still do have an ongoing investigation as to what laws govern the administration of the school and the academy itself," Rich said.

News Items / Re: St. John's Military School - Violence Alleged
« on: May 03, 2012, 02:52:47 PM » ... -of-abuse/

Kan. school accused of deleting images of abuse

May 1, 2012 7:03 AM

WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas military boarding school embroiled in a lawsuit alleging widespread abuse of cadets ordered its students last week to surrender their cellphones, and a staff member reviewed photos and videos stored on them and then deleted hundreds of images related to the school, according to a document filed Monday in federal court.

Lawyers for seven former cadets who sued St. John's Military School in Salina allege that one of the deleted videos showed a staff member abusing a student, while others showed abuse of former cadets who have filed suit.

The school, in an email statement to The Associated Press, denied the destruction of evidence related to the lawsuit. St. John's said it has a long-standing policy that prohibits students from taking pictures or recording videos with cellphones, a policy it contends is common for boarding and military schools throughout the nation.

"In the instance that took place recently on campus, a student's phone was confiscated and the video was erased in accordance with the cell phone policy," the school said. "This situation is in no way related to ongoing litigation and did not involve any of the plaintiffs."

Daniel Zmijewski, the plaintiff's attorney, filed the motion in U.S. District Court in Kansas and is seeking a court order to protect any remaining photos and videos or evidence in any electronic medium. He also asked the judge to appoint a computer forensics expert as a "special master" at the school's expense to collect any remaining data and attempt to recreate the deleted material.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale has scheduled a telephone conference Thursday with attorneys to discuss how to proceed with the request.

"St. John's continues to thumb its nose at this Court by ignoring its obligations and letting chaos reign at its school," Zmijewski wrote in the filing. "A month after this lawsuit was filed, another boy was branded at St. John's and boys continue to check into the hospital for various reasons."

The plaintiffs — who are from California, Florida, Tennessee, Colorado, Texas and Illinois — allege in a lawsuit filed in March that St. John's allowed higher ranking students, called "Disciplinarians," to abuse students, even in the presence of faculty members. The school has settled nine previous abuse lawsuits filed since 2006.

One plaintiff alleges that during the four days he attended the school, he suffered repeated abuse and broke both legs. Another says a ranking student kneed him in the face and broke his eye socket. And a third says he was bound, gagged and beaten by several students, and that photos of the abuse were posted on Facebook.

St. John's, which charges families nearly $30,000 per year for students in grades 6-12, has denied that a culture of abuse exists and notes that each student is required to sign an anti-hazing pledge.

Quote from: "Ursus"
Quote from: "Horatio."
Okay, new question. Why should we harass a complete stranger on your command , when you're asked a question about them, and ignore it?
Sorry, I failed to pick up exactly where wdtony requested, advocated, or "commanded" harassment of a complete stranger, let alone the subject of this here thread. Perhaps that would be your forté?

It's a strawman.... tool of the politician and the troll.

More Straight people....maybe already chronicled:

Don Macleod

Don Doherty

Bernadine Braithwaite   National Director ... on-hearing

Joy Margolis  National Spokeswoman
Charlotte King  HR exec. director ... s-straight

Bill Oliver   Exec. Director  1983 ... 863,964791


Carol Grant

SVP - Strategic Planning and Implementation at Guthrie Health System

Ithaca, New York Area Marketing and Advertising

SVP - Strategic Planning and Implementation
Guthrie Health System
Nonprofit; 1001-5000 employees; Hospital & Health Care industry
January 2010 – Present (2 years 4 months)

Responsible for strategic planning, physician relations, business development,market research, public relations and marketing of a nationally renown nonprofit health system comprised of 3 hospitals and 23 clinics, serving Pennsylvania and New York.

Board Member
2006 – 2010 (4 years)

VP Planning and Marketing
Carle Clinic
April 2005 – March 2010 (5 years)

Responsible to CAO and Board of Governors for marketing , strategic planning , market research, public and government affairs of Carle Clinic Association, one of the nation’s largest physician-owned multi-specialty group practices. Planning and marketing services support 350+ physicians, in over 50 specialties at ten regional clinics throughout central Illinois as well as research needs for physician owned tri-state health plan and Carle Foundation Hospital.

Manager, Marketing
Greenville Hospital System
Nonprofit; 5001-10,000 employees; Hospital & Health Care industry
July 2000 – April 2005 (4 years 10 months)

Reported to the Vice-President of Marketing and Planning Services to develop and implement marketing strategies that advance the organization’s business objectives. Managed all marketing initiatives and identifies growth opportunities for this 1100 bed tertiary teaching hospital and largest integrated health system in South Carolina, including four hospitals, system service lines, affiliate organizations and practices.

General Manager
The Voyageur Inn and Conference Center
June 1994 – July 2000 (6 years 2 months)

During this six-year period, I returned home to care for an ailing parent and help manage several family-owned businesses including retail, service, hospitality and sales.
Responsible for seventy two-room full service hotel with convention facilities to 750, and on site restaurant and health club. Secured sales contracts and licensing with state and local regulatory agencies. Responsible for all sales and marketing initiatives. Managed 60+ employees. Responsible for all crisis communications, management and financial performance of business.

Key Responsibilities and Accomplishments:
Increased occupancy by 19% in highly competitive market.
Partnered with Chamber of Commerce and City Council, and increased tourism by 20% utilizing media and targeted marketing programs.
Increased revenue by 11% over three-year period.
Reduced staff turnover by 35%.

Assistant Marketing Director
Charter Behavioral Health System
November 1992 – June 1994 (1 year 8 months)

Responsible for marketing and outreach activities for entire Washington DC metropolitan area for this national multi-hospital system. Managed referral development efforts targeted to physicians, private mental health practitioners, and corporations. Developed clinical protocols designed to assess patient needs. Managed physician relations, and media and community relations for the region. Provided community education programs, clinical evaluations, group counseling and crisis intervention to physician practices and community. Coordinated all internal communications.

Key Responsibilities and Accomplishments:
Created clinical evaluation systems for day treatment centers.
Developed a triage system for patient care resulting in 20% increase in referral activity.
Increased admissions in region by 15%.

State Director
Pressley Ridge Schools
March 1991 – November 1992 (1 year 9 months)

State Director for this $16M non-profit agency offering community-based alternative treatment services. Responsible for new program start up and development, including communications and marketing to state referral and licensing agencies. Created policies and procedures and staff training programs in two states. Coordinated marketing efforts statewide including referral development, public relations, marketing communications and recruitment. Worked jointly with Department of Human Services, state regulatory bodies, and the community at large to design strategic plans and specific treatment programs based on identified need.

Key Responsibilities and Accomplishments:
Obtained state licensing for Ohio and reinstated revoked West Virginia license.
Designed training presentations and marketing plans to introduce new program to Ohio state agencies.
Responsible for corporate/employee communications and referral development.

Straight, Inc.

November 1984 – March 1991 (6 years 5 months)

Coordinated all state licensing, JCAHO accreditation and marketing with regulatory agencies and referring service providers for this national drug rehabilitation program. Responsible for new business development. Managed media relations including crisis management. Significantly increased revenue at two of the company's major metropolitan locations

Key Responsibilities and Accomplishments:
Assumed lead role in renewal of revoked state license. Developed corresponding training, policy and communication plan.
Developed aggressive marketing campaign resulting in 60% increase in admissions in year one.
Initiated corrective action and developed an aggressive referral network and marketing campaign that resulted in a 50% increase in revenue.
Developed off-site family service centers to enhance referral opportunities.

Carol Grant's Education

Rollins College
Masters, Counseling Psychology
1994 – 1996

Louisiana State University
BA, Psychology
1984 – 1986

Webb High School
1974 – 1977

Award for Excellence - Straight, Inc, Dean's List - Louisiana State University 1979-1981, ... 20810.html

Carol Koenecke-Grant

Carol Koenecke-Grant serves Guthrie Health in northeastern Pennsylvania as senior vice president of strategic planning and implementation, with responsibility for the organization’s strategic planning efforts as well as physician relations, marketing, communications, and public relations. Guthrie Health comprises three hospitals and 23 clinics in Pennsylvania and New York.

Before joining Guthrie Health, Ms. Koenecke-Grant was vice president of planning and marketing at Carle Clinic Association, a 350-physician multispecialty group based in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Before that, she was manager of marketing services at Greenville (South Carolina) Hospital System, a 1,100-bed academic medical center.

Initially a clinician, Ms. Koenecke-Grant specializes in turnaround and organizational growth strategies and has more than 20 years of healthcare marketing experience. A member of the SHSMD Board, she holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Rollins College.

Carol Koenecke-Grant
Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning and Implementation
Guthrie Health
Sayre, PA

[email protected]

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