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Colorado lawmaker to Clear View patients: 'You should not have this experience anywhere'

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Posted at 11:15 PM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 12:50:53-05

JOHNSTOWN, Colo. – It’s a mental health hospital where state regulators discovered 85 deficiencies. A mental health hospital that's under investigation for two questionable deaths. A mental health hospital where the state’s department of public health moved to revoke its license five months ago.

Today, those details are virtually impossible for patients and family members to consider when they visit Clear View Behavioral Health in Johnstown. The metal health hospital’s failures have been chronicled during multiple reports by the Contact7 Investigators. Now, families have reached out to Contact7 Investigates asking why the state is not doing a better job of informing the public about a facility that has failed to meet state standards during multiple inspections by regulators during the past year.

“This was the worst week of my life as a parent,” said a father of a teenage daughter who reached out to Contact7 after what he called a “nightmare” experience at Clear View. “We had our daughter taken from us, basically kidnapped,” he added. The father asked Contact7 Investigates to not reveal his identity to protect his teenage daughter’s privacy in the wake of a mental health crisis.

“They took my daughter away from her family,” the dad added. He reached out to us after finding prior Contact7 Investigations when he did a Google search. His frustration amplified when he realized there was no notification of the state’s action to revoke the license posted at Clear View. “My family needs to be able to trust the state of Colorado and that trust is broken,” added the Dad. “I don’t know how we get that trust back when this organization is allowed to do business.”

Torturing families

“They are torturing families and the state of Colorado needs to do something about this, absolutely immediately,” said the Dad. His anger comes after he says administrators at Clear View Behavioral Health prevented his teenage daughter from leaving the facility after her 72-hour hold. He produced paper work that appears to show Clear View went to a judge asking him to order the teenager remain at the facility against the wishes of her parents.

“There are serious problems with this facility,” said Cecilia Kelly a few days after her mother was kept at Clear View longer than the family wanted. “The first thing she says to me is, Get me out of here,'” added a second daughter, Bernadette Morrissey. She added her mother also said, “there’s got to be some insurance billing scheme going on here. The is no treatment going on here. 'GET ME OUT!”

No indication the state has moved to revoke Clear View's license

Since the state moved to revoke Clear View’s license in June of this year, several patients and families have called and emailed Contact7 Investigates describing negative experiences and wondering why the state is not doing a better job of informing consumers about the facility's history and the state’s action.

When patients and family members visit or are admitted at the Johnstown hospital, there is no signage informing them of the state’s action to shut down the facility. All reached out to Contact7 after doing a Google search that lead them to reports aired on Denver7. “We started searching and your story was one of the first that came up,” said Bernadette Morrissey. The twos sisters went to the internet after hearing concerns raised by their mom. “I watched the documentary and cried. I sat on the couch and said, 'I cannot believe this is happening. That this is allowed to happen.'"

Clear View allowed due process to defend its license

Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) notified the corporation that owns Clear View Behavioral Health back on June 24 of this year that the state was asking a judge to revoke its license to operate in the state.

Contact7 Investigates shared concerns from family members with the director of CDPHE’s facilities division.

“We are following the law and the law does protect businesses,” said Randy Kuykendall, director of CDPHE's facilities division.

“We have in our country a commitment to due process,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

Both men were explaining why the state is unable to taking any further action in the wake of a move to revoke Clear View’s license.

“I can tell you this is on our radar screen,” added Attorney General Weiser. “This is something we are looking at because we want to make sure that people are treated fairly and are not taken advantage of.”

Hearing not until May of 2020

Contact7 Investigates has confirmed the hearing to revoke Clear View’s license will not happen until May of 2020. That’s 11 months after the state announced its decision to revoke the facilities license after several failed inspections.

An administrative law judge has scheduled three days for the hearing between May 11 and 14 of 2020.

Colorado lawmaker calling for solutions

Influential State Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet is now looking for solutions to better inform consumers of the history at Clear View.

“We’ve looked at many different options and we are going to lay out many different options on the table,” said Michaelson Jenet. She is the Vice Chair of state’s Public Health Care and Human Services Committee. When she learned Clear View will remain open for 11 months before a judge considers the details uncovered by state investigators, she responded, “to me it feels like a very long process there.”

Michaelson Jenet has asked staff at the State Capitol to meet with staff at CDPHE to find a more effective way to inform Colorado consumers about the history of Clear View. The state representative says options under consideration include creating signage options the facility would need to post at its entrances.

“There is a problem we need to resolve,” concluded Michaelson Jenet. “We need to find that path forward as quickly as possible.”

Denver7 reached out to Clear View's management for a response to our report. We were told there was no comment.

The Contact7 Investigates Team