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Colorado shuts down Clear View Behavioral Health Monday, will seek to revoke license permanently

Mental health facility has been subject of more than a dozen Denver7 Investigates stories
clear view behavioral health johnstown.jpg
Posted at 5:24 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 21:41:10-04

DENVER — The state of Colorado will work to revoke the license of, and has already shut down, a much-scrutinized mental health hospital in northern Colorado.

Clear View Behavioral Health in Johnstown has been the subject of more than a dozen Denver7 investigations since January 2019. The state had taken prior action but earlier this year decided to re-issue the license to the mental health facility.

Denver7 Investigates has confirmed the latest action follows information provided by a whistleblower and a surprise inspection by the state last week.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said it a news release Monday afternoon that it closed the facility immediately on Monday using a summary suspension “because of several regulatory violations.”

The CDPHE confirmed that the violations were found on Sept. 22 during a revisit survey, which found deficiencies that included nursing services and infection control. The department said a key finding “includes a lack of infection prevention for COVID-19” in addition to past regulatory findings against the facility.

The state said that it will move to permanently revoke the facility’s license.

“We are closely monitoring all healthcare facilities, especially during the pandemic," said Randy Kuykendall, the Health Facilities and Emergency Medical Services Division Director for the CDPHE in a statement. “Patients in facilities are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection due to the ongoing nature of close contact between patients and staff, and there are important precautions that each facility should take to minimize risk.”

In February, Denver7 Investigates reported that the state had re-issued the license to Clear View after more than a year of the investigative team uncovering unprecedented failures at the facility.

“I understand completely that this is not a popular decision,”Kuykendall said at the time, adding that it was the “right decision” and that the facility “current [had] no evidence of bad behavior.”

Dozens of patients, their family members and current and former employees have claimed in interviews over the past year-and-a-half that the facility should be shut down over patients’ care and poor conditions at the facility.

When the state announced its decision to re-issue the license for the facility, some of those people were distraught.

“That facility needs to be closed. It should have been closed last year,” said former patient Lisa Sun. “Nobody should be in there. It's better to be homeless. Nobody should be in there, ever."

Kuykendall and the CDPHE said in February that the department “will not even flinch to take … further action against Clear View if the evidence supports it.”

As of February, the state had not issued a single fine or recover a single dollar for the failures at the facility. Kuykendall told Contact7 Investigates in February his state agency does not have the authority to issue any fines.

On Tuesday, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and Gov. Jared Polis discussed the shutdown of the facility.

“They weren’t protecting people,” Weiser said Tuesday. “Their management was irresponsible. It wasn’t a safe place for patients.”