State officials are trying to revoke Clear View Behavioral Health’s hospital license for a slew of alleged safety violations. Courtesy Clear View Behavioral Health

Clear View: Fate of hospital unknown

Note: listen to our conversation on Clear View and Colorado’s broader mental health trends with KUNC. The segment begins at 14:52.

Here’s a recap of what the hospital has been accused of and what litigation is scheduled so far.

JOHNSTOWN — As it stands, Clear View Behavioral Center’s future will be debated in an administrative law court in late September.

The 92-bed psychiatric hospital in Johnstown has been under fire for months for several safety incidents found during multiple state visits, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is attempting to shut the facility down for good.

Investigations abound

CDPHE granted an initial license to Clear View in November 2015, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave its blessing for the center to take federal insurance the following February.

The state health agency began investigating four separate state and federal complaints sometime after and closed the probe on July 28, 2018, issuing findings of “immediate jeopardy” to Clear View for failing to maintain sanitary conditions and failing to investigate patient falls and suicide attempts. The CDPHE report also said Clear View was cited for 85 code violations and breached Medicare’s rules for participation seven times, putting it in jeopardy of losing access to Medicare participation by this June.

Clear View responded late last December, saying that it had resolved the problems and asked the department not to downgrade it with a corrective conditional license. CDPHE officials downgraded the license anyway in February, and Clear View declined to appeal.

In late May, CDPHE officials made an unannounced inspection of the facility and determined Clear View had failed to make enough progress on several ongoing complaints, such as:

Making sure pencils and other objects that could be used for self-harm were kept out of patient rooms and keeping a direct line of sight on suicidal patients.

Failing to catch a patient’s husband sneaking Xanax, oxycodone and heroin to her room. The report said the patient later injected two other patients with the drug.

Admitting a patient with open wounds, uncontrolled diabetes and a potassium deficiency that the center wasn’t equipped to handle. The patient died from a heart attack.

Releasing a patient who had sexually assaulted her younger brother back to her family, against both the family’s and the patient’s wishes.

Driving a legally blind, wheelchair-bound homeless patient to a shelter in Pueblo against his wishes. When they arrived, the report said employees found the shelter had closed permanently and drove him instead to a Colorado Springs shelter.

Attempting to move a suicidal patient to an outpatient clinic in Canon City and putting him up in a hotel, 160 miles away from Clear View.

CDPHE filed the report on June 24, demanding Clear View respond to the allegations within 90 days or forfeit its license.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser told Denver Channel 7 earlier this summer that the state and the Larimer County Attorney’s Office are also investigating a patient’s death and claims of Medicare and Medicaid fraud alongside CDPHE. No suits had been filed as of print time.

Lawrence Pacheco, a spokesman for the office, said the investigation is ongoing.

Clear View overhauls staff, denies allegations

After the CDPHE report was released, Clear View’s parent company told BizWest that it would continue to work with state officials, and that it brought in a new executive team, including new CEO Sharon Pendlebury, chief clinical officer Victoria Cordova and director of operations Janaque McDonough from hospitals in Wyoming.

Clear View filed its response with the state on July 24, denying almost every charge made against it by saying it didn’t have enough information to admit or deny the state’s allegations, or saying that the allegations were immaterial to their licensing agreement.

“Respondents deny that loose pencils are contraband,” Clear View’s letter read in response, contrary to what CDPHE’s report said is in the hospital’s safety checklist.

Clear View also said it didn’t have enough information to admit or deny that one of its patients had used heroin on himself or herself and others, and further stated “the incidents alleged… are not relevant to whether a material breach of the conditional license… occurred.”

The CDPHE report said it found the heroin use evidence from Clear View’s own incident report.

To the (administrative law) courts

The CDPHE’s case now goes to an administrative law judge, which are run by the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts. Doug Platt, a spokesman for the department, said the sides agreed to hold a pre-hearing conference on Sept. 23, when presiding judge Tanya Light could set a date to hear arguments and decide if the case will be open or closed to the public, depending on privacy considerations for staff and patients.

There’s no required timeframe for Light to recommend whether CDPHE should or shouldn’t revoke Clear View’s license, and the final decision rests solely with the department.

Editor’s note: This story was sent to press on Aug. 29, 2019. For updates, please visit www.bizwest.com.

Note: listen to our conversation on Clear View and Colorado’s broader mental health trends with KUNC. The segment begins at 14:52.

Here’s a recap of what the hospital has been accused of and what litigation is scheduled so far.

JOHNSTOWN — As it stands, Clear View Behavioral Center’s future will be debated in an administrative law court in late September.

The 92-bed psychiatric hospital in Johnstown has been under fire for months for several safety incidents found during multiple state visits, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is attempting to shut the facility down for good.

Investigations abound

CDPHE granted an initial license to Clear View in November 2015, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave its blessing for the center to take federal insurance the following February.

The state health agency began investigating four separate state and federal complaints sometime after and closed the probe on July 28, 2018, issuing findings of “immediate jeopardy” to Clear View for failing to maintain sanitary conditions and failing to investigate patient falls and suicide attempts. The CDPHE report also said Clear View was cited for 85 code violations and breached Medicare’s rules for participation seven times, putting it in jeopardy of losing access to Medicare participation by this June.

Clear View responded late last December, saying that it had resolved the problems and asked the department not to downgrade it with a…