DENVER — One month after state regulators moved to revoke the license of Clear View Behavioral Health, attorneys for the Strategic Behavioral Health, Clear View's parent company, have lashed out at against state accusations. In a 22-page response, Clear View's attorneys denied allegations made by the State of Colorado and reported by Contact7 Investigates during the past seven months.
More than five dozen insiders have reached out to Denver7 since January. Former patients, family members, current employees, and former employees stepped forward to share troubling accusations about the 92-bed mental health hospital located about an hour north of Denver in Johnstown. Claims included two questionable deaths, holding patients longer than medically necessary, stealing from patients, charging Medicare and Medicaid for phantom therapy sessions and a series of troubling suicides shortly after patients were discharged from the facility.
Since Denver7 first reported issues at Clear View, state regulators have conducted several unscheduled visits. Records obtained through the state's open records law show investigators uncovered 85 violations and confirmed 17 of 19 complaints filed with the state. Also, during the past year, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has placed the mental health hospital on an "immediate jeopardy" designation two separate times. The state says this is the most serious designation it is allowed to issue. In addition, back in January, the state downgraded Clear View's license to a "conditional license."
Clear View is currently under investigation by four state and two federal agencies — Colorado Department of Public Health CDPHE, Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies DORA, Colorado Attorney General, Colorado Department of Behavioral Health along with investigations by Medicare and Medicaid.
The legal response to the state's move to revoke the facilities license included multiple denials of the state's claims and a demand for a hearing before an administrative law judge. State regulators say it could take up to six months for that hearing to take place.
Clear View remains open and operating under that conditional license while the legal process now unfolds. Randy Kuykendall, the director of facilities for CDPHE, says his regulators are keeping a close watch on Clear View, including a recent unannounced visit to inspect the facility.
"The department remains absolutely committed to the notice of changes," said Kuykendall.
Kuykendall was the state regulator who made the decision to issue the license revocation to the hospital.
When talking about Clear View's 22-page response, he added, "that indicates to me that they do not believe their problems are as severe as we have documented."
MORE: Read all the statements from Clear View Behavioral Health and Strategic Behavioral Health sent since January by clicking here.
Kuykendall says the facility has continued to say it is doing a great job providing care for patients dealing with mental illness. He says his regulators simply haven't witnessed the quality care the facility claims it provides.
Clear View's public relations team released the following statement from Strategic Behavioral Health:
Clear View Behavioral Health is committed to providing safe, high-quality care to our patients and takes allegations concerning its operations and patient safety very seriously. We are contesting the state's allegations, and while we do so, we will continue to comply with the terms of our conditional license. We are one of a handful of hospitals in the state focusing exclusively on behavioral health, and we believe we should be allowed to continue to provide these vitally needed services.
However, we are unable to comment further beyond what is in our response to the state while this is an ongoing legal matter.