Overview of violations at other Minnesota methadone clinicsThe Lake Superior Treatment Center is far from the only methadone clinic in Minnesota to be cited for serious violations of state and federal laws.
The Lake Superior Treatment Center is far from the only methadone clinic in Minnesota to be cited for serious violations of state and federal laws.
Since 2007, the state’s Department of Human Services cited clinics in Minnesota for more than 250 violations after inspections by investigators, even though the majority of those inspections were announced beforehand to the clinics, a News Tribune review found.
When serious violations were found, the penalties levied were modest. Lying to investigators was met with a $200 fine, the same as when a clinic hired a counselor without doing background check.
“The fines aren’t huge,” said Jerry Kerber, the inspector general for the DHS. “It’s what the state law allows us to issue.”
Most often, however, fines weren’t levied, despite clinics repeatedly violating state regulations. Most clinics were ordered to correct the violations in 30 days. Even if repeat violations were found, many clinics still didn’t face fines or sanctions on their license.
Clinics can go years between state inspections, the News Tribune found. State inspection records show no report on the Lake Superior Treatment Center between 2004 and 2009. Though DHS administrators said the agency’s goal is to inspect clinics every two years, the agency also said there is no statutory requirement for how often clinics must be inspected.
Kerber said the lag in inspections was due to the “lack of resources at DHS.”
“At the same time, we do follow up on complaints that we’ve received, but the results of those don’t always take the form of a correction order,” he said.
Of the state’s nine outpatient methadone clinics, five are owned by the Florida-based Colonial Management Group, including the Lake Superior Treatment Center in Duluth. Colonial Management also owns the Dakota Treatment Center in Burnsville, the St. Cloud Metro Treatment Center, the Rochester Metro Treatment Center and the St. Paul Metro Treatment Center.
An overview of some of the violations found by state investigators:
Report date: April 10, 2010
Violations included: Some employee files did not include documentation that they were given required training regarding maltreatment of patients and substance use disorders; some client files did not include initial service plans; some client files did not indicate that comprehensive assessments were being conducted.
Dakota Treatment Center
Report date: Dec. 9, 2011
Violations included: Client continued to receive take-home doses of methadone despite failing a urine test; several client files did not include documentation of treatment progress; counselors supervised more than 50 clients at a time.
Report date: May 3, 2010
Violations included: Numerous clients were not properly assessed for appropriate treatment plans; some client treatment plans did not include how they could complete treatment.
Report date: April 19, 2010
Violations included: Treatment director did not have required qualifications. The center provided false information to the DHS, telling the agency that it would remove the director, but the director continued in that position.
Hennepin Faculty Associates Addiction Medicine Program, Minneapolis
Report date: May 20, 2011
Violations included: Program provided false information to investigators; some counselors were not licensed.
Rochester Metro Treatment Center
Report date: Aug. 30, 2011
Violations included: Clinic failed to perform a background check on a counselor before being hired.
Report date: Aug. 30, 2007
Violations included: No documentation of required training for some counselors; some client files had no documentation showing they were addressing their treatment goals.
Specialized Treatment Services, Minneapolis
Report date: March 31, 2011
Violations included: Clinic failed to perform a background check on employee before hire; clients missing information on registry of methadone patients in state; clients not properly assessed for treatment; progress reviews for patients not taking place.
Report date: April 16, 2010
Violations included: Counselor found to be having sex with a client, a vulnerable adult.
Report date: Jan. 10, 2007
Violations included: Of the 33 violations found, several patients weren’t properly assessed for treatment or given required treatment information; others did not have treatment plans updated as often as required.
St. Cloud Metro Treatment Center
Report date: Aug. 8, 2007
Violations included: Counselor file did not contain adequate information to determine competency; some patient treatment plans not being updated.
Note: The DHS did not provide inspection reports of the program after Aug. 8, 2007.
St. Paul Metro Treatment Center
Report date: Oct. 18, 2011
Violations included: During an investigation, the clinic was unable to locate a client file; the program knowingly provided false and misleading information to investigators; client files were falsified.
Report date: July 20, 2011
Violations included: Patient given take-home doses of methadone despite failing a drug screen; group counseling not being offered.
Report date: May 20, 2011
Violations included: Clinic was not participating in state system measuring treatment outcomes for chemical dependency providers.
Report date: April 27, 2010
Violations included: Counselors were supervising more than 50 clients at a time.
Report date: March 22, 2010
Violations included: Counselors supervising more than 50 clients at a time.
Report date: Nov. 2, 2009
Violations included: Counselors were supervising more than 50 clients at a time; clients not appropriately screened for treatment and given necessary information; ongoing evaluation of some clients not performed.
Valhalla Place, Woodbury
Report date: July 30, 2009
Violations included: Some employee files did not have records that background checks were conducted on them or they received required training; client files didn’t have required information on chemical use history, previous treatments, or assessment summaries.