September 11, 2015

Substance Abuse Treatment Center Ordered To Hire Overseer

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A New Haven substance abuse treatment center that was fined $2,500 by the state last year has agreed to hire a temporary manager to oversee its operations as more violations have been found at the facility.

Crossroads Inc., at 54 East Ramsdell St., must hire the temporary manager to act as executive director for six months to correct a number of violations that the state Department of Public Health (DPH) found during three days of inspections in May.

The manager will review all staffing levels, have full access to bank accounts, review the center’s behavioral health services, and report to the state regularly on improvements, under a consent order signed Aug. 21 by Genoveva Palmieri, chairperson of Crossroads’ board of directors.

In 2014, the center was fined and placed on probation for two years for multiple violations of state regulations. At the time the state found that the center allowed clients to take a 2013 limousine ride to New Haven City Hall to vote with alcohol in the vehicle.

In August 2014, Palmieri and the new executive director, Clifford Skolnick, said they were correcting the violations the state had found. They could not be reached for comment this week.

In May, inspectors found that the center failed to maintain a clean and safe environment, failed to maintain a clean and sanitary kitchen, and failed to report or investigate incidents of clients smoking, falling, or attempting suicide, DPH records show.

The inspectors found dirty floors, a missing toilet seat, torn mattresses, broken floor tiles, and unsecured bottles of bleach, records show. In the case of a client who fell out of bed and suffered a concussion in February, no incident report or investigative report was on file.

No investigation was documented when a client overdosed March 6 on heroin and was hospitalized, records show. The center failed to report the overdose immediately by phone to DPH and failed to submit a written report within 72 hours, records show. After the overdose, staff members found 10 to 12 bags of white powder in the client’s closet and 10 to 12 empty bags in a trash can, records show.

A client used heroin and passed out in a bathroom at the center on March 28, records show. Other clients performed CPR and resuscitated the client. No staff members were available at the time and no incident report was completed, records show. The staff did not learn of the incident until May when a different client mentioned it during a therapy session, DPH found.

In February, a client who had tried to commit suicide reported being called a “cry baby” by a staff member, records show. No investigation was conducted into the allegation and there was no documentation to show the center intervened further to prevent the client’s self-destructive behavior, DPH found.

In 2014, state records showed that Crossroads’ executive director at the time, Dr. Miguel Caldera, had allowed a board member to take clients in the limo to vote on Nov. 5, 2013, and that some of the female clients reported some of the male clients smelled of alcohol. Skolnick, who replaced Caldera, told C-HIT in August 2014 that under his direction “there is a great deal of supervision” at the center and that he was “more hands-on” than Caldera.

To view consent order go here.

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