Local News

State attempting to revoke license of Raeford psychiatric facility, report alleges staff abused patients

Posted November 15, 2018 5:53 p.m. EST
Updated November 15, 2018 10:32 p.m. EST

— The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is moving to revoke the license of a Raeford psychiatric center where young patients were allegedly subject to physical and verbal abuse.

According to an Oct. 23 report, the Canyon Hills Treatment Facility failed to provide an adequately structured living environment and supervision.

The report shows that staff members at the facility verbally and physically abused children as young as 6. Incidents include reports of staff members mocking patients, staff members slapping patients and children bullying one another with staff members failing to intervene.

The report also states young patients were punished for circulating a petition asking for better food, and records show at least eight children lost weight after being admitted to the 24-bed facility.

The report said police and Child Protective Services conducted investigations into the allegations, but staff members were resistant and uncooperative when authorities attempted to speak to patients and staff members.

Staff members refused to let authorities meet with a patient who alleged he was molested by another child at the facility, the report says.

“Management and staff at Canyon Hills take very seriously the care and treatment of clients in our care. The complaints referred to in the state’s report, some of which the state determined could not be substantiated, have been appropriately addressed through our own internal review,” Canyon Hills CEO Michaeux Hollingsworth said in a statement.

In a letter dated Oct. 26, the Department of Health and Human Services states that Canyon Hills failed to comply with licensing rules for mental health services by violating clients’ rights and, as a result, the department will revoke the facility’s license.

The facility had 10 days to submit a written statement to show compliance with the law in order to retain their license.

Hollingsworth said Canyon Hills has filed a petition with the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings to request a review of the findings in the state report.

“We believe the state’s findings will be determined to be factually and legally unfounded,” he said in a statement. “In the meantime, we will continue to cooperate fully with the state and continue to support the families we serve.”

State officials have suspended all admissions to the facility until conditions are improved and inspected.

Canyon Hills will also face a $3,000 penalty fee for violating state rules for psychiatric residential treatment facilities.