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VOL. 36 | NO. 35 | Friday, August 31, 2012

Detox center run by Nashville company under investigation

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Minnehaha County commissioners intend to investigate accusations made by former and current employees of a Sioux Falls detoxification center about conditions at the facility.

The Argus Leader reports (http://argusne.ws/PIbRMa ) that some nurses and detox technicians allege the facility is unsafe, unclean and that it serves as a homeless shelter. Employees also allege that there have been questionable practices with medical records.

"There won't be any stones unturned because those are incredibly serious (accusations)," Commissioner Gerald Beninga said. "We'll find the facts."

The investigation will include interviewing the employees who made the accusations.

The 16-bed facility is on the second floor of the Minnehaha County public safety building. It is intended to give drunks a place to sober up for 48 hours. But the facility is running at capacity, partly because of peop le who frequently are brought in by police and partly because of people who have been involuntarily committed by judges, such as pregnant women who drink.

It is run by a private company, Correct Care Solutions, of Nashville, Tenn. The company has refused requests for comment.

The county will pay the company $716,788 this year.

Beninga said initial conversations already have taken place with the center's supervisor and management coordinator, who denied the existence of problems described by employees.

"The early observations are that it's not accurate at all," Beninga said. "It's disgruntled staff that works in a very difficult environment."

But Tuesday, walls at the center were being repainted after the employees said that patients had painted gang graffiti and images of drugs on the walls. The facility's administrator, Keith Larson, admitted that patients were allowed to paint on the walls to express their artistic side, but the painting got ou t of hand.

Commission Chairman Dick Kelly said he visited the center Tuesday.

"We've taken care of the alleged graffiti issue," he said.