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March 12, 2013

Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center Recieves More Press (not the good kind) and Another Whistleblower Suit

Over the weekend, Colleen Heild wrote an article for the Albuquerque Journal about the Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center. You can read it here.  It outlined a pair of questionable restraints and the visit by the state of New Mexico Human Services Department's (HSD) Licensing and Certification Authority (LCA) which is a part Children, Youths and Family Division (CYFD) which we highlighted here.

Also mentioned in the aricle, was director Anita Westbrook's temporary reassignment to the facility in Roswell (brace yourself Rehab).

KRQE and other stations also picked up the story



But I guess all press is good press, right?
 
In a change that has not been officially announced,  Sequoyah will be closing one of the lodges.  Sequoyah has been running with a 10-25% vacancy rate since Dr. Babak Mirin's company Healing Gardens/New Mexico Psychiatric Services was awarded a lucrative contract to take over services at the facility.  Before Dr. Mirin's arrival Sequoyah usually had a waiting list of kids seeking treatment.

Also mentioned in the journal article was the emergence of yet another whistleblower lawsuit and the New Mexico Department of Health.  Amy Chapman filed with the First District Court in Santa Fe.

Here is the complaint:



It appears the state of New Mexico will be paying out another settlement to another whistleblower with a well-substantiated claim.  It would seem to make more sense to do the right thing instead of what is being done now at DOH.

What are your thought?  Please share them below.

58 comments:

  1. Amy was one the worst managers at SATC. Her job was only secured because she was friends with Lea. She was never qualified to manage. I cannot believe the desperate measures these people will take, it's embarrassing. They sure have been reduced!

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    1. Good try. Everything in the articlle is true, except most of the responses by DOH.

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    2. Mrs. 20 thousand smoke breaks, they could have dismissed her just for that alone!

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    3. Wonder how "reduced" Amy will feel when she gets her settlement!! Didn't that PRC whistleblower get a million dollars? The only desperation I can see if DOH trying to CYA for all their misdeeds... wonder when the cost of lawsuits will outweigh the price paid to Dr. Mirin??

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    4. Speaking of Whistleblower lawsuits, I was looking at NM Courts and noticed that the cowards at DOH are asking for a summary judgement in the Robert (Bob) Ortiz case. Is this because they are afraid of what information he might have on Duffy Rodriguez, Mike Mulligan and sleazy Bernice Gonzalez? Probably, hope Bob gets a big settlement. So much for Mulligan calling Bob a liar, I think we know who the true liars are Mike. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. Good Luck Bob.

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    5. Try again...It's a Summary Judgement AGAINST Ortiz...DOH is trying to get money FROM Ortiz stating his claims are FALSE and throw his case out...they just did the same in the other cases...it's their latest thing...they're doing it in all the Whistleblower cases...just another way to attack their victims...and increase their body count...they destroy lives take away everything...leave you penniless and homeless...they push you to your limit and leave you with nothing...they're all bastards and won't take responsiblity for anything...check the court documents...

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    6. That's why Diane Moore kicked their ass and they settled out of court with her. Bob will do the same and I can't wait to see that. The reason these lawyers work for DOH and the State is because they can't cut it in the real lawyer world. Just like the overpaid losers like Mike and Bernice would not be able to cut it in the private sector and get paid what the State pays them for doing nothing and jacking with people. Justice will prevail.

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    7. I remember when Bernice Gonzales was on the the santa fe reporter for her hiring practices and Diane Moore new exactly what she was doing and brought that out to the medias attention but you know what she still continues to hire friends and family I can't see why there HR Department lets this happen I hear that she sits in all the interviews and of course all her other buddies sit in with her and this is how it works she gets them all to agree on the person she is going to hire. See Bernice has gotten as far as helping them with their resumes to get them on the list, boy thats a no no. My question here is why isn't there HR Department sitting in on these interviews why is she? Oh and she also does the ones at the facilities isn't that weird boy doesn't DOH realize she is hurting the Department wake up fourh floor her name sticks out on everyone of them hello... Catherine Torres isn't there anymore so you don't have to be afraid of her. Just look into her education and see if she is qualified for her position I know they are looking into it at SPO so don't be afraid. Look the way she has her Departments trained give them a bone and they will jump. Go pick up my lunch go do this go do that poor her employees if you don't do it you get to be bullied isn't that how it works with her. Just for you FYI thanks for the interview, but no thanks.

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    8. Good to see that there is someone else that sees Bernice for what she really is. A lying, stealing, coniving individual. It is just so sad that the Secretary's that DOH has had don't do anything about her. Seems to me that they are just as corrupt. I hope that SPO is really looking at her credentials and that she will be outed by them. Maybe I will talk to a Senator and Representative who are both close friends about this person and see if we can't rectify the situation. I am no longer employed by DOH so I have nothing to lose, just looking out for the GOOD people that do work at DOH. Sad to hear that things have not changed.

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    9. Acutally there is alot of people in the building that see what Bernice is really like it's just they don't want to speak up because they are afraid of what will happen to them but yes they do know. I just wish they would come out on this blog and tell us what they know if it worked for Catherine Torres getting rid of her then it has to work for us.She is the rotten potatoe in the bag and we need to rid of her but then I can see why they don't speak up she has Mr.Green and Richard Crespie and the Human Resources to back her up. Oh and Bernice if you read this yeah your buddies talk about you they just suck up to you because they know you already gave them a raise and they know you will do it again before you leave or you will work on the other ones that didn't get it this time around you will justify it some how you always find a way.

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    10. Andele Rick, don't be so goloso, you already made a bad ass pension, the same goes for Mike and Eileen although they still have a few years to retire. You all come across as hating Bernice, but you are just as bad as her. When you all retire you will retire with a lot of bad Karma on your hands. Rick with your I can't help you with your bureau because Jim Green won't let me, Eileen knowing what the budget is and playing the part that her bureau is affected just as bad as yours, BS, and finally Mike having the nerve to look you in the eye and saying that you can't hire for your bureau and yet giving your position away at the same time, balless. Yes you helped people in your little ways, but you have screwed people in big ways. The bad part is that humanity dictates that when you people are gone and Bernice is gone, the good people of DOH will still have to contend with shitty people just like you. It's just a bad circle that will never be broken. Jimmy boy, I didn't forget you, but then again you really aren't worth the mention. Live with yourselves assholes. God will provide the vengeance.

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    11. See how DOH works they are already working on a justification for Ivy Martinez Bernices girlfriend they are trying to get her a raise I will keep you updated when we find out exactly what they are doing to justify it. They think we don't know but it comes out eventually.

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    12. Guess the Budget isn't that bad after all. In ASD If Bernice is your boss and she LIKES you or you can do something for her, there is money in the budget. However, the lowest paid positions in ASD that are crucial are left vacant because DOH needs to save money. What's wrong with that picture? Everything! Read today's Jouran North, the former head of the Reg and Licensing HR Bureau by the name of Mary Ellen Carr had the morals and guts to file a whistleblower lawsuit after the Bernice's of her Department asked her to do illegal HR practices. Too bad the head of our HR Bureau has the spine of a chocolate eclair and no morals to boot. Business as usual in ASD. Keep us up to date if you hear more.

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  2. how do you sleep at night?3/12/13, 2:35 PM

    Say what you want about Amy and Lea, the fact is neither was perfect, but no one can honestly say they did not care about the most important thing-- THE KIDS! Whoever the people are who insist on putting disparaging comments about any staff on here are completely missing the point. It is not a matter of whether anyone is a perfect employee (none of us are) but whether the residents are being properly cared for.

    What is clearly demonstrated by the investigations by CYFD and DRNM into the recent practices at SATC is that there are violations of federal and state standards that negatively affect the residents. Amy, Lea, and the other 53 people who signed the memo knew this and advocated against it. They were also advocating for the staff!! Some people paid a huge price for that, and no one who is still at SATC has been unaffected. Management will tell you the problems at SATC are because of the people who are "complaining", but the reality is that there would not be directed actions from CYFD if our leadership had not chosen to violate the standards.

    By the way, we all know they ones who sold out and removed their names (most of you have gotten promotions and raises). Does it feel good to have sold your soul to the devil? Was a few extra pennies really worth it?

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    1. Oh well, I truly doubt a million dollars is in the works. They should be prepared to work in the near future. Karma's a bitch!!

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    2. yes, what you say about Karma is correct and from what it looks like she's at Anita's doorstep! Wonder who she will visit next; Mirin? Kathy? Brenda? The sell-outs?

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    3. DDSD is next. Did you see Friday's ABQ Journal. Apparently there is a lawsuit from DD waiver participants and their families. DDSD, tag you're it. Yes, Retta Ward was named (even before being confirmed). Oh! Let's not forget about the firing and lawsuit that will be coming from that whole SIS debacle too. This time the employees will be personally sued for their role in the DDSD firings too. So let's see... Retta walks into the SATC debacle, SIS debacle and the passel of firings that will hopefully become a class action lawsuit. Maybe Retta Ward has the integrity to do the right thing by current and fired employees of SATC and DDSD and any other Division during the Torres reign. Meanwhile, fight on SATC!

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    4. SATC will fight on! And so should DDSD! Send stuff to johnathan and/or the journal! The media attention is all that seems to matter!

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  3. Just read the Chapman lawsuit. Who does DOH think they are! They are really out of control and I am glad employees are challenging this improper and illegal behavior! This Westbrook lady and that psychiatrist should ne immediately terminated!

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  4. Anita is alive and well3/13/13, 6:44 AM

    Despite DOH telling the Journal reporter that Anita Westbrook has been transferred, she still remains at SATC, and continues in her typical "leadership" style. The deterioration of SATC's program since her arrival has been due to her disrespectful, dismissive attitude toward employees, her lack of concern for the residents, her "quick fixes" to cover neglectful or improper acts; the lack of thoughtful discourse prior to making sweeping, dramatic policy or procedural changes, all leading to confusion, inconsistencies, fear, etc. This week's performance was no different. To "quick fix" the staffing shortage caused by her failure to maintain hiring of milieu staff and to get licensing (aka our "little friends at CYFD" as Mirin referred to them in a threat to us) off her back, it was decided to close one of the four lodges and transfer the staff and residents to other lodges. Anita informs one department head of the decision and word quickly gets out. No other staff was informed - not the clinical staff, not the lodge managers, not the staff of the lodge being closed. When word gets back to them that staff are confused, scared about their jobs, uncertain about anything, management quickly runs to that lodge and meets with staff to assure them that no decision has yet been made. We are left with questions we have often had after Westbrook's actions: What is truth - what is a lie? If the lodge wasn't being closed, why did Anita tell anyone that it was to be closed? If it is being closed (which is the likely scenario), why wasn't it announced in an appropriate, concerted manner, and why then was the staff most affected not told the truth? This is Westbrook's repertoire: Appearance versus Reality; Lack of Communication to and regard for staff and residents; etc., etc., etc. Absolutely NO intellectual or emotional integrity with Westbrook (or Brenda Frink, the clinical director). They don't even seem concerned that what they do or say MAKES NO SENSE. This is why they do not want staff input or questions. Having to respond to such might make them have to THINK - which obviously is bad for their health.

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  5. Secrets, lies, cover-ups. That is Anita!

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  6. So, I guess the nine youth sitting in a jail cell will just have to wait to get treatment.

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  7. After Anita does leave (we are counting down the days), I hope Gayle Nash values her employees enough to listen to them. Had Anita or Mirin not been so arrogant and demeaning to employees, they might have heard why their ad hoc procedural changes would not work. Most of these have been shown to be ill-advised, and after many ruminations of policy changes, many have gone back to the original. Not that Anita deserved to be saved from her exile to Roswell, but she could have avoided this fate had she simply valued and listened to her employees. She does not have any history of doing that (thus the Turquoise Lodge letter to then Sec. Vigil). Mirin I have no hope or concern for but he will no doubt continue to self-destruct because he is no more than a simple crook. SATC employees are not stupid (as Mirin unashamedly described them in a meeting); staff do not have to just "do as they are told", as Anita often stated, and, as we have shown, we will continue to fight back. DOH officials and SATC management have no more right to their jobs as the rest of us do.

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  8. I think SATC management might really be delusional.
    You see, they think they are top military officials, guarding secret information that if leaked, would cause mass hysteria among those primitive people known as staff. I refer to the latest intelligence they hold not so closely to their vests - the possible closing of a lodge. Or maybe this just increaases their already inflated sense of self-importance. Could they be more ridiculous?

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  9. Of course Dr, Mirin did not write an order for the restraint to last longer than two hours - he wasn't on-site to monitor it! He does everything remotely by phone. SATC has on-site psychiatrists maybe 4 hours a day max - but he is billing for 8 hours. Why isn't Dr. Mirin there, then? Because he is also at another state facility where he also bills for 8 hours daily. DOH knows this - they are paying the bill. Wonder what the average taxpayer would think of this double-dipping? And state employees for whom the governor opposes a mere 1% pay raise, the first in more than 5 years.

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  10. Good thing Dr. Babak Mirin has those attorneys he often boasted about to SATC employees - seems the El Fidel hotel in Las Vegas, NM has started a court case against him for money owed. But wait - shouldn't he have money to pay his hotel bill with all those lucrative state contracts?

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    Replies
    1. Just another example of what we already knew- Babak is a jackass.

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  11. Sequoyah under Gardner/Denton= 12-13 master's level or above clinical staff, 36 beds full most times and a waiting list, 4 lodge managers, one master's level milieu director, fully staffed nursing department, revenue generated most years, generally positive reputation.

    Under Westbrook/Frink= 7 clinical staff, art "therapist" being replaced by an associate's level person, milieu "manager" will likely be filled by someone with a hs diploma, 25% vacancy rate and admissions stopped, 2 lodge managers and one glorified evening supervisor being paid at a manager's rate, huge vacancies in all deparments except administration, directed actions from CYFD, investigation by DRNM, huge expenditures in overtime, worker's comp injuries, and sick time, lawsuits, and negative media attention.

    Doesn't take a genius to figure this one out...

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    1. Apparently it does take a genius to figure this one out! Well Roswell, I guess this is what you have to look forward to with Anita coming your way! I don't know much about your program but I have much sympathy for it and for the staff, hopefully your program won't endure too much from this disease called Wesbrook.

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    2. I guess all the money is going to pay the contract psychiatrist's outrageous rate. Dr. Crumley gave was on grounds at least 40 hours a week, often more. We're lucky if we get 4 hours a day of substandard psychiatric care.

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    3. Substandard psychiatric care four hours daily at the bargain rate of $2000 per day.

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    4. That's $500 per hour!

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  12. Today should be Anita Westbrook's last day, however, I am not sure SATC can ever recover from her damage.

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  13. I wonder why Dr. Mirin is not subject to the same DOH rules as other contractors are, nor is held accountable for his many misdeeds, including double billing. Is it because of his association with Keith Gardner?

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    1. It's because of his association with Brad. They worked together at ENMMC in Roswell before Brad was fired from there.

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  14. Dr Mirin showed up with a stranger to Sequoyah over the weekend and brought her down to see clients on the lodge. Not only is this a gross breach if Sequoyah policy but I HIPPA violation. I wonder how parents will feel about the safety and privacy of their kids? Come on how much more illegal activity do people need to see before this guy goes?

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    1. Again, why does DOH allow a mere contractor to violate policies and procedures? Highly suspicious.

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    2. He does the same thing at NMRC. We were told that all of Dr. Merin's staff did not have to follow our policies regarding HIPPA or any of the regular policies regarding Federal Regulations 42 CFR part 2. They did not have to complete normal proceedures an if staff questioned it we were told it was none of our buisness. One weekend he tried to put one of his physicians on call when he was not even credentialed.

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    3. I have no doubt that all of this will come back to haunt DOH, AND THEY DESERVE NO LESS.

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    4. NMRC - please consider contacting whatever federal or state regulatory group or advocacy group oversees your agency. Many of the illegal/improper ways of Mirin/Westbrook at SATC have been stopped because staff kept calling the oversight agencies. Trust me - DOH doesn't care, but the oversight agencies do!

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  15. As a former employee of SATC for many years, I am heartsick and outraged at what has happened there since Henry Gardner was forced out and Anita Westbrook came in. DOH should be held accountable for letting this happen, particularly after the August 2012 memo of concern by employees that was completely ignored by Westbrook and DOH. What a terrible situation for the residents and my former colleagues. My condolences.

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  16. Sad to hear all of the mess going on at SATC but at least the employees have stood up to protest the wrong-doings!
    Don't stop until you make it right. Without the whistleblowers this stuff goes on forever!

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  17. Kathy Lucero, HR at SATC, did such a poor job maintaining hiring of milieu staff, and Westbrook/Frink created such a hostile work environment causing so many staff to leave - that SATC has had to close one of its four lodges due the staffing shortage crisis. Hope Gayle Nash realizes these are the reasons for the current crisis.

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  18. Did Anita show up in Roswell this week? Rumor has it she may retire early...

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    1. Heard she was taking Vacation and will be retiring in July.

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    2. We all received an email from HR saying Anita is due at NMRC Monday morning as the new facility administrator. She's been here before and did nothing but walk around like a queen and act like she is better than anyone else. Dr. Mirin hasn't been in the building for months and there is no weekend coverage on the CDU and no one cares. I don't know why Secretary Ward is letting Brad move Anita here. She should be fired along with Brad, Dr. Adams and Gail. There might be time for DOH to recover if she got rid of the trash in OFM. Our finance director has been the interim administrator but she wasn't in today so I hope she hasn't been fired to make room for Anita. Someone please stop all this madness!

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    3. Please keep us informed via this blog on both Mirin and Westbrook so we can let the right people know.

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    4. Anita came to NMRC Monday mid morning and left by mid afternoon on Tuesday and didn't come back. She said she would be back Tuesday but doesn't account fir where she was Wednesday through Friday and the upcoming Monday. While here, she sat behind closed door with certain staff but didn't say much to the rest of us.

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    5. That's what she did at Sequoyah. When on grounds, she mostly sat at her empty desk and had long conversations with select people.

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    6. Everyone at SATC is sooooo happy Westbrook is gone.

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  19. Hopefully DOH sent her home - she can't do too much damage there- and she can stay occupied painting her walls mauve.

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  20. The Whistleblower act, DOH breaks that all the time. Well I remember seeing the article in the Journal about SATC. Even Gayle Nash was in the article. Well I hate to say it but Gayle Nash breaks whistleblower act too. Maybe their will be a ABQ journal article about that... Another problem place is the Los Lunas Community Program, Article 7 of Civil rights of 1964 was broken. Two people filed a compliant against two other people, the people that filed were retalitated against and disciplined for doing the right thing by Gayle Nash in her "Action Plan". I feel sorry for these two people that filed a compliant. The two people that the compliants were against were brought back after being disciplined. That breaks article 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the DOH zero tolerance policy. Thats when the Federal Investigators come in... Well maybe whistleblower Lawsuits need to be filed against DOH so they would correct the problem. Well how about filing a civil suit against the people that create the problems.

    Knowledge is Power...

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  21. There are several Whistle-blower lawsuit's against DOH! The problem's still persist even though the lawsuits have been filed. I personally do not see the problem's being rectified or expect to see a resolution in the near or distant future! sad,sad,sad =(

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  22. Milan Simonich @ elpasotime.com writes a good analysis of Martinez' lackluster governance of New Mexico. As y'all know she has a heavy hand but lacks vision regarding the public good. Spread the word; statewide election is just around the corner.

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  23. I saw that Anita Westbrook was at Sequoyah this week. Did she come to tour her ruins?

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    1. Anything that gets Anita out of NMRC for even a day is a good thing for the employees. The Director of Nursing Ronita "Nan" McKinley has driven out so many nurses that they are all working 12 hour shifts---four days one week and 3 days and 4 hours the next. Nan said that the nurses all had to agree before it would be enacted. Well, it certainly wasn't unanimous, but nurses are working it now. Roswell is way down south from anywhere but the maltreatment and skullduggery are just as bad as anywhere else. I understand that one nurse who was fired has filed a civil suit for unfair termination. I hope she soaks them.

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  24. And ruins it is! Every day Sequoyah slips a little further down the drain. Sad that a place that was helping so many violent, troubled young men has been destroyed by blind ambition, incompetence and greed. Staff continue to resign due to dangerous and poor working conditions. A team of oversight consultants, quality assurance personnel and investigators have taken over without due diligence, such as really meeting and interviewing the staff or spending time observing the residents in the milieu and in school, so as to know the population served. Instead they have hurled uninformed dictates at the staff, usually with disastrous results.

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    1. I heard another therapist is leaving. How many does that leave? 5? Well, I guess if it truely will be a medical model then you don't really need therapists, right? And milieu staff will just become the guards that Mirin once said they were. "Therapy" will become exactly what Mirin set out for it to be-- medication and sedation. And for those kids who need mental health treatment? I guess they won't find it there. Sad.

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