The Minnehaha County Detoxification Center has been forced to keep its doors closed to any new patients for some time, due to issues involving safety of its patients and staff.
This comes after a series of allegations made and an investigation by the state.
Allegations include improper documentation and safety training when it comes to caring for detox patients. Last month, the state's Social Services Division of Health inspected the facility and released a report indicating a score of 55% which put the center on probation.
Later, the state ordered the staff to close its doors to new patients until authorities create a plan of correction.
That plan was submitted this week and the county is now awaiting a response.
The Minnehaha County Detox Center cares for drug or alcohol patients as a safe way for them to sober up. The center will see a maximum of 16 patients at a time, they stay between 24-48 hours at a time.
Some recent allegations have put the center in jeopardy, like improper documenting and safety training.
"We knew there were issues revolving around the IVC's, or involuntary commitments, and those were the ones we were working on to address, the specific allegations did come to a surprise to the county," Commission Administrative Officer Ken McFarland said.
The allegations were things one former employee knew all too well.
"There was no plan of action on what to do in an emergency, bomb threat, tornado warning, fire drills, and that just put everyone at risk," Wendee Mulroy said.
While Wendee worked on the floor, she didn't know who to report a deficiency to and anyone she did, she says, didn't take it seriously.
"I hate to blind side them but these concerns were voiced over and over and when staff are pulling knives from patients, that's a serious issue," Mulroy said.
While she said it's unfortunate a state agency had to intervene, changes were long overdue.
"The changes they're making are wonderful changes. It's going to benefit everyone, the staff the patients and relieve some stress knowing there's a plan of action now," Wendee Mulroy said.
"We're confident, based on what we've seen, that the commitment of the contractor Correct Care Solutions, the state and the county, to make sure we have a quality program that's safe, effective and doing what it's supposed to do," Commissioner Ken McFarland said.
Minnehaha County officials await the state's response to allow the detox center to re-open its doors to new patients. They're expecting that go-ahead as early as this week.
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