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Macomb County suspends referrals to Harbor Oaks Hospital one day after 7 Investigation

Officials cite concerns over quality and compliance
Posted: 4:35 PM, Jan 31, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-31 23:58:47-05
Profits over safety at psychiatric hospital?

MT. CLEMENS, Mich (WXYZ) — Macomb County officials stopped referring mental health clients to Harbor Oaks Hospital one day after a 7 Action News investigation revealing soaring reports of physical and sexual abuse.

Macomb County Community Mental Health CEO David Pankotai said today that the suspension followed months of delays by the hospital in turning over records about staff training and quality control.

“Until we’re comfortable that things are being done appropriately, we don’t want our folks to go there,” Pankotai said.

The suspension was announced 24-hours after a 7 Action News report detailing 14 alleged physical and sexual assaults that took place inside the facility over a recent five-month stretch.

RELATED: Violence soars inside Harbor Oaks hospital; more than a dozen assaults reported to police

County officials say that, since August, Harbor Oaks has failed to provide proof of staff training as well as evidence of improved service delivery. They’re also seeking data about hospital staffing levels.

"I think it’s very significant and I think it’s very welcome news," said Mark Reinstein, CEO of the Mental Health Association in Michigan. "That is the best thing that they could be doing at this point in time for patient protection and safety."

Pankotai said that while he was aware of a 7 Action News investigation of the hospital, the suspension of client referrals was merely coincidental.

Since the suspension of patient referrals, he says that Harbor Oaks officials have been more receptive to officials' requests.

Contact 7 Investigator Ross Jones at ross.jones@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.