KIDS Says Charges Stem From Disgruntled Patients
El Paso Times
A controversial El Paso rehabilitation program's license is jeopardized by complaints "from disgruntled patients making false statements," the program's director said Saturday. KIDS of El Paso plans to appeal a report by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse that threatens to revoke the program's license April 12, KIDS Director *** said. It was the first public response by KIDS to the commission's January report. The commission found a number of violations of state licensing regulations - including physical abuse, neglect and civil-rights violations during an inspection last summer of the center at 6500 Boeing. The commission report said that unless the program corrected the violations, it would lose its license April 12. KIDS cannot appeal the commission's findings until after a second inspection. *** said the commissioners did not include in their investigation clients who were pleased with the program's results and apparently spoke only with clients who had lodged complaints. He said some items in the commission's report needed to be discussed and that the criticism KIDS received regarding its acceptance of patients with eating disorders, and its operation as an outpatient center, was undeserved. When KIDS received its license, *** said, it was understood it would accept patients with eating disorders. And, he said it was the commission's idea that KIDS operate on an outpatient basis. "Because of these and other erroneous portions of the executive director's order, the KIDS of El Paso program has been seriously jeopardized, leaving them no other alternative but to challenge the commission's executive director's order through due process of an administrative appeal," *** said in a news release. Program officials want to appeal the commission's decision because they never were given a chance to respond to the 56 findings, he said. But when KIDS officials filed the appeal March 11, they were told they had to wait until after the commission's follow-up inspection, *** said. "We do think that we can comply on a number of issues. It's simply a matter of paperwork and policies," he said "As a matter of fact, we are already in compliance." He said officials had hoped to talk with commissioners before any action is taken, because to come into compliance with some of the violations would change the structure of the program, which is known for its strictness. The program treats people between 13 and 21 years old who have eating disorders, problems with alcohol or drugs, or other behavioral problems. Most of KIDS' clients are from El Paso County. The commission began its investigation after receiving several complaints, including one from an 18 year-old man old who said he was held against his will.