Weathering the wind and the low temperatures, a group of more than a dozen concerned parents, registered nurses, and other former employees of Michiana Behavioral Health Center in Plymouth made their voices heard yesterday evening as they stood along the side of Oak Road near the intersection of U.S. 30, holding signs expressing their discontent with the MBHC. The group of protestors claimed that the center is putting children in danger through a variety of policy violations, understaffing, and inadequate supervision, along with a hostile work environment that they allege has caused more than 50 employees to quit their jobs or be fired.
One of the protestors, a registered nurse and former six-and-a-half-year employee of MBHC, told WKVI that she could not sit idly by as the center committed what she claimed were a barrage of violations that put staff and patients alike in harm’s way.
“They’re directly endangering them, knowingly. It’s not an accident, and it’s not a maybe; it’s going to happen, and it has,” she said. “And I just couldn’t stomach it. These kids have been abused to death already.”
Diamond Campbell claims MBHC is dangerously understaffed, and any attempts made by staff members to follow correct policy – rather than the policies that she claims the administration makes up on the fly – often result in termination. She said the center has thrown out the policy book and alleges MBHC no longer follows state-mandated regulations put in place to protect patients from aggressive preteen children and adolescents.
“They have kids that are known sexual predators; they’re allowing them to be roomed with anybody and everybody. There is no increased level of observation, which, in the past, has always been implemented. When there was a child that came in that was known to be a predator, they would be either placed in a room by themselves or they would be placed with staff sitting outside their bedroom door, continuously, all the way throughout the night. Well, they decided that they were not going to do that any longer – it was not cost effective. So, really, they’re going against their own written policy,” she claimed.
On top of that, Campbell maintains that the center no longer segregates patients by age groups – that is, she claims the center will place preteen children, ages 3 to 12, in the same room as adolescents, ages 13 to 17.
She went on to assert that the center no longer takes into account violent or sexual histories when placing patients on increased observation, when they would previously assign a staff member to watch the patient at all times to prevent any incidents.
“They began violating it in December. They started putting out memos – I’ve got emails from the assistant director of nursing as well as the director of nursing stating that they were no longer going to place people on any increased level of observation due to past history,” Campbell claimed. “Well, past history is everything, because in the past they’ve molested, in the past they’ve raped, in the past they’ve abused. So it’s very pertinent, and that is what their intake process entails, is nothing but history of what kind of behaviors these children have.”
Campbell said she is disgusted by the behavior exhibited by the center’s CEO and director of nursing, and they’re not just picketing for awareness. She said the protestors would like to see a change in administration at MBHC.
“I would like them to stop endangering these kids,” Campbell said. “They’ve been abused enough. It needs to stop. They’re doing it for a dollar – that’s abundantly clear. I would like to see the CEO and the director of nursing out of there because, clearly, they have no moral standing. If you would do that to a child, as far as I’m concerned, they’re as bad as a pedophile – they’re serving them up; they’re putting them in a bedroom with known sexual predators, so how do they look themselves in the mirror? I don’t really know.”
More than a dozen former employees of MBHC compiled a collection of letters detailing alleged policy violations, HIPPA violations, employee discrimination, and various crimes such as falsification or destruction of legal documents, patient charts and other paperwork. This 27-page compilation has since been forwarded to various news agencies, Senator Joseph Donnelly, Governor Mike Pence, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, the Department of Labor, the State Department of Health, the Protection and Advices Service Commission of Indiana, the Department of Justice, CCHR International, the Family and Social Services Administration, the Joint Commission, Universal Health Services, Medicaid’s FSSA Compliance Division, and the Civil Rights Commission.
Attempts to reach the CEO of Michiana Behavior Health Center were unsuccessful, but officials at the center indicated he was out of town and will issue his response to these allegations at a later time.