Controversial Mental Health Group Home Operator is ‘Breaking State Law’


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The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services determined that Hanbleceya, the company operating group homes in Normandy Park for mental health patients, is breaking state law, according to letter released Friday (Sept. 28).

“Please be advised that Washington State law requires an adult family home license to provide personal care, special care, room and board to more than one unrelated person in a family residence, as stated in Revised Code of Washington(RCW) RCW 70.128.050 and Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 388-76-10005,” reads the letter addressed to CEO Kerry Paulson and Chris Wilson, Milieu Director (full text of the letter is below).

DSHS is also requesting access to the group homes as well as clients so that it can monitor Hanblaceya’s actions.

It is also investigating four healthcare professionals who are suspected of failing to provide adequate care based on Department of Health complaints filed by the families of two former clients.

Hanblaceya has five days to respond.

“If you wish to continue to operate prior to licensure, within five days of receipt of this letter, you must provide a plan for how you will begin the process to become licensed,” reads the DSHS letter. “Part of this plan must include a safety plan to address how you will protect the residents’ rights and provide adequate care and services in your homes. If you are unable to submit an adequate plan, you must cease operating.”

As we previously reported, Hanblaceya’s group homes stirred up quite a bit of controversy, with numerous residents banding together and creating a group called Normandy Park Cares. NPC calls itself “a group of citizens that organized to hold the Company, the City and the State responsible for ensuring the public health and safety of all residents.”

On the NPC Facebook Page, at least one commenter is finding it odd that DSHS was only aware of three of the six homes Hanblaceya runs in Normandy Park:

“This action can give us some satisfaction but the fact that an investigation of a public health issue of this magnitude could miss almost half of the places they should be investigating just exacerbates my sense that the DOH is still not up to the job,” Kathleen Waters wrote. “A public records request for all documents pertaining to the investigation has been sent out. With that in hand it may be possible to discover what else was overlooked in this investigation. I believe there are quite a few of us who still think that these homes and the way they are operated ARE in fact, reason to categorize them as residential treatment facilities.”

On our sister site The Normandy Park Blog, we received these comments, apparently from former Hanblaceya patients:

Justin says:

I am a former patient of this scam. I was there for roughly 3-4 months. Due to increased strictness and lack of healthy regular food and sleep, I wound up spending about 45 days of this time homeless kick out of housing. if the homes are classified as residential that would violate several landlord tentent laws. when my family refused to pay more then they had been be fore, for services that where not being given. they brought me a packet of paper to sign. being severely disregulated I signed it. thinking that they would take me back and allow be to gather up my belongings and prepare to leave. instead they left me downtown seattle with out transportation back. once arriving there I found most of my belongings had been hastily stuffed to to trash bags and was yelled at to hurry up and pack behind the building by in employe named Simona. I was told that I was in the way and being an inconvenience. I had just returned from 3 weeks of being homeless in inadequate clothes. I had asked every day for at lest a good pair of shoes from my closet and Chris wilson one of the staff a felon for meth related crime, with plenty of other staff being on parole at the time. I was denied these shoes due to Chirs’s idea that I should “hustle” a pair for my self. This facility should be burned to the ground with the staff locked inside.

Lorah says:

Like Justin, I am a former “client” of Hanbleceya. This place is degrading, demoralizing, and a downright rip off for people attempting to “get well” by Hanbleceya’s standards. My housemate had been in the program for over 20 years.

I was threatened with homelessness one night after refusing to take one of my medications. I knew that it was causing adverse, dangerous side effects, but instead of taking that into consideration, the co-director who is not an MD, told me if I didn’t take it, I would be on the streets. Playing devil’s advocate, though this was not a psychotropic drug (the director didn’t care, he merely wanted me to take all of my pills, he didn’t even ask why I was refusing), if they did this to me, guarantee it happens to others who refuse their medications.

As a community bystander, I would be worried if someone who needed support to the point of being in a residential community, was not able to take a medication that is supposed to help him/her. If I was homeless, I would have had no medication, no way to get shelter, all of this occurring in the late hours of the evening.

There are people in this “Hanbleceya community” who are physically violent. I have been in the room when a client threw a chair at three clients, injuring one, traumatizing an entire room of emotionally unstable people. Please work on not only getting rid of Hanbleceya in your community, but overall as an organization. I will be glad to help in this process.

Here’s the DSHS letter in its entirety:

Dear Kerry Paulson and Chris Wilson:

A complaint investigation has been completed and it has been determined that you are providing personal care, special care, room and board to more than one unrelated person in multiple homes. Our records indicate that you do not currently have adult family home licenses for the homes located at 511 SW 182″d Street, 20041 Place SW or 17711 Place SW, Normandy Park, Washington.

Please be advised that Washington State law requires an adult family home license to provide personal care, special care, room and board to more than one unrelated person in a family residence, as stated in Revised Code of Washington(RCW) RCW 70.128.050 and Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 388-76-10005.

Operating an unlicensed adult family home is against the law. Person(s) operating unlicensed adult family homes are subject to serious civil and criminal consequences, including. an injunction to restrain or prevent the operation or maintenance of the unlicensed home. See RCW 70.128.055 Operating without a license – Misdemeanor (each day a separate offense); RCW 70.128.057 Operating without a license — Injunction or civil penalty; and RCW 70.128.058. Operating without a license Application of consumer protection act/preservation of business and unfair competition.

If you wish to continue to operate prior to licensure, within five days of receipt of this letter, you must provide a plan for how you will begin the process to become licensed. Part of this plan must include a safety plan to address how you will protect the residents’ rights and provide adequate care and services in your homes. If you are unable to submit an adequate plan, you must cease operating. Information on the requirements related to classes, orientation and certification necessary for licensure is at: http://www.adsa.dshs.wa.gov/professional/afh/applications.htm. We are also willing to meet with you to explain and review the requirements and licensing process.

We also ask for your cooperation to gain access to the homes and residents during the licensing process so that DSHS can provide oversight. To that end, please provide a roster with the names of all residents of the homes and the emergency contact information for the resident’s representative(s). If you do not provide access to the homes, further actions may be necessary under the law.

Your cooperation during the licensing process is necessary so we can provide oversight necessary for a smooth and safe transition for the residents to a licensed home. If you have any questions, please contact Linda Moss, at (253) 234-6006 or (360) 651-6855.

Sincerely,
Lori Melchiori, Ph.D
Assistant Director
Residential Care Services -

cc: Angela Coats McCarthy, Assistant Attorney General
Linda Moss, District Administrator, Region 2
Bennetta Shoop, District 2, Unit
David Moon, Adult Family Home Compliance Specialist
Amanda Jackson, Supervisor Business Analysis and Application Unit

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Comments

6 Responses to “Controversial Mental Health Group Home Operator is ‘Breaking State Law’”
  1. former client says:

    There needs to be more then civil and Misdemeanor charges. there needs to be at least on charge against Chris Wilson, the Milieu director, for cruel and unusual punishment for leaving me on the streets for over thee weeks and repeatedly denying my daily request for a pair of shoes other then the sandals I was in. the lack of real foot wear caused a lot of physical pain, resulting a a good deal of limping, and possibly permanent exasperation of previous knee issues

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  2. school psychologist says:

    Nothing is more powerful to an investigation than first-hand complaints from the clients themselves and it is a brave and courageous act to come forward.

    The wish of vigilante violence (burning down the homes with the staff inside?!) against any person or program, however, is not advisable. Yikes. Let the investigation unfold, please.

    I hope this shines a light on the problems we have in lack of adequate, safe and affordable housing/treatment options for our mentally ill loved ones. I also hope this shines a light on how important government regulation is, as well as providing our regulatory agencies with enough tax dollars to do their job.

    Remember this story when you cast your vote in November. Protecting our most vulnerable citizens and our communities cannot happen without funding sources and expert personnel.

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    • Tom McGraw, MSW says:

      Programs will not work as intended if they are not funded and regulated. Compassionate, professional care is incompatible for those simply seeking to game the system. Investigate and if found guilty, prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

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  3. neighbor says:

    Is anyone else shocked by the comments on the FB pages and the ST article sill talking about the many satisfied clients/families of Hanbleceya? If I only abuse and neglect one of my three children does that make me a good parent because I’m nice to two of them? If a teacher treats 8 out of 10 of his or her students with respect and dignity is it ok to let the others suffer because the majority are thriving? I cannot believe people are still defending Hanbleceya and this is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

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  4. Shari says:

    This company sent us a lengthy form letter a couple of weeks ago in which they chronicled what they felt were all of their strengths and all of their rebuttals against accusations. We live in Burien and have a Burien mailing address. Why did we get this? Are they operating homes in Burien also, or considering doing so? Not sure why we’d have gotten this otherwise…

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  5. For anyone who believes that they have reasonable cause to believe that someone they know who is mentally ill is being harmed, here is a number to call: 1-866-363-4276. This is Adult Protective Services which is operated by the DSHS. They enforce the Vulnerable Adult Statute that identify the following as harm: abuse, abandonment, neglect and exploitation.

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