Florida psychiatric hospital hires new CEO after newspaper probe

North Tampa Behavioral Health has appointed a new CEO after a newspaper investigative report published last year revealed concerns about length of stay at the Wesley Chapel, Fla.-based psychiatric hospital, Tampa Bay Times reports.

The hospital announced its selection of Clint Hauger as its top leader March 5. Mr. Hauger most recently was CEO of Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health, a psychiatric hospital in Charleston, S.C.

The appointment comes after the Tampa Bay Times published an investigative report Sept. 18 that alleged North Tampa Behavioral Health profited by holding some patients beyond the maximum 72-hour limit allowed under Florida's mental health law. The hospital denied those claims.

The September Tampa Bay Times report also found that Bryon Coleman Jr., the hospital's then-CEO, was an ex-NFL player with no healthcare experience. Mr. Coleman previously played for the Green Bay Packers practice squad, was vice president at a logistics company and an employee benefits consultant, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

North Tampa Behavioral's parent company, Franklin, Tenn.-based Acadia Healthcare, told the Tampa Bay Times Mr. Coleman's departure in December was unrelated to regulators' findings.

After the September newspaper report, lawmakers called on federal officials to investigate length of stay concerns at North Tampa Behavioral Health.

State and federal regulators inspected the hospital and found sinks dripping with "greenish yellow brown" substances, a CEO without healthcare experience and issues with the hospital's leadership and medical testing laboratory, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The hospital risked losing federal funding if the issues weren't addressed.

CMS said a follow-up inspection in January found the hospital had addressed the most serious problems, and funding was no longer in jeopardy, according to the Tampa Bay Times. But the newspaper reported regulators still found some problems, such as employees not documenting when patients received medicine.

The Florida Department of Children and Families reportedly did its own investigation last year and found patients had the proper documentation to stay at North Tampa Behavioral.

A hospital statement obtained by the Tampa Bay Times said Mr. Hauger plans to "transform" the hospital into one the community "knows, trusts and recommends for their clients, friends and families."


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