Ohio county suspends psych hospital's admissions, cites 'pattern of concerns'

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Franklin County (Ohio) Children Services has stopped sending children to Columbus, Ohio-based Sequel Pomegranate following a "pattern of concerns" over the last few months, CBS affiliate WBNS-10TV reports.

Numerous allegations of violence and sexual abuse, along with concerns regarding how children were being restrained, prompted the decision to suspend admissions to the psychiatric facility, FCCS spokesperson Alison Rodgers told WBNS-10TV Jan. 6. FCCS is working with Sequel Pomegranate to address the ''pattern of concerns," Ms. Rodgers said, but it is unclear how long the suspension will last.

A 2018 lawsuit alleged one boy was sexually assaulted by a group of unsupervised boys inside the facility. FCCS substantiated the abuse allegation and the lawsuit was settled.

In July, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, which licenses Sequel Pomegranate, to tour the building. OHMAS Director Lori Criss said the facility at the time was "clean, safe and therapeutic," but the agency has continued to conduct both announced and unannounced visits to the facility. 

OHMAS is also threatening to revoke the license of Sequel Pomegranate's acute hospital unit after a nurse and mental health advocate assaulted a patient during a restraint in October. After the incident, Sequel Pomegranate voluntarily suspended acute hospital admissions in November. A hearing on the licensure is scheduled for Jan. 14-15.

Sequel Pomegranate did not return WBNS-10TV's calls or emails.

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