By September 2012, the state of Minnesota had seen enough with the Lake Superior Treatment Center. The Duluth-based methadone treatment provider had so many serious and chronic practice violations that the Department of Human of Services revoked the Center's license.
More than a year later, the Center is still in business, and DHS Inspector General Jerry Kerber said Tuesday that's likely to continue until at least July 2014 when an appeals court hearing has been scheduled. This is despite a report released yesterday finding more repeated practice violations.
The delay, said Kerber, is due to the stakes of the revocation and the appeals process. While he said state law forbids DHS from talking about the revocation, he said that in cases where revocation "has the same high stakes," appeals hearings are often delayed by behind-the-scenes settlement negotiations.
If the Center's license is revoked, then the Florida company that operates the clinic, Colonial Management Group, will lose its license for its four other methadone clinics in Minnesota and would have to shut them down. The company did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
As detailed in a Duluth News Tribune story today, Kerber said DHS tried and failed to get legislation passed in the 2013 session that would have sped up the appeals process.
The clinic has not had any violations that would be considered imminent danger, or grounds for immediate closure, Kerber said. And while it has no restrictions on its license,the Center agreed to stop taking new patients since the state revoked its license, Kerber said.
While working for the Duluth News Tribune, I wrote several stories on the clinic and methadone treatment, many of which can be found here.