State shuts Fairbanks detox center

Posted: Friday, August 21, 2009

FAIRBANKS - The state is investigating the Fairbanks Native Association's new detox center after a nurse practitioner quit because of safety concerns.

The state learned last week that the nurse would not return Monday. Stacy Toner, deputy director for the Division of Behavioral Health, said the state will conduct a complete review of the Gateway to Recovery Enhanced Detoxification Center, but the place was only closed because the nurse quit.

"They did not have a qualified health practitioner for oversight of the program, which is a requirement," she said. "For us the reason for the closure was not having qualified health practitioners."

It's unclear what specific safety concerns the nurse had about the center, which opened in January.

Staff from Toner's office will be in Fairbanks this week to check clinical files, interview staff and examine the program's policies and procedures. Toney said she hopes the detox center can reopen in 30 days.

"We're trying to move very quickly to resolve this and get services reopened," Toner said. "We know it's a drain on the community not to have this resource."

Five patients were being treated at the center at the time of the closure. Three were discharged Sunday, one was admitted to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and one was referred to the Ralph Perdue Center for treatment.

The hospital has agreed to take detox patients on a short-term basis while the center is closed.

FNA executive director Steve Ginnis said the association is cooperating with the investigation.

"There's allegations being made, and the state has a responsibility to investigate those allegations," Ginnis said. "That's what's going on now. Our hope is this will be concluded shortly and is resolved in reasonable time."



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