ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — It’s an ongoing situation at Piney Ridge Treatment Center (PRTC) in Fayetteville when it comes to client care, and at the same time attempting to curb COVID-19 cases. In addition, Acadia Healthcare posted a job opening for Chief Executive Officer on November 30.
PRTC has more than two dozen COVID-19 cases at its facility, according to the Arkansas Department of Health’s most recent congregate settings report from November, 23.
Also, PRTC is minus at least one 10-year-old resident due to a parent who was concerned for her child’s safety.
ONE MOM’S STORY
“We were coerced into admitting him to Piney Ridge. We were told if we did not admit him they would report us to DHS and DHS would take the kids away from us. We were also told once he was admitted we could not take him out until they deemed his treatment completed.”The child’s mom, Shanay
KNWA/FOX24 is not releasing the names of the employees who were involved in what Shanay called, “coercion.”
Shanay (who asked for her last name to be withheld) felt forced to place her child at the facility in June. By the end of September, she and other family members were inside PRTC waiting for her son to be released.
The family waited more than an hour after arriving to see him. While waiting in the lobby, she said they overheard an employee tell him to not say anything about what happened at Piney Ridge.
After the long wait, the family was reunited with the child — after they threatened to call the police, said Shanay.
When they finally saw him, he had scars, marks and bruises all over him and one very notable bruise on his chest, according to Shanay.
The mom, who lives in a neighboring state, became concerned when she would only get a weekly, then a monthly phone call.
“They told me he didn’t want to call, which I found hard to believe because he had never been away from family and he would talk to his grandparents on the phone daily,” said Shanay. “Then I was told he lost some phone privileges as punishment.”
Her child wears glasses because of his severe vision impairment and can’t see without them. “He wore glasses,” she said. “Then his glasses broke and were replaced, but broke again because other kids were beating on him.”
She said they later found out he was in a lot of fights, but were not told.
While he was in Piney Ridge he was regularly beaten by kids much older than him while the staff watched, according to Shanay. “My son said, ‘they [employees] would wait for a long time to help me out,'” she said.
“We mailed dozens of pairs of socks, underwear, shirts, shorts, and jeans, and toiletries,” she said. When the family picked him up he had two shirts, two pairs of shorts, one pair of jeans, two pairs of underwear, and one pair of socks. “His feet smelled terrible and his socks were hard and crusty. His toenails looked like they hadn’t been cut the entire time he was there, even though he told us he asked for them to be cut,” said Shanay.
Shanay accused PRTC of not giving the items to her son.
A PRTC employee, name withheld per request, told her he did not have access to deodorant, soap, or shampoo. “Those are all items we mailed,” Shanay said.
Her son said the night medicine felt different than the one he would take at home. “He told me he could not wake up in the morning, and when he did he was tired,” said Shanay.
Two other employees informed Shanay that the bathrooms were rarely cleaned and the cafeteria was in disarray.
“He’s home with us now and we will manage his health needs,” said Shanay. “Sending my child to any treatment center is something that’s not on the table.”
As of now, Shanay has not received any release records from PRTC.
“Piney Ridge Treatment Center is currently recruiting for a strong energetic leader to join our team as the CEO,” reads the job description from Acadia Healthcare. The notice was posted on November 30.
As of January 2020, PRTC’s Chief Executive Officer was Bradley McDaris. Prior to that, he was Vantage Point‘s director of nursing for one year and seven months. He served as a psychiatric registered nurse at Wagoner Community Hospital in Oklahoma for 8.5 years, according to his LinkedIn page.
PRTC’s former Chief Executive Officer Adrienne Catalina resigned at the end of 2019, PRTC’s Spokesperson Matt Wiltshire told KNWA/FOX24 earlier this year.
The psychiatric residential facility has 102 beds, residents are between the ages of 7 and 17 who have sexual behavior disorders, according to its website.
PRTC is paid with state and federal funds. Arkansas Medicaid pays $350 per day, per child.
Below is a redacted billing statement acquired via a FOIA request.
If you have concerns that need to be addressed, email, complaints.OLTC@arkansas.gov. By emailing DHS, they will be aware of the situation and hopefully will intervene.
KNWA/FOX24 reached out to PRTC and DHS for a comment but did not hear back.