Immediate Danger: Revealing secrets inside Colorado’s Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health

JOHNSTOWN, Colo. The mental health facility that formerly housed Clear View Behavioral Health about an hour’s drive north of Denver has a new name and new owners. Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health opened for business in 2021, but insiders tell Denver7 Investigates, conditions inside Johnstown are nearly identical to the facility shut down by state regulators 10 months earlier.

For more than 14 months, current and former employees, as well as patients, have told Denver7 Investigates the same story: Concern for their safety and the safety of others inside a facility that prioritizing profit over patient care.

Since opening, Johnstown Heights has been flagged multiple times by state regulators, given the most serious designation of “immediate danger.” But somehow, its doors remain open.

After Denver7 Investigates visited Johnstown Heights in an attempt to contact the CEO about the allegations, several staff members reached out to share what they felt were poor working conditions.

Shortly after Denver7 Investigates went to Johnstown Heights, an internal email, later obtained by sources, was sent from executive assistant to CEO Sean Peterson encouraging employees to speak to the media.

Following initial reports in Johnstown Heights, two former nurses at the 92-hand facility came forward after Denver7 Investigates confirmed that Colorados Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) is investigating patient and staff claims of keeping patients longer than necessary and staffing levels are dangerous. low

In so many ways, Johnstown Heights is a s—hole,” said one nurse. “They don’t do anything but help patients. No safety measures. And you’ll be lucky if you get out of there alive.

In May, the nurse’s fears came true. The patient’s death at the facility has been ruled accidental by Johnstown police, but insiders with knowledge of the situation and new state inspection reports obtained by Denver7 Investigates tell a different story.

During a three-day stay at Johnstown Heights, the state investigation shows at one point, the patient went 16 hours without being checked before he died.

Denver7 Investigates brought the details to the Larimer County coroner, who after reviewing the state’s investigative reports, said, I think the elements are there that both civil and criminal negligence could apply, and the those arguments can be made.” The coroner urged the police department to reopen its investigation.

After learning of the patient’s death, questions from sources spread about the effectiveness and performance of state inspections. Insiders contacted Denver7 Investigates to sound the alarm about the so-called “surprise inspections.”

Many former and current employees confirmed that leadership at Johnstown Heights was hands-off, sometimes taking days to clean and staff up before inspectors came.

The state will not respond to serious allegations made by informed insiders. After multiple requests for interviews were denied in an attempt to discuss concerns raised by employees and patients, the deaths at the facility, and claims that oversight by state regulators was being ignored, Denver7 Investigates brought its questions to Colorado’s most powerful leader: The governor.

In a few weeks, Gov. will not agree either. Jared Polis in an interview despite many requests. Before a public appearance, Denver7 Investigates met with Polis to ask why CDPHE, which his office oversees, was accused of revealing when inspections would take place. Data from the state also confirmed that each of their visits to Johnstown was intended to remain anonymous.

During the meeting, Polis urged the public to advance claims of state tip-offs. He added that if regulators were to issue surprise inspections of facilities, that would be a violation of state policy. In response to Denver7’s reports, the governor also launched a hotline to help identify the leak.

Denver7 Investigates continues to investigate the serious allegations against Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health. To send a tip to the investigative team, email investigates@denver7.com.

Immediate Danger: Revealing secrets inside Colorado’s Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health


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