For-profit companies are setting up group homes that deliver mental health services yet craft their delivery in such a way that they avoid state and federal regulation. Several such homes are operating just a handful of miles from where I live, run by a company named Hanbleceya. The Seattle Times newspaper has done a couple of detailed stories on them — one on how Hanbleceya operates and one on their mistreatment of a resident — and also shared a red flag-raising quote from Ron Honberg, the director for policy and legal affairs for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “There has been a proliferation across the country of a new breed of unregulated boarding homes that provide long-term mental-health treatment… these homes often are operated by staffers who have little training or education in mental health, “ Honberg said.
In Washington State, Hanbleceya uses semi-independent living with off-site clinical care. As a result, the homes don’t fall into the Department of Health’s (DOH) category of residential treatment facilities because Hanbleceya doesn’t provide treatment inside the homes. (They’re providing all kinds of other sort-of supervised services, though.) They also don’t fall under Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) regulation.
Stories have emerged of Hanbleceya’s treatment of its residents that are very disturbing. Hanbleceya’s homes started operating around here in 2012, and the Department of Health is now conducting their second investigation, thankfully. In addition, a citizens group in Normandy Park, where the homes are located, are working with lawmakers on legislation to close the licensing and monitoring crack into which Hanbleceya has fallen. This approach might also be the best way forward in other states that have seen these homes pop up.
Does this type of model for mental health care raise concerns for you? Have you ever had a relative or loved one receive poor treatment in a residential mental health facility? If you filed a complaint to the facility or the province/state, what was the result?