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Unlicensed Kea‘au Treatment Facilities Ordered to Shut Down

January 14, 2020, 8:20 AM HST
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State officials have ordered a local company to immediately cease and desist operations of their two illegal special treatment facilities or therapeutic living programs for adolescents and young adults in Kea‘au.

The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance (OHCA) issued a notice of violation to Christopher Kaiser, Michael McKinney, Suzanne McKinney and Mark Agosto of Pacific Quest Corp. for their facilities located at 15-1973 4th Avenue and 15-1736 22nd Avenue.

“We cannot stress the importance for families to research licensed special treatment facilities or therapeutic living programs for their loved ones in need of care,” said OHCA chief Keith Ridley. “If they are uncertain whether the facility is licensed or suspect unusual activity, they should contact the Department of Health.”

Based on OHCA’s unannounced visit and investigation conducted in response to complaints, OHCA determined Pacific Quest Corp. was operating two unlicensed special treatment facilities (STF) or therapeutic living programs (TLP) for adolescents and young adults.

According to Pacific Quest website, the programs used redefine behavioral therapy, utilizing a neurodevelopmental approach to treatment.

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“This approach, combined with horticultural therapy, integrates evidence based therapeutic methods, whole-person wellness and organic gardening to sustain a healthy community and motivate change,” the website states.

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Pacific Quest Corp. did not have valid licenses issued by OHCA and had not contacted the Department of Health to apply for licenses for either program.

In addition to requiring Pacific Quest Corp. to cease operations, the company must also comply with the following requirements:

  • Transfer or discharge all residents to a licensed Special Treatment Facility or a licensed Therapeutic Living Program or to their legal guardian within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the NOVO.
  • Notify in writing to OHCA within one (1) calendar day following transfer or discharge of all residents that the illegal STF or TLP identified above has ceased operations and that all residents have been safely transferred to an OHCA licensed or certified facility or legal guardian, and provide the name and address of the licensed or certified facility or legal guardian.
  • Pay a fine totaling $13,300 based on respondents’ first violation of $100 for each day of unlicensed operation times 133 days as calculated from the date of verified operations of the unlicensed facility to the date of transfer/discharge of all residents (August 27, 2019 to January 17, 2020, inclusive). The transfer or discharge date is seven (7) calendar days from the NOVO receipt date.
  • Disclose to the Department the location of any Special Treatment Facility or Therapeutic Living Program operated by Pacific Quest Corp. or any other entity, agency, or organization owned, managed, or operated or not by Christopher Kaiser, Michael McKinney, Suzanne McKinney or Mark Agosto, in the same manner as 15-1973 4th Avenue, Kea‘au, Hawaii 96749 or as 15-1736 22nd Avenue, Kea‘au, Hawaii 96749 and cease and desist operations at those locations.

These Kea‘au care homes were operating unlawfully as STFs because they provided a therapeutic residential program for care, diagnosis, treatment or rehabilitation for socially or emotionally distressed persons, mentally ill persons, persons suffering from substance abuse, and developmentally disabled persons. Or, they may have been operating as a TLP which includes a supervised living arrangement that provides mental health, substance abuse services or supportive services for individuals or families who do not need the structure of a special treatment facility and are transitioning to independent living.

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Under state law, Pacific Quest Corp. has 20 days to submit a written request to the Department of Health to request a hearing to contest the Notice and Order.

The notice of violation does not preclude or limit actions by any other public agency or private party. Whenever OHCA surveyors identify potential abuse or neglect, these incidents are immediately reported to Child Welfare & Adult Protective Services (APS), another state agency, for a thorough investigation.

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