Possible Conflict Of Interest Looms Over Upcoming Report On Effingham Rehab Center

Dec 15, 2014

Credit Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center, Effingham.

A report due out Monday could determine the future of a facility for people with disabilities. But some advocates are already concerned about how that report was written.

In September, the Disability Rights Center alleged the death of one resident at Lakeview Neurorehabilition Center in Effingham was indicative of a wide pattern of neglect, abuse and isolation.

"There were pervasive problems with clients not being appropriately monitored, clients being injured," says Karen Rosenberg. "Yet the [Department of Health and Human Services] took no action."

Governor Maggie Hassan promised a state investigation overseen by an outside expert. The first of three phases of that investigation is due out Monday.

But according to public records, the team that put it together was led by a Department of Health and Human Services employee. It also included a former employee of Lakeview’s parent company, who in the past was an outspoken advocate of the facility in question.

"So we’ll wait and see what comes out," says Rosenberg. "It has raised concerns that the people they hired were not in keeping with the governor’s directive."

In a written statement to NHPR, Marilee Nihan, the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, said she was confident in the people appointed to the team.

"The team was selected based on their complementary expertise and experience necessary to conduct such an investigation, and DHHS has every confidence in these individuals," Nihan said.