It’s been a while since I posted anything about Zach’s story, mainly because since his return home I felt it necessary to back off and give him whatever space he needed to work out what he’s experienced. Since then, a discussion about whether Zach was controlling his blog or not broke out on a previous post. Zach’s blog is now temporarily disabled.
But’s that’s not what this post is about. It’s about the other side of the story, which involves LIA/R being investigated by the Tennessee Department of Health. This evening I got an email from EJ, which linked to his post concerning the outcome of that investigation. The news for LIA/R is not good.
According to a confidential source, an investigation started in early July by the Tennessee Department of Health has yielded the decision that Love In Action is in continued violation of the State of TN Dept. of Health’s facility licensing requirements. In two strongly worded letters issued to Love In Action, the department is demanding that the facility at 4780 Yale Rd. become compliant with the State of Tennessee’s licensing requirements or face a state ordered closure of their facility. A first letter sent to the facility by the department was returned unanswered by Love In Action. A second letter demanding full compliance grants the facility until this coming Thursday, September 15th to fulfill their licensing obligations or face mandatory shutdown of the facility.
The Queer Action Coalition — which sprang into existance as part of the response to Zach’s initial post — has a summary from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities review of LIA/R.
In accordance with DMHDD’s licensure procedures, a certified letter was sent to Mr. Smid. The letter dated August 23, 2005, stated licensure staff’s determination that Love In Action was operating two unlicensed facilities. The letter further stated that he must stop operating the homes within seven (7) days of receiving the letter, or apply for a license within the same time period.
The Department’s Office of Licensure determines the seven day period based on the date the organization receives the letter. This is verified by return receipt from the Post Office. Licensure did not receive a return receipt from the post office, so another letter was sent Thursday, September 8th.
If Mr. Smid does not respond by September 15th, licensure staff will revisit Love In Action, to determine if the agency is still operating the two homes. If the homes are still operating, licensure will recommend to the Department’s Commissioner that a cease and desist order be issued to Love In Action, in accordance with DMHDD Licensure Law.
Needless to say, if the outcome of this story is that Smid ends up having to close the facility, that will be a huge victory in and of itself.
I’m sure EJ and the Queer Action Coalition will have more on this story as events unfold, but I haven’t yet seen anything about it in the news. But I’ll post whatever I find.