A troubled behavioral health center that was the subject of a Tampa Bay Times investigation last year has hired a new leader, the hospital announced Thursday.
North Tampa Behavioral Health in Wesley Chapel appointed Clint Hauger its chief executive. Hauger spent the past several years running a psychiatric hospital in Charleston, South Carolina and was previously a hospital executive in Houston.
Hauger joins North Tampa Behavioral during a time of turmoil.
The Times investigation revealed that the hospital profited for years by cutting patients off from their families and keeping them against their will. All the while, undertrained staff members provided minimal oversight and left the patients in danger.
The Times also found that the hospital’s then-CEO, Bryon Coleman, had no experience in healthcare. He was a former professional football player, vice president at a logistics company and employee benefits consultant.
Soon after the investigation, state and federal regulators inspected the hospital. They found more than 70 violations, including sinks dripping with “greenish yellow brown” substances and dozens of unqualified employees — like the CEO who didn’t meet his own job requirements.
The hospital’s parent company said Coleman’s departure had nothing to do with the regulators’ findings.
The federal government also cited serious problems with the hospital’s leadership and medical testing laboratory and threatened to pull all public funding if the issues weren’t fixed by February.
A spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that a follow-up inspection in January found that the hospital had fixed the most serious problems and it was no longer at risk of losing funding.
But regulators did find additional issues during that visit. Employees continued to make basic mistakes, including not documenting when medication was given to patients and not properly getting consent before providing treatment.
The Florida Department of Children and Families also investigated last year and determined that patients at the time had the proper documentation to stay in the hospital’s care.
Hauger replaced Coleman in December, weeks after the federal investigation, but the hospital did not announce the personnel move until this week. The hospital also announced the hiring of a new director of human resources who has more than eight years of experience.
In a statement, North Tampa Behavioral said Hauger intends to “transform” the hospital into one that the community “knows, trusts and recommends for their clients, friends and families.”