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Media Articles - 1990s

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8 January 2003
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Commissioners Request Public Hearing In Newkirk On Narconon Certification

The Newkirk Herald Journal,
13 September 1990

The letters slipped quietly from one commissioner to the next. Each read the words on the papers, and signed them without comment or conversation. The letters were to State Department of Mental Health officials, formally requesting a copy of the department's evaluation and inspection team report and recommendations regarding the certification of Narconon as soon as the report is available.

The letters also formally ask for a public hearing in Newkirk prior to the October board meeting of the Department of Mental health "so that citizens will have the opportunity to voice their opinion about Narconon."

The Mental Health Department will be sending a two person audit team to evaluate and inspect the Narconon facility within the next week or so, according to Mental Health Department spokesperson Rosemary Brown. Neither person on the team will be medically qualified, she said, but both will be experienced, qualified and educated social workers. One holds a master's degree, she added.

Judge Neal Beekman last Friday ordered that the certification process be expedited so that it may appear on the October agenda of the Mental Health Board. Narconon applied for certification on August 28th after the State health Department announced they would seek an injunction to stop operation of the unlicensed and uncertified facility, which began treating patients in February.

In order to apply for certification, Brown said it was necessary to have a current Certificate of Need. Narconon's Certificate of Need expired June 30, but Health Department spokesman Brent VanMeter said Tuesday that Narconon had requested an extension "prior to June 30th." Although Narconon's request for an extension had not been granted as of Monday afternoon, VanMeter said they were considering it a current certificate.

Judge Beekman's decision left open the option of a public hearing on the matter should anyone wish to request one. The Newkirk City Commission did just that Monday night.