Doctor to Get Legal Protection
July 13, 1991
The state mental health board Friday voted to provide legal protection to a Tulsa psychiatrist it picked to evaluate an unlicensed substance abuse center.
Dr. John Chelf asked for state legal protection in the event representatives of the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center near Newkirk become upset with his findings and file a lawsuit against him.
The Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services approved Chelf's request, a spokeswoman with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health said.
Chelf visited the Narconon center earlier this year but has yet to submit his report.
Board members will use his report to help them determine whether Narconon's program meets state standards and should be certified.
Narconon Chilocco, located at the old Chilocco Indian school about six miles north of Newkirk, is asking for state approval to operate a 75-bed substance abuse center. It has been treating clients since February 1990.
Legal issues have caused several delays since Narconon applied for state certification almost a year ago.
Board members are scheduled to act on Narconon's request Aug. 9, said Sarah Dunn with the mental health department. A location for the meeting has not been selected.
On Friday, board members also extended Chelf's contract. The extension was necessary because the state's fiscal year ends June 30.
Chelf asked the board for state legal protection in the event his professional liability insurance does not cover him while acting as a consultant for the state.
Narconon Chilocco, which receives money from the Church of Scientology, already has filed two lawsuits over the state's certification process.
Chelf became concerned about his liability after reading a recent article on the Church of Scientology.