Health Officials Review Narconon Standards; State Agency Frowns on Court Battle
By Michael McNutt
August 27, 1992
State Health Department officials will decide whether a drug and alcohol abuse center that has been operating the past two years without state approval meets Oklahoma's certification standards, a department official said Wednesday.
The health department is not planning to go to court to appeal a decision by another state board to exempt Narconon Chilocco New Life Center from state certification, Brent Van Meter, deputy commissioner for special health services for the health department, said.
"We're not going to get in that kind of hurrah," he said.
A review of Narconon Chilocco New Life Center is under way, Van Meter said.
Narconon Chilocco submitted a license application last week, and the health department sent a letter Wednesday to Narconon Chilocco asking for more information, Van Meter said.
Health department officials will make a recommendation to the commissioner of health on whether the center at the old Chilocco Indian School campus north of Newkirk should be licensed.
The Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services earlier this month granted an exemption from certification to Narconon Chilocco because the facility was accredited in June by a private organization, the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
A lawyer for the health department questioned the mental health board's action and last week suggested an appeal might be filed in district court.
But Van Meter said the health department likely will avoid a court battle by simply deciding for itself if Narconon Chilocco meets state certification standards.
A finding that Narconon Chilocco complies with certification guidelines will result in the health department issuing a license to the facility, Van Meter said.
"I don't know that the board did solved anybody's problems but we're not going to intervene in the proceedings," he said. "The issue is between us and Narconon. "
Narconon Chilocco began accepting patients in February 1990.
After several delays, mental health board members in December denied certification to Narconon Chilocco, saying the center's treatment program was medically unsafe and experimental.