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September 04. 2014 9:01PM

Source: Manchester mental health facility drops Medicaid patients, lays off 10

MANCHESTER — A Manchester mental health practice is terminating hundreds of its Medicaid patients, after a Medicaid-managed care company raised questions about the deteriorating, fantasy-themed structure where it is located, a source told the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The Center for Expressive Arts, Therapy and Education — or CREATE — has also given layoff notices to 10 people who provide therapy to children, adults and families, said the source, who was laid off.

CREATE opened in 2008 at 141 Union St., the former Beauvais Castle, a toy store with a castle-like exterior. CREATE incorporated the symbolism of a castle into its therapeutic mission to provide dance, art and other expressive therapy to combat anxiety, depression, PTSD and learning disorders.

“I loved going to my job,” the employee said. “I loved the fact I worked in a castle and kids came to the castle excited about getting help.”

The source also doubted if the clients will be able to receive care, given the low payment rates under Medicaid.

“There isn’t care enough in New Hampshire to handle the couple hundred families we are releasing back into the community,” the employee said.

CREATE remains in business. It accepts insurance other than Medicaid and continues counseling existing Medicaid patients who are attached to the New Hampshire Healthy Families managed care program, the worker said.

On Thursday, a lawyer representing CREATE said little.

“We are conducting our own investigation and don’t have any comment pending the outcome of our investigation,” said Peter Anderson.

He said it should take a couple of weeks.

Auditors say building unfit

According to the source, CREATE Executive Director Steven Durost told workers that auditors for Beacon Health Strategies made a visual assessment of the building and found it unfit for clients to receive care.

The auditors also found some minor issues dealing with paperwork, the source said. Anderson would not discuss specifics of Durost’s statements.

Beacon Health Strategies provides behavior health management services for WellSense, one of two companies that manage care on behalf of Medicaid in New Hampshire.

A spokesman for Beacon said she could not comment on the matter.

“It’s an issue of privacy,” said Beacon corporate spokesman Dale Seamans.

The state Department of Health and Human Services forwarded questions about CREATE to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, where the director said she could not say whether an investigation is taking place.

Anderson said he was unaware of any involvement by the Medicaid Fraud Unit.

The New Hampshire Union Leader has filed a right-to-know request with state health officials seeking access to any written records regarding CREATE.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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