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News in brief — 6/14/12

W.Va. DHHR investigates patient release mix-up

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Department of Health and Human Resources is investigating the mistaken release of five patients from a state psychiatric hospital to an unlicensed transition facility.

Media outlets say officials at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital discovered Monday that the Pathway facility in Hamlin does not have a state license. Hamlin Mayor Chris Wilkinson said Pathway also does not have a municipal business license.

“We are certainly looking at how they got there,” DHHR spokesman John Law told WCHS-TV.

He said the hospital had determined that the patients were medically ready to go to a less-restrictive environment.

Hospital admissions director Melinda Smith said another department in the hospital had formed a partnership with Pathway recently and believed it was licensed by the state.

“Our No. 1 priority is to keep the patients safe. There was never any intent to put anyone in danger. There was never any malice in anything that was done,” Smith told The Herald-Dispatch.

Rick Clay, who is listed in state records as an organizer/member of Pathway, said the facility is a boarding house that helps alcoholics and drug addicts transition back into society.

“I don’t know where they got the impression that we’re anything different than what we are,” Clay told WCHS.

Police returned one patient to the hospital Saturday night after responding to a dispute at Pathway.

Hospital personnel went to Pathway on Monday to pick up the other patients but they were no longer there, Smith said. They later were found in the Hamlin area and were returned to the hospital.

Wilkinson said he did not know the building housing Pathway was occupied until the disturbance on Saturday.


Over the Backyard Fence tour set

Ironton In Bloom invites the public to their fourth annual Over The Backyard Fence yard tour on Sunday, June 24, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The tour will begin at the Lawrence County Historical Museum where tickets, maps, and refreshments will be available throughout the day. Eight residential yards will be on display, along with the Ohio University Southern campus grounds and the newly expanded Weber’s Florists

Greenhouse. Admission is $10 per person. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Weber’s Florists, Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio, the “All That” shop in Coal Grove, at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce building in South Point, or from any Ironton In Bloom member.

Tickets may also be purchased the day of the event at the Lawrence County Museum. Rain date is the next Sunday, July 1, at the same time. For more information, call 740-550-9495 or 740-532-2954. All proceeds will go toward Ironton beautification projects.