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ProMedica's Adrian autism center to close in wake of abuse investigation

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ProMedica headquarters as viewed from Promenade Park Friday morning, December 1, 2017 in downtown Toledo.

THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
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ADRIAN, Mich. — ProMedica has closed its autism center at Bixby Hospital in the wake of a criminal investigation into potential child abuse by staff.

In a video message released Monday, Dr. Kent Bishop, chief experience officer, and Dr. Brian Kaminski, vice president of patient safety and quality, described how ProMedica learned of the mistreatment and the steps they are taking in response.

ProMedica and Adrian police announced earlier this month that an investigation was opened at the hospital’s Center for Autism after a behavioral technician was seen on video using “overly assertive behavioral modification techniques with a child during a one on one session,” Dr. Bishop said.

“These techniques are not approved by ProMedica,” he said.

WATCH: ProMedica Autism Statement

Reviews of additional videos showed a total of three staff members mistreating four children. Dr. Kaminski said that all three staff members were terminated, ProMedica offered to show the videos to parents, and that Adrian police and other agencies were contacted immediately.

Meanwhile, the autism center has been closed until further notice. It was not immediately clear what that means for staff, although Dr. Bishop apologized to staff for the hardship.

“Since becoming aware of the incidents, we have been working to understand what if any breakdown in our processes allowed these incidents to occur,” he said. “Although we are still in the process of conducting our own investigation while fully cooperating with authorities, we feel it is important for us to acknowledge that we failed these children and their families who trust us with their autism care. For that we are sincerely sorry."

Dr. Kaminski said ProMedica officials hope to bring autism care back to Adrian at some point, but that “first and foremost we must ensure that we are able to do so in a safe and compassionate manner."

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