Monday, October 03, 2005

LIA/R fights TN

As expected, the folks at LIA/R, which received a deferral from the state of Tennessee to address their lack of licensure, has decided to fight the state claiming that as a faith-based ministry they don't need to be licensed as a mental health facility. It's reported that the organization's residential facilities (2 in the Memphis area) do house people with diagnosed and pharmacologically treated disorders and the staff controls access to/dispenses medications prescribed to residents. This qualifies the homes as a health care facility that requires licensing under Tennessee state regulations despite LIA/R's sudden turn from a facility that offered addiction counseling and "reparative therapy" into what is now touted as a faith-based ministry.

Among the more curious issues would be how/why a faith-based ministry limited to spiritual programs would encourage and assist families of "clients" to submit for reimbursement from their health insurance carrier if they were not touting themselves as providing counseling services. Additionally, some of the limitations of those in residence and/or enrolled in their gay conversion "spirtual" program seem odd for a strictly religious program outside of a cult setting:
  • restricted communications with family & other associates
  • home/lodging rules that do not allow for discussion of "therapeutic issues" outside the program
  • proscription of continuing education while in the program (education is limited to those children that are home schooled and only with prior permission of staff; other children are pulled out of school)
Hopefully the state of Tennessee will continue to hold this residential program to the same standards and licensing requirements as appropriate. Allowing LIA/R to continue to operate as they choose because they are a religious organization would have wide-ranging negative implications that patients and general public can ill afford to risk.

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