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Morningside hit with orders to stop operations

Recovery facilities accused of providing services without proper licenses.

May 10, 2012|By Lauren Williams
  • These eight locations were listed in cease and desist letters sent to Morningside Recovery on April 23 from the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.
These eight locations were listed in cease and desist… (Courtesy Google…)

Eight properties operated by Morningside Recovery have received letters from state authorities ordering them to stop operations.

If the two facilities in Costa Mesa and six in Newport Beach don't comply with the cease-and-desist letters dated April 23, the Newport-based company could incur fines of $200 daily per facility, according to the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

The letters are among several measures the department has taken to prevent Morningside from continuing normal operations, including a temporary suspension order and documents seeking to permanently revoke the recovery center's license.

The center received the letters May 1, said Morningside attorney Mary Helen Beatificato.

Morningside allegedly used its sober-living homes, which do not require state licenses, for licensable services that included treatment, counseling and recovery planning, said ADP spokeswoman Suzi Rupp.

Sober-living homes are designed for people recovering from a chemical addiction to live together in alcohol- and drug-free environments to support each other and maintain their sobriety. Such facilities do not need licensing and are protected by federal and state fair-housing laws.

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However, Rupp asserted that Morningside provided clinical services without a license at its sober-living homes — an accusation Beatificato denied.

The center responded to the state's notice to stop operations and is complying with a separate temporary suspension order for three Costa Mesa locations listed in the suspension order, she said.

According to Beatificato, the state's recent action is largely procedural and doesn't change anything the center is doing.

The three Costa Mesa locations do not house any clients, and all detox services are contracted out, she said.

The Orange County Register first reported last week that the rehab clinic received the cease-and-desist letters.

In a death investigation report dated April 24, ADP said Morningside failed to report the death of a man who died while in its care.

Beatificato said the death did not happen while the patient was in Morningside's care.

In the investigation, the department deemed Morningside had deficiencies that posed an "imminent danger to residents" in four categories, including allegations that Morningside didn't ensure its client received necessary referral to medical services and an allegation that the center provided residential treatment at an unlicensed facility.

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