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Rehab CEO defends Newport facility Lindsay Lohan checked into

May 02, 2013|From the Los Angeles Times
  • Lindsay Lohan arrives at the Beverly Hills Courthouse to begin serving her 90-day sentence for a probation violation.
Lindsay Lohan arrives at the Beverly Hills Courthouse… ( John W. Adkisson…)

The chief executive of a Newport Beach rehabilitation facility that actress Lindsay Lohan entered Thursday for court-ordered treatment defended the recovery center against charges that it’s not licensed to provide residential drug or alcohol treatment.

The actress entered Morningside Recovery LLC in Newport Beach on Thursday, her attorney Mark Heller told Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Dabney. Heller assured the judge that the facility fully complied with the court’s requirement that it provide Lohan with 90 days of therapy in a setting in which she could not leave.

But on Thursday state officials said the facility could not meet such a mandate.

"They do not have a license to operate a 24-hour-a-day, residential treatment facility; what they do have is a certification to provide outpatient services at a clinic," said Millicent Tidwell, deputy director of the licensing division of the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

"In Ms. Lohan's case, she was ordered to go to a residential treatment facility and they are not a licensed residential treatment facility." She said the only treatment the facility can provide is "outpatient."

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Tidwell said licenses for three Costa Mesa facilities run by Morningside Recovery LLC were revoked in 2012. She said the Newport Beach facilities are “unlicensed” and could only operate as sober-living facilities.

In a prepared statement, Mary Helen Beatificato, chief executive officer of Morningside, said it was “completely false” to report that Morningside has "no license/certification to provide drug and alcohol treatment." She said treatment is conducted by licensed clinicians at a 6,300-square-foot state-certified clinic and not at sober-living homes in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

"No treatment is conducted in these homes," Beatificato said, noting that the license that was suspended and then revoked was for residential detoxification services.

A state Senate report last year described Morningside as a "rogue rehab" and questioned whether the state licensing agency had done enough oversight of its operations.

Tidwell said Morningside appears to interchange its status as a certified outpatient facility with that of a licensed residential rehab. "They are not a licensed residential facility," Tidwell said.

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