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Resource ID: #25726
Subject: Abuse
Source: Minnesota Public Radio (St. Paul, Minn.)
Date: 2024-05-19



My investigation of the Minnesota Security Hospital, a state-run facility that provides psychiatric treatment to nearly 400 adults deemed "mentally ill and dangerous," uncovered high rates of violence and injuries of employees and patients at the facility, a critical shortage of psychiatrists, and widespread confusion among employees about what to do when a patient becomes violent. I found that much of confusion was the result of the abrasive, threatening management style of head administrator David Proffitt, who was hired in 2011 to reform the facility. I began investigating Proffitt and found he was hired without a basic background check. I uncovered many troubling details from Proffitt's past, including domestic violence, a PhD from a now-defunct online degree mill, a forced resignation from his previous job as the administrator of a private psychiatric hospital in Maine, and other failings. The state ordered Proffitt to resign and the Minnesota legislative auditor began an audit of the department's hiring practices. The assistant commissioner of the Department of Human Services who led the hiring search also resigned. The governor proposed $40 million in renovations to address safety concerns. Regulators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration visited the facility for the first time in 21 years. The facility also implemented new training for employees to reduce violence. My investigation of the facility continues.

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