Magellan Behavioral Health launches probe of Woods Services

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A sign at one of Woods Services’ entrances at its campus near Langhorne.

Magellan Behavioral Health, which manages mental health insurance benefits in six Pennsylvania counties, has launched an investigation into conditions at Woods Services, which treats about 650 children and adults with intellectual disabilities at its Langhorne facility.

A report released Monday by Disability Rights New York found pervasive abuse and neglect at the facility.

“Magellan is aware of the reports concerning Woods Services and has already begun its own investigation,” Colleen Flanagan-Johnson, vice president, external communications for Magellan Health, emailed Friday. “We are working with customers and members to ensure they understand their options for treatment elsewhere.”

Magellan contacted families of a dozen children, according to Woods spokeswoman Cheryl Kauffman.

Six of the children are already in the process of going to a less intensive facility or going home, Kauffman said.

“Two of those, the families are fighting and want their children to stay here. The other six individuals, Magellan did call their families, and the six families refused to move their children elsewhere,” Kauffman said.

Kathy Romett, of Pottstown, said she was one of the parents contacted by Magellen. “They wanted to hear about my experience. I didn’t have any thing negative to say,” Romett said.

Her 10-year-old son, who is nonverbal and has been diagnosed with autism, is going home next week after two years at Woods, Romett said.  “He was very violent, and they helped us learn how to deal with that.” Romett was among more than a dozen parents who contacted The Inquirer to praise the care their children have received at Woods.

Meanwhile, Stephanie Moskowitz is trying to get her 14-year-old son, Samuel, back on track after a Woods staff member punched him in the face last December, breaking his nose, and then hit him in the face with a plastic bowling pin. She has sent him to another behavioral health facility, and Magellan was helpful in that move, she said.

Moskowitz, who lives in King of Prussia, said she was extremely nervous about sending her son away from home for care in August 2016. “The worst thing I thought could happen happened,” she said.