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March 18, 2013

Wellness center closed, patients question security

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

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Wellness center closed, patients question security
Warren police responded to the offices of the Integrative Wellness Center on Schoenherr north of 12 Mile Road March 12. Patients told reporters they’ve had trouble reaching staff at the center since mid-February and that they arrived at the building to find the office unsecured.

WARREN — It was early afternoon as the wind whistled through the hallways of the building that houses Integrative Wellness Center.

The center isn’t the only tenant in the building on the west side of Schoenherr north of 12 Mile Road. There’s a crisis pregnancy center and a physical rehabilitation office on the first floor. But the place was still eerily quiet for a Tuesday, a workday.

A look upstairs revealed two women just wrapping up an interview with a television news reporter. A cameraman filmed one of the women in the hall, walking up a stairwell toward what appeared to be an open door at Integrative Wellness.

Unfortunately, no one was there. And that’s troubling for patients, including the two women, who claimed the staff has been incommunicado for weeks now, and that they arrived to find the place unlocked and accessible.

“We’re upset about all our information and records being left open, but we’re also upset about how we’re being dealt with,” said Terri Wilson, of Eastpointe, whose 9-year-old son had been treated at the center for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. “We had no warning. If that was the case, we’d be in the process of looking for another doctor.”

A business card for the center outlines a list of services provided, ranging from reflexology and massage to hypnotherapy, foot detox and brainwave entrainment.

Both Wilson and her mother — who is also a patient — said they have not been able to reach the center’s office by phone since mid-February. No one called or sent a mailing about a looming office closure or restricted hours.

Calls placed last week by the Warren Weekly found a full voicemail account, unable to accept new messages.

And again, there was no one inside the office when the women and reporters arrived.

A similar call placed to the newspaper by another woman claiming to be the mother of a patient laid out similar concerns.

Wilson’s mother, identified for this story only as Rita, said she entered the office on another trip up there, hoping to speak with someone who knew what was going on. She said she even photographed what appeared to be patient files in an interior office.

As the women spoke to the Warren Weekly, a man emerged from an elevator and asked what was happening. He declined to give his name, refused to call himself an employee, but offered a sound bite when pressed by Wilson and her mom about why the office was closed.

He did, however, deny that patient records were left unsecured.

“We’re not down because we want to be down,” the man said, referring all further questions to the center’s attorneys, which he would not name. He offered to pass along a business card, but left before receiving one, and only after he locked the door and turned off the office lights.

Downstairs at the Imago Dei Crisis Pregnancy Center, its director Fay Autra said Integrative Wellness closed several weeks before, after what appeared to be police officers and agents arrived one morning.

Warren Police Deputy Commissioner Louis Galasso later confirmed uniformed officers were sent to the building to assist Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office with the execution of a search warrant Feb. 20.

A spokesperson for Schuette’s office declined to comment on the activity at press time March 14.

Autra said a patient a day, on average, still visits the building, looking for Integrative Wellness and the services they provided.

They’re people like Wilson, who said she still doesn’t know where she’d seek treatment for her son, or how the child would respond to a new care provider.

“It’s kind of sad. My son sees a therapist,” Wilson said. “I’m afraid he won’t open up to someone else.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.