A predictable failure in Saint Peter

The head of the Minnesota Security Hospital in Saint Peter was fired today by Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson.

Facility administrator David Proffitt had a problem with his staff at the hospital after arriving last August with a mandate to reduce the use of restraints and seclusion there.

His failure in Saint Peter, however, was surprisingly easy to predict.

Consider this section of today’s MPR story on Proffitt:


In his nearly seven months at the Minnesota Security Hospital, Proffitt has garnered criticism from front line staff and doctors, who accused him of an abrasive, confrontational management style. Those concerns led to the departure of all of the facility’s top psychiatry staff in recent months

Now, compare it to this section of the Bangor Daily News’ article on Proffitt’s “resignation” from a psychiatric hospital in Maine last April:


Proffitt, who had headed up the 100-bed psychiatric hospital since the fall of 2008, came under fire in recent months from many employees, who charged that his policies aimed at eliminating the use of patient restraints led to a significant increase in worker injuries at the hands of out-of-control patients. The complaints led to a federal investigation last year by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which identified a number of worker safety violations.

Proffitt also was criticized for an autocratic leadership style that allegedly undermined employee morale as well as patient care at the hospital, which formerly had been recognized as a high-performing “magnet” hospital by a leading nursing organization. He also was criticized for holding a dubious doctorate from a now-defunct online “diploma-mill.