The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have joined the multi-Federal agency investigations into the largest psychiatric hospital chain owned by Universal Health Services (UHS). The agencies are “scrutinizing UHS’s billings to Tricare, the insurance plan for active military and their families,” according to the latest BuzzFeed News expose.[Rosalind Adams, an award-winning journalist with BuzzFeedNews, conducted an independent investigation into UHS saying that investigators have cited “troubling reports suggesting a pattern of quality of care issues” or “harm to patients” in some UHS facilities operating in a dozen states.
In April 2017, Senator Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also called for a federal probe into UHS’s behavioral facilities, describing one Tulsa, Oklahoma facility, Shadow Mountain Behavioral Health, as having “a pattern of conduct that is extremely concerning and casts a dark cloud over UHS’s ability to properly care for its patients.”In 2010, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR), a 48 year mental health watchdog, began documenting abuses that employees and former employees of UHS psychiatric facilities, patients and their families reported to it. CCHR has filed more than 4,000 complaints to law enforcement, health officials, state FBI agencies, Federal and State legislators, and to the state branches of Tricare.
These also disclosed numerous psychiatrists affiliated with UHS and other for-profit behavioral health care facilities as top national and state prescribers of psychotropic drugs. The psychiatrists have billed millions of dollars each year to Medicare Part D (prescriptions). Concerned by the use of psychotropic drugs on military personnel and veterans, CCHR’s complaints noted that UHS developed a Patriot Support Program, providing treatment for active duty members in the Armed Forces. Veterans and their families are also treated in UHS behavioral facilities. Shadow Mountain accepts Tricare and VA insurance. CCHR welcomes any DOD investigation into potential fraudulent Tricare billing.
Senator Grassley also wrote to the Joint Commission, an accrediting organization that conducts surveys of healthcare facilities, asking to explain how it came to award a “Gold Seal of Approval” to Shadow Mountain. In response, the Joint Commission sent inspectors to Shadow Mountain who found “evidence of non-compliance of standards” in at least eight areas, including provision of care, treatment and services. Senator Grassley wasn’t happy about this and sent another letter calling on The Joint Commission for more transparency about what the surveyors had found, including releasing the hospital’s full accreditation reports to the public. Since 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (OIG-HHS) have been investigating UHS’s behavioral facilities.
Currently, there are 26 of these facilities under investigation for potential billing fraud in nine states—Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Virginia. In 2015, UHS’s headquarters in Pennsylvania was also added to the investigations.
Five years after the Federal investigations began UHS’s track record hasn’t changed. On April 10, 2017, the state of Massachusetts filed a suit against UHS in federal court, accusing it of illegally charging Medicaid for outpatient mental health care by unqualified staff.
As Modern Healthcare reported, “UHS this year has faced scrutiny” over allegations that the:
Conspiracy to Drug America? – Is Big Pharma Making Us Mentally Ill?
Pill Popping America – Is Big Pharma Making Us Mentally Ill?
With ever growing numbers of Americans being diagnosed with mental illness and drug companies making massive profits for medicating the population for these supposed diseases and disorders, some important questions should be asked:
Are so many of us truly mentally ill? – If the answer is yes, what is causing this upsurge in disorders?
If the answer is no, why are so many people being diagnosed and placed on brain altering psychotropic drugs? – What are the long-term effects of these powerful chemicals on our individual and societal health?
Should drug companies be allowed to market powerful drugs to the general public without a thorough discussion of the risks of consumption?
The Marketing of Madness: The Truth About Psychotropic Drugs
What are your thoughts on mental illness in America, the pharmaceutical industry, the prevalent marketing of psychotropic drugs, and the effects of these drugs on health?