Like many good pieces of journalism lately, I think this one slipped out of notice for far too many people. BuzzFeed reporter Rosalind Adams has put together an excellent expose of the way that psych wards trap individuals in order to maximize profits.
Summary: Healthcare for profit is good for profit and bad for health. Which we knew, but it’s good to have details as we head into Trump’s “for-profit presidency.”
A yearlong BuzzFeed News investigation — based on interviews with 175 current and former UHS staff, including 18 executives who ran UHS hospitals; more than 120 additional interviews with patients, government investigators, and other experts; and a cache of internal documents — raises grave questions about the extent to which those profits were achieved at the expense of patients.
Current and former employees from at least 10 UHS hospitals in nine states said they were under pressure to fill beds by almost any method — which sometimes meant exaggerating people’s symptoms or twisting their words to make them seem suicidal — and to hold them until their insurance payments ran out.
A state-funded 2011 report on one Chicago hospital found “woefully inadequate” staffing levels, a “repeated and willful failure by UHS officials to ensure that their staff were properly trained,” and a pattern of admitting more patients than it had room for “in an effort to maximize financial profit.” Investigators also flagged broader concerns, citing “troubling reports suggesting a pattern of quality of care issues, harm to patients, or major healthcare fraud charges involving UHS-operating facilities in a dozen other states.”
It’s a long-read, filled with upsetting personal narratives. Read THE WHOLE THING if you can.