Category Archives: Mental.Health

Dumping Responsibility: The Case Against Closing CDPH Mental Health Clinics

Source: Mental Health Movement, January 2012

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2012 city budget will close six of 12 mental health clinics operated by the Chicago Department of Public Health that serve 5,300 city residents–most of them African-American (61%) or Latino (17%)–without regard to their ability to pay. These steep service cuts come even as public need for mental health services is growing.
While the city presents these reductions as a “consolidation” of services, an analysis of the CDPH budget, an assessment of need in Chicago and first-hand accounts from patients make clear the Emanuel closures are risky, ill-conceived, and riddled with hidden costs. Any closure of city MH clinics will disrupt services to thousands of patients, but the current headlong rush to closure is particularly ill-timed, poorly planned and dangerous.
– The city’s claimed cost savings are tiny and illusory.
– CDPH should cut waste–including $1.67 million in new spending on upper management salaries, outside contracts, advertising and surveys
– CDPH would transfer at least 1,100 Medicaid patients to private providers–effectively giving away federal reimbursement for their services.
– Closing six clinics will force 2,549 patients to travel to other city clinics or seek private care.
– CDPH is rushing to close clinics in just eight weeks–despite having six months of funding in the budget and nothing but an outline of a plan for patient care.
See also:
23 arrested protesting planned closure of Woodlawn Mental Health Center
Source: Peter Nickeas, Chicago Tribune, April 13, 2012

Alabama Plans to Close Most Hospitals for Mentally Ill

Source: Robbie Brown, New York Times, February 17, 2012

Alabama will shut down most of its mental health hospitals by the spring of 2013 in a sweeping plan to cut costs and change how the state’s psychiatric patients receive treatment, state officials announced on Wednesday.

The decision to close four hospitals and lay off 948 employees is a bleak reminder of Alabama’s shrinking budget. But it is also the latest example in a longstanding national effort among states to relocate mentally ill patients from government hospitals to small group homes and private hospitals.

Michigan prison privatization bid stalls / State’s laws on minimum wage snag plans

Source: Karen Bouffard, Detroit News, February 8, 2012

A law requiring contractors to pay prisoners minimum wage is holding up a privatization push meant to shave up to $93 million from the state Corrections budget this year, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Requests for proposals to privatize roughly $400 million in prison services were put on hold in January after a review by Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office revealed private contractors using prisoners for kitchen, janitorial and other duties would have to pay Michigan’s $7.40 an hour minimum wage — 10 times what unskilled prisoner employees are paid by the state….

…According to Marlan, the state hoped to save: $11 million on prisoner health services and $3.1 million on mental health services…$7 million annually by privatizing food services…

Investigation finds negligence in patient’s suicide at Miami hospital

Source: David Ovalle, Miami Herald, November 9, 2011

The death of a suicidal patient, who hurled himself from the eighth story of Jackson Memorial Hospital’s parking garage while in custody of a private security company, could have been prevented had an employee followed proper transportation procedure, a state investigation concluded.

The Florida Department of Children and Families, in a report released this week, revealed that there was more than enough “evidence to support the allegations of death due to neglect.”

The patient, James Bragman, 50, had been a patient at the South Florida State Hospital in Pembroke Pines, run by a subsidiary of Boca Raton-based The GEO Group, one the nation’s largest providers of private prison services and mental health care. GEO is a likely bidder for Gov. Rick Scott’s plan to privatize certain prisons.

Officials diagnosing effects of possible public-health cuts

Source: Elizabeth Cooper, Observer-Dispatch, October 19, 2011

Now, those clinics and other county public health services are in the crosshairs as officials look for places to cut back in the 2012 budget. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is looking to slice as much as $350,000 from the health department. Much of the plan has yet to be hammered out….Some services such as the public health clinic and a program for expectant and new mothers could be cut or privatized….In recent years as budgets tightened, officials in counties across the state have looked to privatize or cut services, and there is more of the same in store….Benjamin pointed out that many counties have privatized their nursing homes and mental health services….The county would send out a Request for Proposals and see what agencies responded, what they said they could do and how much it would cost. One such organization is the Rochester Primary Care Network, which operates the Utica Community Health Center.

La. privatizing behavioral health management

Source: Molly Davis, Associated Press, July 20, 2011

The Department of Health and Hospitals will soon choose a private company to manage its upcoming coordination of services provided by various state agencies to at-risk children.

The Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership will pull together programs from the juvenile justice, social services, health and education departments. It is planned for launch in February.

Va could privatize sex-offender commitment program; residents threaten to sue if double bunked

Source: Dena Potter, Associated Press, May 26, 2011

An unsolicited proposal has Virginia officials considering if privatization is the best way to control the state’s costly and rapidly expanding program to indefinitely detain sex offenders for treatment after they have completed prison sentences….

…The department decided to seek requests for proposals after Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Care submitted an unsolicited proposal to run Virginia’s program. It costs the state about $97,000 per year to treat each civilly committed offender. While specifics are confidential during the bidding process, GEO Care said it could provide the treatment and increase capacity for “significantly less.”…

….GEO Care is a subsidiary of The GEO Group, which operates prisons, detention centers and sex- offender and mental-health facilities in 15 states. Last year it had revenues of more than $1 billion from government contracts.
It currently operates Virginia’s only private prison, the 1,500-bed, medium-security Lawrenceville Correctional Center.

Woman Says State’s Bungled Privatization of Family Services Cost Her Her Eyes

Source: Robert Kahn, Courthouse News Service, May 25, 2011

Indiana’s privatization of its Family & Social Services Administration, on a $1.3 billion contract with IBM, widely viewed as a failure and a boondoggle, cost a woman her eyes, she says, when the system kicked her adult schizophrenic son off Medicaid for 4 months, despite her repeated submissions of all the documents it requested. With no medication, and no one to care for him but her, the man “said his voices had told him to gouge out her eyes, and he did,” she says in her claim against Indiana and IBM.
Editorial: Overwhelmed agency
Source: Journal Gazette, May 28, 2011
Three FSSA employees accused of taking $200,000
Source: Eric Bradner, Courier Press, May 24, 2011
OUR OPINION: Indiana welfare clients get their day in court
Source: South Bend Tribune, August 16, 2011

Chattahoochee fears privatization proposal

Source: Jeff Burlew, Florida Today, March 16, 2011

The small town of Chattahoochee would be hard hit under a proposal by Gov. Rick Scott to privatize Florida State Hospital, former and current workers, union representatives and elected leaders said Tuesday. The mental hospital at Chattahoochee is Gadsden County’s largest employer, with 2,000-plus workers… Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget calls for privatizing the state’s three mental hospitals in Chattahoochee, Gainesville and Macclenny, near Jacksonville. Lawmakers are trying to cut at least $3.6 billion from last year’s $70.5 billion spending plan to balance the budget.

Related WCTV: Former State Hospital Workers Speak Out on Privatization

Group home worker slain; resident held / Hours-long hunt leads to troubled suspect

Source: Travis Andersen and Patricia Wen, Boston Globe, January 21, 2011

REVERE — A 27-year-old mentally troubled man was arrested last night and charged with the murder of a young female employee of the small group home where he lived….He will be charged in the slaying of Stephanie Moulton, 25, of Peabody, who had worked as a residential counselor at a group home in Revere run by the North Suffolk Mental Health Association, under contract with the state Department of Mental Health….

…Moore said her agency, in business for 50 years, has occasionally recorded altercations between staff and patients, but nothing of this magnitude. She said the agency runs training sessions to make sure staff members know how to protect themselves and reduce risks…

… At the time she was attacked, Moulton was likely to have been the only employee at the group home, which lodges up to five men with mental illness. Her job called for her to manage the food and other needs of the residents and to monitor their psychiatric medications and other therapeutic services.