Here’s yet another case raising questions about whether for-profit healthcare institutions are a good thing in an age of intense greed.
A year-long Buzz Feed investigation found that the psychiatric hospitals of huge Universal Health Services (UHS) put profits way ahead of patient welfare and cheated government and private-sector payers of vast sums. UHS is America’s largest chain of psychiatric hospitals.
Buzz Feed alleged that UHS psychiatric hospitals kept patients longer than needed and against their will to maximize reimbursement from insurers.
And the news service raised questions about the quality of care provided at the psychiatric hospitals.
UHS’s more than 200 psychiatric facilities admitted nearly 450,000 patients last year. The chain got almost $7.5 billion in revenues from inpatient care last year and profit margins of around 30 percent. (The average profit margin of companies in the S&P 500 is about 8 percent.)
More than a third of total revenue — from medical hospitals and psychiatric facilities — comes from taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid.
“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,” Buzz Feed reported.
To read the Buzz Feed report, please hit this link.