Local Psych Hospitals are in Trouble, Furthering Mental Health Shortage

Over the past few weeks, two different mental health systems have made headlines for violations. NBC 5 reported that the Arlington location of Sundance Behavioral Health System surrendered its license and ceased operations after allegations that it held patients against their will, and the Dallas Morning News reported that the Dallas Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in DeSoto is losing medicare funding after suspected sex amongst minors and patients left untreated.

The allegations come on the heels of the closing of Timberlawn Psychiatric Hospital earlier this year.

The law firm representing Sundance Behavioral Healthcare System, said it cannot afford to stay open because of legal costs, and patients have been transferred to other hospitals, NBC reports. In November, the hospital was indicted on nine charges of breaking the Texas Mental Health Code. The indictment says the hospital detained patients for up to 48 hours and wouldn’t let voluntary patients leave when they wanted to.

Inspectors from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission visited the hospital numerous times, finding problems with the care. Despite the reports of substandard care, the hospital only received fines of $28,500 in August 2016 for pervious violations and $650 in 2017 for not holding required fire drills, according to NBC.

At Dallas Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, the DMN reports that federal officials said the hospital will lose Medicare funding in the next couple weeks due to numerous violations. The 116-bed hospital is accused of letting underage patients have sex, having staff that didn’t know how to deal with sexual predators, not treating patients in a timely manner, and a 12-year-old boy who was injected with anti-psychotic drugs for “agitation,” even though footage showed hum watching cartoons. Hospital administrators say they have no plans to shut down. Medicare is eight percent of the hospital’s $63 million budget.

Read more about Sundance here and the DeSoto hospital here.