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Mental Health Fraud in Florida
26 Mar
1

Mental Health Funding – Propping up a Fraudulent System

Mental Health Fraud in FloridaPR men hired by pharmaceutical companies and psychiatric vested interests have created a false world peopled by millions of the “under served” mentally ill.

According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) 1 out of 5 adults suffer from mental illness in any given year. 1

This number may seem extravagant, but the defining bible of psychiatric disorders (the DSM) has been called a hoax for its reduction of everyday human emotional reactions to “mental disorders,” a convenient way to increase the number, at least on paper, of those who suffer from mental illness.

Psychotherapist Eric R. Maisel Ph.D. states in Psychology Today, “The DSM is a disease-mongering naming game where collections of disparate painful thoughts and feelings and unwanted or distressing behaviors are given profit-seeking labels. That is all the DSM does. It tells a story about life, that behaviors like restlessness and feelings like sadness are medical problems, without ever announcing its premises or its motives. It doesn’t just name or label: it imputes. By calling sadness ‘depression’ or restlessness ‘attention deficit disorder’ it secretly imputes biological causes for which there is no evidence. They want us to believe that biological abnormality is at play, so that they can prescribe drugs, without having to frankly say that there are biological abnormalities at play, which might require that they prove their assertions.” 2

The Motive is Profit

Dr. Maisel also states, “…in fact the creators of the DSM blithely announce that they are unconcerned about whether or not their definition of a ‘mental disorder’ is true. They explain that ‘The diagnosis of a mental disorder should have clinical utility,’ not that it should be true. There you go. Since they do not mean by clinical utility that a diagnosis be either valid or reliable, they must mean that it be profitable.” 3

That psychiatric drugs are profitable is undeniable. In this unholy alliance between pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists, money in the billions of dollars is amassed annually.

In a 12 month study, from June 2013 to July 2014 the following psychiatric drugs showed billions of dollars of profit individually.

  1. Abilify ($7,240,043,661) Pfizer was fined $2.3 billion by the Dept. of Justice for promoting this drug for off label purposes. A mere slap on the wrist when the profit for sales of the drug was over 7 billion.
  2. Cymbalta ($2,839,722,673) This drug costs $200 for 30 capsules.
  3. Lyrica ($2,782,036,977) Once again, Pfizer was fined 2.3 billion by the Dept. of Justice for promoting this drug for off label purposes. Another wrist slap for the pharmaceutical giant.
  4. Vyvanse ($1,940,313,035) This drug costs $200 for 30 capsules.
  5. Namenda ($1,774,338,290) $300 for a 30 day supply
  6. Suboxone ($1,388,999,843)
  7. Seroquel XR ($1,266,841,322) 4

Obviously there is big money in convincing a large portion of the population they are mentally ill.

Fraud in Florida?

John and Catherine Drew operate Florida Psychological Associates in northeastern Florida. It seems the two of them wanted to “start a pilot program” to conduct early mental health assessment for schoolchildren and criminal defendants. But they were a bit cash-strapped.

Senator Aaron Bean, a close family friend, came to the rescue. Initially Sen. Bean asked legislative leaders to add $700,000 to the state budget for the Drew’s pet project. When this proposal was eventually completely rejected by the House, Bean and his buddies got a little creative.

A lawmaker said that Bean asked him to make a $1 million request for the program that was hidden in the Florida State University College of Medicine budget.

The secret $1 million appropriation would not be subject to the governor’s line-item veto.

Sen. Bean and Drew discussed this proposal via email. Apparently there was no “shredding” of these emails, as on December 18, 2015 an email addressed to the senator, a marketing consultant and other people openly discussed how “everyone involved in the effort stood to benefit financially from the deal.” 5

This flagrant example of political aid towards a mental health vested interest may be only the tip of the iceberg.

Mental Health Funding: Who Wins, Who Loses?

Pharmaceutical companies have very deep pockets; in 2015 Drug companies spent $5.2 billion on TV ads. 6 Obviously this has paid off enormously – witness the profit for individual drugs as stated earlier.

The alliance between drug companies and prescription-writing psychiatrists is undeniable. There is certainly a vested interest in convincing us, their hoped-for public, that our emotional upsets, our grief and our confusions are due to a “chemical imbalance in the brain” and not merely human reaction to life on planet earth.

Stating that they, the psychiatric industry has the solution to our “mental disorders” is taken from an ancient marketing playbook: convince your public they need your product, then provide it at a great profit.

But this product has grave consequences for the consumer.

Dr. Robert Berezin writes in Psychology Today, “People actually believe that human struggle is a brain disease. It is now taken as fact that there is a chemical imbalance in the brain and psychoactive drugs is just what the doctor ordered. We can now cure biological depression with antidepressants; biological anxiety with benzodiazepines; the fictitious ADHD with, of all things, amphetamines; insomnia with benzodiazepines, and other bizarre psychoactive drugs… The real source of human suffering is not, nor ever has been, the brain.” 7

We can and must prevent extortion of our tax dollars by those pushing mental health funding. The number of psychiatrists and psychologists who are whistle blowers for their professions is increasing. Hopefully their message will drown out the false claims of the profit hungry psychiatrists and pharmaceutical company executives.

Sources:

1   http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers

2   https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rethinking-psychology/201207/the-great-dsm-hoax

3   ibid

4   http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/08/12/top-selling-psychiatric-drugs-united-states-july-2013-june-2014/

5   http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/documents-florida-legislator-helped-friend-with-secret-1-million-state-payment/423919195

6   https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/side-effects/201605/the-effort-rid-tv-pharma-ads

7   https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-theater-the-brain/201507/psychiatric-drugs-are-false-prophets-big-profits

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26 Mar
0

For-profit Psychiatric Hospitals Rake in Millions While Under Investigation for Fraud

Universal Health Services, Inc., headquarters in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. (Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA)

For-profit psychiatric hospitals have continued cheating taxpayers and abusing government programs with fraudulent billing practices. At the same time they are piling up record profits, these facilities deliver terrible service to patients and create a dangerous working environment for hospital staff.

As early as 1998 Psychiatric Times reported that some private health care centers were billing $600 to $700 a day per patient for their services. The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) who managed the Medicare program for elderly patients kicked 80 of these for-profit Community Health Care Centers out of the Medicare program for the rampant fraud, errors and abuse.

What was Medicare being billed for by these CMHCs? Services not covered, not provided and not medically necessary including non-medical related entertainment like bingo.

The Psychiatric Times reported that between 1993 and 1996 eleven cents out of every dollar spent on Medicare reimbursements were the result of fraud, error or abuse. Thus, $38.5 million dollars were diverted from the elderly into the pockets of noncomplying clinic operators. [i]

But the for-profit psychiatric hospital industry was just getting wise to the vast sums to be made contracting to provide services for government mental health programs.

Did This Financial Abuse Ever Get Handled?

Today, Universal Health Services, Inc (UHS) runs the biggest network of private for-profit psychiatric hospitals in the United States – They operate 221 behavioral care facilities located throughout 38 states.

This equates to providing 20% of all inpatient behavioral health services in the country.

The UHS story is a prime example of the poor oversight given to private psychiatric facilities and the slap on the wrist attitude that has allowed them to stay open while being investigated for fraud by state and federal agencies.

Media in Boston Describes UHS Fraud

In 2013 the Massachusetts Dept. of Mental Health suspended Brookline psychiatric hospital – part of UHS’s Arbour group of facilities – from admitting any new patients due to unsafe conditions.

This stemmed from serious safety and human rights violations including the forcible strip-search of a woman.

The woman was restrained physically, medicated and stripped of her clothing with little regard to her privacy.

Many staff members, male and female, were involved in this incident including but not limited to the maintenance staff. A video camera showed people stopping by to watch the procedure through the window to the patient’s room.

But Brookline was very soon accepting patients again because the state inspector was satisfied that Arbour was working on improving things. Yet no changes were made to the hospital’s administrative staff who allowed this human rights abuse to take place. [ii]

Then in 2016, Brookline and 3 other UHS psychiatric hospitals In Massachusetts received surprise visits from inspectors and again abuses were found.

This time inspectors found such prevalent patient care problems that the state officials were forced to send in an onsite monitor to oversee improvements. [iii]

Deficiencies at the 4 UHS facilities included insufficient staff, failure to check on patients every 15 minutes as required, incomplete treatment plans, dirty bedrooms, and vacancies in key leadership positions. Three of the four hospitals lack a chief executive. Patients complained of being treated disrespectfully.

Despite these deplorable conditions, only a mild warning was given by the State of Massachusetts.[iv]

But again in 2016 the Arbour Health Systems owned by UHS was in trouble.

UHS’s reputation for fraud had exploded, with facilities across the country being investigated by the Department of Justice. All five Massachusetts UHS hospitals were included in these investigations.

In one instance, The US Supreme Court planned to review a case brought by the parents of a deceased Massachusetts teenager against Universal Health Services. Yarushka Rivera died soon after receiving care at an Arbour clinic in Lawrence. Her parents contend that the company defrauded government insurance programs by charging for services provided by therapists unqualified to care for their daughter, who was covered by Medicaid. [v]

Less than a year later Brookline was back in The Boston Globe news. It was discovered by workplace safety inspectors that employees had suffered broken bones and concussions while interacting with violent patients.

According to The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the hospital “has not developed and implemented adequate measures to protect employees from aggressive patients. Nurses and mental health workers were punched, hit, scratched, bitten, and hit with objects including a soda bottle and a wooden dresser drawer,” the federal agency said. [vi]

What did OSHA do? Fined the hospital a token $12,675!

OSHA also told the hospital it should address the lapses by hiring more staff, implementing a “buddy system” for employees responding to violent patients, equipping staff with silent emergency alert buttons, and forming a violence prevention team. [vii]

However, UHS does not have a good record of voluntary compliance with actually making their promised improvements.

UHS Still Racking Up Profits in Florida While Under Fraud Investigations

Central Florida Behavioral Hospital in Orlando is an example of a UHS facility still doing business as usual despite investigations and continuous reports of violations.

Here is a timeline of some of their issues:

  • Local attorney Mac McLeod wins settlement of more than $10 million in Orange County wrongful death case. Date: April 23, 2016
  • Feds widen fraud probe of Universal Health Services to include headquarters. Date: April 1, 2015
  • Questions surround man’s death while in care of Central Florida Behavioral Hospital. Date: October 9, 2014
  • Patient with known nut allergy given peanut butter in suicide attempt. Date: August 27, 2014
  • Patient Not Given Prescribed Medications. Date: July 17, 2013
  • Patient Escape Through Entrance Door. Date: December 7, 2012
  • Young Patients Shuffled Between Units Because Census Exceeded Capacity. Date: December 14, 2011
  • Informed Consent for Meds not Obtained for Four Patients. Date: February 12, 2009
  • Patient Vitals Not Documented. Date: January 15, 2009 [viii]

Meanwhile the fiscal report for Central Florida Behavioral Hospital looked like this in 2015:

They showed total assets of $39,854,335.58

Their General Revenue income for the year was only $7,121.75

But their Contract Income from Medicaid, The Dept. of Children and Families and the Juvenile Welfare Board was $80,429,807.50 [ix]

UHS facilities are propped up by their government contracts to deliver psychiatric services to kids, adults and seniors.

Despite years of abuse reports and investigations, UHS still provides 1 out of every 5 psychiatric beds in the US.

UHS receives $2.3 billion dollars annually from Medicare and Medicaid for their behavioral health care services.

They receive hundreds of millions more from the military for veterans’ mental health care. [x]

The Golden Goose May Be Coming to an End

With the Justice Department looking into UHS hospitals across the country, employee unions speaking out about the abuses and media investigations in many cities, this profit motivated behemoth may find it’s not such a great business model after all.

When a Buzzfeed investigative article appeared on Dec. 7th 2016 the company’s stock lost 12% in one day for its investors.

Because of this loss, Lundin Law PC, a shareholder rights firm announced a class action lawsuit recently against Universal Health Services, Inc. calling for shareholders who purchased or otherwise acquired Universal Health shares between February 26, 2015 and December 7, 2016 to join the lawsuit.

Lundin Law points out in its case that “[c]urrent 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.” [xi]

Legitimate lawsuits by investors, victims and employees could bring a fitting end to this fraudulent chain of for-profit psychiatric hospitals.

Sources:

[i] http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/articles/rampant-fraud-and-abuse-medicare-funds-alleged-community-mental-health-care-centers

[ii] https://www.boston.com/culture/health/2013/12/11/brookline-psychiatric-hospital-resumes-taking-patients

[iii] https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2016/05/04/state-assigns-monitor-oversee-four-arbour-psychiatric-hospitals/MjovktVtvq5bRdkANfsIjJ/story.html

[iv] Ibid

[v] https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2016/03/06/five-arbour-hospitals-under-investigation/6IzpUukCAaD8YJjlEYmyEI/story.html

[vi] https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/02/08/osha-cites-brookline-psychiatric-hospital/xJda9EH54yJlbeNLdZ3GGJ/story.html

[vii] Ibid

[viii] http://uhsbehindcloseddoors.org/item/central-floridaflorida-behavioral-hospital/

[ix] http://www.cfbhn.org/Documents/BOD/02262016%20BOD%20Packet.pdf

[x] http://uhsbehindcloseddoors.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/UHS-Fact-Sheet-2015-10-K-Update.pdf

[xi] http://finance.yahoo.com/news/uhs-equity-alert-lundin-law-021600036.html

 

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Mental Health
16 Mar
0

Mental Health Legislation: Good-Hearted People Swayed by Vested Interests

Mental HealthWhat is at the heart of a new demand for mental health legislation in Florida? Obviously, Floridians love to help. Most all of us would stop and assist a lost child, happily provide food to hungry veterans or provide holiday gifts to families in need. Seemingly it is in the nature 98 percent of the world’s population to help our fellows. Those of us in Florida are no different.

But are psychiatrists and mental health workers actually helping their patients? This is wildly debatable, even within their own ranks.

This quote from The Sun Sentinel illustrates a point:

“In Titusville, a mentally ill man randomly shot and killed an elderly patient and employee at a hospital. The shooter had previously been arrested and taken into custody for mental health evaluations multiple times.” 1

A usual part of  a “mental health evaluation” is a treatment plan. Was this mentally ill man prescribed one (or several) psychotropic drugs? Even if he were not on a psychiatric medication, how accurate could the evaluation and treatment have been, since it ended with a double murder?

Psychiatry Admits Inability to Cure

The profession of psychiatry admits their helplessness to permanently improve the lot of the mentally distressed, as in this statement made in Psychology Today “…regardless of any scientific breakthroughs looming on the horizon, the treatment for mental illness tomorrow, will look pretty much like it does today. Mentally ill persons will still need a coordinated team of professionals to deliver adequate care. We will still need psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, financial assistance programs, outreach teams and crisis intervention. There will still be sticky court cases regarding ‘forced’ treatment. Psychiatric hospitals, outpatient offices and emergency rooms will still be there.” 2

Numerous psychotropic drugs have been linked to violent behavior and other disturbing side effects. In a Time article from 2011, nine out of the top 10 drugs associated with violence are psychiatric drugs. 3

Psychiatric Drugs: An Elephant in the Room

The English idiom “Elephant in the room” perfectly describes the phenomena of legislative and public blindness to this disturbing and tragic situation. Many find it hard to believe that their doctor would ever prescribe something that could potentially cause harm.

While psychiatry lobbies for legislation to protect and expand their questionable activities, some in their rank are attempting to reign them in.

In a 2016 Psychology Today interview, psychiatrist Peter Breggin states,

“When taken for months or years, all psychiatric drugs can seriously damage the brain, prevent recovery, and ruin the individual’s quality of life.”

In this same interview Dr. Breggin speaks of his court victories in testifying for those harmed by psychiatry.  “I am proud to have been the medical or psychiatric expert in the very first malpractice trial victories involving electroshock (ECT) and psychosurgery, and more recently, many cases involving the adverse effects of psychiatric drugs such as tardive dyskinesia (a movement disorder caused by antipsychotic drugs), and murder and suicide caused by antidepressants, stimulants, and  benzodiazepines.” 4

Alternatives to Psychiatric Treatment

There may be inertia in the United States in changing how the profoundly mentally ill are treated.

But one shining example our own country might follow is that of the town of Geel, in Belgium. For centuries, the severely mentally disturbed have lived in Geel, boarding with people who take them in and watch over them. They are not treated with drugs or electroshock therapy. They are not called patients, they are called “boarders.”  They are happy, proving once and for all that there are humane ways to deal with the truly mentally ill. 5

For the millions of people falsely labeled with a mental disorder and prescribed harmful pharmaceuticals, education into the side effects with stress on alternative and natural treatments is key. For instance, there is strong evidence that fish oil can manage depression. 6

We don’t need more Mental Health Legislation. Many would argue we need the opposite, legislation to reign in psychiatry and protect Florida citizens from its potential abuse.

1    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-ggoped-mental-health-florida-20170112-story.html

2    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/braintalk/201408/cure-mental-illness

3    http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/07/top-ten-legal-drugs-linked-to-violence/

4    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rethinking-mental-health/201604/peter-breggin-the-psycho-pharmaceutical-complex

5    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/01/484083305/for-centuries-a-small-town-has-embraced-strangers-with-mental-illness

6    http://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/mental-health/fish-oil-for-depression/

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Crazy Brain Medicine
16 Mar
0

CCHR Files over 2,300 Complaints on Psychiatric Abuse in Florida

Crazy Brain MedicineThe Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the eradication of abuses committed under the guise of mental health, has filed over 2,300 complaints on psychiatric abuse in Florida in an ongoing effort to clean up the field of mental health.

As a non-profit mental health watchdog that has, for 48 years, worked to protect patients’ rights, CCHR receives numerous reports, through its investigations and otherwise, of alleged abuse or fraud and since 2015 the Florida chapter has filed over 2,300 complaints with the appropriate government agencies and state officials in an effort to clean up psychiatric abuse in the state.

“Filing complaints on behalf of these victims is just one of the actions we are taking to change the mental health system and protect all citizens under the law,” said Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida. “We are the voice for those who have suffered at the hands criminal psychiatrists.”

CCHR Florida has a psychiatric abuse hotline that receives complaints from people who have been the victims of abuse within the mental health industry.  The types of abuse range from unlawful detainment, to over drugging, sexual assault and even death.

The hotline is manned by staff and volunteers trained in the mental health law, commonly known as the Baker Act, through the Florida Department of Children and Families. When a person calls for help they are educated on their rights under the law, given assistance to address the situation they are calling about and the abuse they or their loved ones suffered is documented so that a complaint can be filed on their behalf and with their permission.

Victims of psychiatric abuse, as well as their friends and family, are encouraged to call the hotline at 800-782-2878, to fill out an abuse case report form on the CCHR website or to come into the center at 109 N. Fort Harrison which is open seven days a week.  The assistance provided by CCHR is free of charge.

About CCHR:

Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections.

It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world.  In March 1969, he said, “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed.  All in the name of ‘mental health.’”

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01 Mar
0

CCHR Florida Steps Up Campaign to Protect the Elderly from Harmful Baker Acting

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the eradication of abuses committed under the guise of mental health, stepped up a campaign launched in 2016 to educate the elderly on their rights under the mental health by asking Florida Legislators to help stop the unnecessary and harmful Baker Acting of seniors.

After asking Florida Legislators to help stop the unnecessary and harmful Baker Acting of seniors, CCHR announced a month long open house in honor of Brain Awareness week at the center located in downtown Clearwater beginning March 1st, as part of the campaign to protect the stop the harmful Baker Acting of seniors.

According to the Annual Report of Baker Act Data, 13,856 individuals 65 and older were sent for involuntary psychiatric examination in 2015.  While this is only about 7% of the total number of initiated involuntary examinations, it is known that there is a real danger of harm being caused in the transfer of senior citizens from long-term care facilities to Baker Act facilities.[i]

In fact, a Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) report[ii] which references an article titled “A Brief Literature Review of the Effects of Relocation on the Elderly” states that long term care elderly patients have an elevated mortality risk between 1.99 and 3.76 times greater when they are relocated.  This same DCF report also states that according to the U.S government’s Administration on Aging, Transfer Trauma, a sudden and unexpected relocation, is associated with depression, increased irritability, serious illness and elevated mortality risk for the frail elderly.

In 2016, CCHR launched a campaign in honor of National Senior Citizens Day to help protect the elderly from abuse under the mental health law and this week stepped up the campaign to begin asking Florida Legislators to help stop unnecessary and potentially harmful Baker Acting.

“People suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s are not mentally ill and should not be Baker Acted,” said Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida. “A 289 page report created in 2013 by the Purple Ribbon Task Force[iii] in Florida clearly states that Baker Acting is not an appropriate intervention yet it is still being done with regularity.”

For more information on the open house or the protection of elder rights under the mental health law please call 727-442-8820 or visit www.cchrflorida.org.

About CCHR:

Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections.

It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world.  In March 1969, he said, “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed.  All in the name of ‘mental health.’” For more information visit, www.cchrflorida.org

Sources:

[i] A Brief Literature Review of the Effects of Relocation on the Elderly http://www.heu.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research_reports/HEU_Literature_Review_Sept23_2002.pdf

[ii] Florida Department of Health, Long Term Care Facilities Alternatives to the Baker Act http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/samh/MentalHealth/laws/LongTermCareFacilities.pdf

[iii] 2013 FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS State Plan on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Forms of Dementia (ADRD) http://act.alz.org/site/DocServer/FL_State_Plan__Aug_2013_.pdf/931185879?docID=26221

 

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01 Mar
0

Baker Act Harms Elderly with Dementia and Alzheimer’s

In Citrus County Florida alone, 20 percent of all those Baker acted have either dementia or Alzheimer’s

The Baker Act, a Florida law which allows judges, law enforcement officers, doctors and mental health officials to initiate a process to involuntarily institutionalize those exhibiting mental illness is especially dangerous for the elderly. If an older person suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, the act of being committed against their will is painfully upsetting.

The transport itself can be disorienting but when that is followed by a separation from all that is familiar, including loved ones and caregivers the experience can be traumatic. Being then placed in a group of people who are suffering from mental illness can be extremely frightening to these fragile seniors.

In Citrus County Florida alone, 20 percent of all those Baker acted have either dementia or Alzheimer’s.

The site Coping with Dementia gives additional advice, “For the care personnel at the psychiatric centers there should be full dementia caregiver training to avoid further trauma, physical harm, and human suffering among individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. And such individuals should never be placed in a general population of drug addicts, psychotics, and suicidal patients. Today they are. Just imagine a frightened and confused elder with dementia being thrown into such an environment. For them, it is bedlam, and how can that help, either with assessment or treatment?”

The article continues:

“…For example, the law requires that your loved one will be placed under observation for a minimum of 72 hours, during which you may not see or visit them. But, often the “72 hours” will coincide with a weekend, and you may not be able to see or communicate with them for four or five days. Think about how they will feel and react to this period of isolation in an alien environment. 1

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are not mentally caused illnesses. Both have physical causes and are related to impairments of the brain itself. 2

CCHR FL (Citizens Committee on Human Rights of  Florida) has documented many cases where an elderly patient was severely abused by psychiatrists and other mental health workers after being improperly Baker Acted by an ignorant neighbor, police officer or medical personnel.

90 Year Old Veteran Baker Acted Unjustly

The son of a 90 year old, three war veteran reported an outrageous misuse of the Baker Act to CCHR FL.

The elderly father was in an independent living center, paying for daily assistance with meds, getting to meals, daily hygiene and other normal tasks. He suffers from short term memory loss and has early onset of dementia, which is why he pays for the extra daily help.

The video between this gentleman and the people who committed him proves there was absolutely no reason for the actions taken that deprived him of his rights. Rather, a degrading and demeaning interview by the deputy with such questions as “Why were you in Korea…to bomb the country?” ensued.

There was information in plain view in the man’s room with information on his medical condition and family contact data. The veteran stated he was not allowed to contact his son.

This is taken from the CCHR report, “The veteran’s wife passed away in 1995 and his eldest child passed in 2014. He has stated thousands of times over the years that he is ready to die and never wanted to live to be 90 years old. He states it daily and his stock answer to questions of how he’s feeling is ‘Weak, wobbly and ready to die’. The veteran has never mentioned anything about suicide or hurting himself or anyone else. In fact, in answering the security guards question if he was thinking about suicide, the veteran says no and explains that that would mean an eternity in hell.”

Yet this man was Baker Acted.

Woman Dies after Psychiatric Abuse

There are even more horrific stories, such as that of a 57 year old Orthodox Jewish woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. She was Baker Acted in December of 2014 and subsequently committed by court order the following February.

After being transferred to Northeast Florida State Hospital (NEFSH) from Circles of Care in July 2015, the nightmare unfolded. Her medical condition worsened, and per her sister’s report, she had been attacked by other patients and had fallen and had many bruises. She was disoriented and her physical coordination was impaired by the medication. She was also given surgery not recommended for dementia patients. She was often dehydrated and improperly fed.

On January 21, 2016 this woman was found unresponsive. Several doctors and staff revived her, but she was then left at the psychiatric ward for the night, dehydrated and starving. Her regular medical doctor demanded she be transferred to the medical ward, and an argument with the psychiatrist ensued. The psychiatrist insisted the patient’s condition was mental, not medical. However, when the medical doctor demanded all psychotropic drugs be discontinued, she (the medical doctor) was abruptly removed from the patient’s care.

Making a horrific situation even worse, the patient lost her ability to speak English. She reverted to her native tongue, which was Hebrew. The medical staff could no longer understand even a simple request for a glass of water.

Her sister tried repeatedly to get the suffering woman into a skilled nursing home that would be religious and language appropriate, and in fact three excellent facilities were discovered and gave admission acceptance. But the doctors, nurse and administrative staff at Northeast Florida State Hospital blocked the transfer, stating she should remain in a locked Assisted Living Facility.

The patient died in May of 2016.

These are only two examples of the many injustices created by Baker Acting elderly people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Since psychiatrists often prey on those least able to defend themselves (children and frail elderly) it is crucial that the full extent of the law be implemented in prosecuting them for any and all crimes committed in the name of “help”.

Sources:

1    http://coping.today/for-people-with-dementia-beware-of-the-baker-act/

2    https://www.ourparents.com/care-topics/2015/03/26/dementia-and-mental-illness-is-dementia-a-psychiatric-disorder/

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Children
17 Feb
1

CCHR Educates Over 146,000 Families on Their Rights Under the Baker Act

ChildrenThe Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the eradication of abuses committed under the guise of mental health, has reached over 146,000 families in a campaign to prevent abuse of the Baker Act by educating families on their rights and exposing unnecessary involuntary examinations of minors in Florida.

CLEARWATER, FL, February 15, 2017 – Participating in hundreds of family orientated events over the past year, CCHR is on a crusade to stop the unjust involuntary examination of children in Florida without parental consent or knowledge.

The mental health law in Florida, commonly known as the Baker Act, allows for the initiation of involuntary psychiatric examination of anyone no matter their age and this includes children.

Seen as a statewide problem, the number of children in Florida being sent for involuntary examination has continued to climb with a 50 percent increase from fiscal year 2010 to 2015[i] according to statistics just released and a recent BuzzFeed article highlighted the abuse that is all too common in the system.

The BuzzFeed article tells the story of a 6-year-old child whose parents said the boy had merely thrown a tantrum but who ended up in a hospital owned by America’s largest psychiatric chain, Universal Health Services (UHS). According to the article, the child was held for three days and the UHS facility, River Point Behavioral Health, filed a court petition to keep the child longer. While in the hospital, the boy suffered a bloody nose and was locked in a seclusion room in the middle of the night.[ii]

Another BuzzFeed article in the series reports, “UHS’s 211 psychiatric hospitals in the United States earned $7.5 billion in revenues last year. More than a third of the company’s overall revenue comes from taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid.[iii]  A federal inquiry into Medicare fraud has targeted about one in ten UHS hospitals. UHS has denied wrongdoing and said it is cooperating with the investigation. The company has not been charged.”

There are five UHS facilities in Florida under investigation by the Federal Department of Justice and the Office of the Inspector General.[iv]

“Our Abuse Hotline receives calls on a weekly basis from the parents of children that have been Baker Acted without their consent,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida.  “And unfortunately we are finding that the majority of these children don’t event meet the criteria for involuntary psychiatric examination.”

Taking action to stop this abuse, CCHR is educating families on their rights under the Baker Act and has reached over 146,000 families at hundreds of events in the Tampa Bay area since launching a new website designed to make the public more aware of this abuse of the law.  Concerned parents are encouraged to contact CCHR Florida to learn more about their rights under the law at 800-782-2878. For more information visit www.cchrflorida.org.

About CCHR:

Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world.  In March 1969, he said, “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed.  All in the name of ‘mental health.’”

[i] http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/numbers-show-surge-in-baker-act-exams-of-kids-in-tampa-bay-area/2306799

[ii] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/how-a-6-year-old-got-locked-on-a-psych-ward#.vmmEZ6xaw

[iii] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/lawmakers-sound-alarms-on-uhs-psychiatric-hospitals?utm_term=.kgYY6vGPD#.lxZBzAZgl

[iv] https://www.cchrint.org/2016/01/18/psych-hospital-chain-closes-florida-facility/

 

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Dyslexia
17 Feb
1

Psychiatrists’ Bible Goes Too Far in Naming Disorders

DyslexiaDSM 5, (the fifth and most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) is the psychiatric bible of mental diagnoses.

An open letter very critical of DSM 5 was written by several divisions of the  American Psychological Association. An article in Psychology Today describes the psychologists’ protest against this latest version.

“The letter summarizes the grave dangers of DSM 5 that for some time have seemed patently apparent to everyone except those who are actually working on it. The short list of the most compelling problems includes: reckless expansion of the diagnostic system (through the inclusion of untested new diagnoses and reduced thresholds for old ones); the lack of scientific rigor and independent review; and dimensional proposals that are too impossibly complex ever to be used by clinicians.”

Even though the American Psychiatric Association has no sovereignty over psychiatric diagnosis, the APA has been preparing the DSM for sixty years, since no other group wanted to do it. 1

Typical of fraudulent “mental disorders” in the DSM 5 include both dyslexia (a term that describes difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols) and and dyscalculia (severe difficulty in making arithmetical calculations).

There is no sane reason for their placement in the DSM, as psychiatry does not even pretend to treat or cure these difficulties in learning.

Dyslexia and Dyscalculia Treated Successfully Through Education

Theories abound as to what causes dyslexia and dyscalculia, but by definition they are not “mental disorders.”

A child who has difficulty in mathematics, and even struggles with simple addition may excel in other areas of learning. And these children can be helped in a variety of ways, none of which involve intervention by a psychiatrist.

  • “Using concrete examples that connect math to real life, to strengthen your child’s number sense. Examples: sorting buttons or other familiar objects.
  • Using visual aids when solving problems, including drawing pictures or moving around physical objects—which teachers refer to as “manipulatives.”
  • Assigning manageable amounts of work so your child won’t feel overloaded.
  • Reviewing a recently learned skill before moving on to a new one, and explaining how the skills are related.
  • Supervising work and encouraging your child to talk through the problem-solving process. This can help make sure he’s using the right math rules and formulas.
  • Breaking new lessons into smaller parts that easily show how different skills relate to the new concept. Teachers call this process “chunking.”
  • Letting your child use graph paper to help keep numbers lined up.
  • Using an extra piece of paper to cover up most of what’s on a math test so your child can focus on one problem at a time.
  • Playing math-related games designed to help your child have fun and feel more comfortable with math…” 2

Unfortunately, when a psychiatrist decides that a child with dyscalculia is anxious or depressed, intervention with pharmaceuticals may be suggested. Parents who are unaware of psychiatric drug dangers may unwittingly damage their child through their prescription and use.

Similarly, a child with dyslexia can be diagnosed as “depressed” and prescribed medication by an ignorant psychiatrist.

But dyslexic children are helped every day through education. These are suggestions given to parents by Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities:

  • “Surround your child with reading. Read out loud to her, modeling phrasing and intonation. Allow her to read anything and everything, many times if she likes. Have her read out loud, giving corrective feedback. Listen to books on tape in the car. Make reading a positive experience.
  • Encourage reading fluency. Have him read a short passage several times while you record the time it takes. Children often enjoy seeing if they can improve their time, and the repetition helps establish fluency.
  • Build vocabulary. Ask your child to tell you a new word she has learned every day. Talk about what it means, look it up in a dictionary, and make up sentences with the word. Play a game where each of you uses the word in a sentence at least twice that day, then again that week. Post a “New Vocabulary” word list and add to it daily or weekly.
  • Play games. For a young child particularly, playing games is fun and instructive: clap so she can hear how many syllables a word contains; segment word sounds and blend them back together; call attention to alliterations in songs, poems, and nursery rhymes.
  • Go high-tech. Use computer resources, including apps, digital learning games, and websites with learning games.” 3

Using DSM 5 to diagnose anything is dangerous and unpredictable, particularly when so many supposed “mental disorders” are either learning difficulties solved by the correct educational tools or actual physical conditions that can be cured by a competent (non psychiatric) medical doctor.

Sources:

1    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dsm5-in-distress/201110/psychologists-start-petition-against-dsm-5

2    https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/dyscalculia/understanding-dyscalculi

3    http://www.smartkidswithld.org/getting-help/dyslexia/treating-dyslexia/

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Baker Act
07 Feb
0

CCHR Demands Investigation into Involuntary Psychiatric Examination of Children

Baker Act

The total number of minors evaluated in Florida under the Baker Act increased by 50 percent from fiscal year 2010 to 2015

The Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit dedicated to the eradication of abuses committed under the guise of mental health, is once again demanding an investigation into the involuntary psychiatric examinations of children under the Baker Act following the story of a 6-year-old child being held for three days despite his parents repeated requests to have him released into their care. [i]

The December 30th BuzzFeed article tells the story of a 6-year-old child whose parents said the boy had merely thrown a tantrum but who ended up in a hospital owned by America’s largest psychiatric chain, Universal Health Services (UHS). According to the article, the child was held for three days and the UHS facility, River Point Behavioral Health, filed a court petition to keep the child longer. While in the hospital, the boy suffered a bloody nose and was locked in a seclusion room in the middle of the night.[ii]

Following the release of this story, CCHR, a mental health watchdog that has documented numerous instances of unjust Baker Acting of children in Florida and has fielded many more calls from parents who are too afraid to document their child’s traumatic experiences, announced that they are once again calling for an investigation into the involuntary psychiatric examinations of children under the Baker Act.

“We have filed hundreds of complaints asking for an investigation into the abusive involuntary psychiatric examinations of children under the Baker Act and to date no effective action has been taken,” stated Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida. “How many more families must suffer and how many more children must be put through this gross violation of human rights before this law is changed and parental rights are restored?”

According to the 2015 Annual Report of Baker Act Data prepared for the Agency for Health Care Administration there were 193,410 involuntary examinations initiated in calendar year 2015. An astounding 32,882 were initiated on minors and in Florida; a child may be removed from school grounds and sent for involuntary examination without parental consent or knowledge.[iii] The total number of minors evaluated in Florida under the Baker Act increased by 50 percent from fiscal year 2010 to 2015.[iv]

CCHR Florida is asking for anyone whose child has been unjustly sent for involuntary psychiatric examination without their consent or approval to please write CCHR with full particulars and with any documentary evidence. This information can mailed to CCHR or sent online using this link – Report Psychiatric Abuse. Families interested in learning more about how to protect their children are encouraged to visit the CCHR center at 109 N. Fort Harrison or visit the CCHR website using this link, Non-Consent Form, to download a form they can fill out and file with their children’s school. This form uses existing state law to help protect parental rights.

About CCHR:

Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections.

It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world. In March 1969, he said, “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health.’” For more information visit, www.cchrflorida.org

Sources:

[i] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/how-a-6-year-old-got-locked-on-a-psych-ward#.vmmEZ6xaw

[ii] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/how-a-6-year-old-got-locked-on-a-psych-ward#.vmmEZ6xaw

[iii] http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/numbers-show-surge-in-baker-act-exams-of-kids-in-tampa-bay-area/2306799

[iv] http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/numbers-show-surge-in-baker-act-exams-of-kids-in-tampa-bay-area/2306799

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Death
07 Feb
0

Psychiatric Goofs: Physical Conditions Mimicking Mental Disorders

 

DeathFlorida law currently requires that anyone sent for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation be given a physical examination within 24 hours of their arrival at a psychiatric facility. Since there are over 100 physical ailments that can mock a psychiatric condition, it is crucial to ensure the person is not suffering from something physical.

In addition, someone who is actually psychotic could also be seriously ill.

It is deeply disturbing that in a recent study, the mentally ill have been documented to die much earlier than those not diagnosed with a mental illness. Not just by a few years, but by decades. On average, these people are loosing up to 28.5 years of life. 1

Whether early death for the mentally ill is due to poor lifestyle choices, inappropriate (or too many) pharmaceuticals, actual physical illness left untreated or other causes, the fact remains that they are dying early.

That is reason enough to ensure they are not suffering from a treatable physical illness.

In a Psychiatric Times article by By Oliver Freudenreich, MD he states, “The number of medical diseases that can present with psychotic symptoms (ie, delusions, hallucinations) is legion. A thorough differential diagnosis of possible medical and toxic causes of psychosis is necessary to avoid the mistaken attribution of psychosis to a psychiatric disorder.” 2

Dr. Ronald J Diamond of the University of Wisconsin Department of Psychiatry wrote an article on this subject to help health practitioners discover a possible underlying physical problem presenting as a psychiatric disturbance.

Dr. Diamond states, “Every time a patient comes into your office, your emergency room or your hospital, there is a very real possibility that what seems to be a psychological problem is caused by some physical illness. The depressed patient may have an under active thyroid gland. The patient with panic attacks may have a pheochromocytoma, a tumor that secretes epinephrine. And the patient, whose personality change and increased irritability is thought to be caused by his marital problems, may actually have a brain tumor causing the personality changes and exacerbating longstanding marital issues.”

The following are some symptoms that Dr. Diamond says make medical illness more likely. He also states that even if these are not present, the cause of the apparent psychiatric disorder may still be medical in origin.

  • A patient over 40 with no previous psychiatric history
  • No history of similar symptoms
  • Coexistence of chronic disease
  • A history of head injury
  • A change in headache pattern
  • A patient who gets worse when given antipsychotic or anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medications

Dr. Diamond says the following symptoms make medical illness more likely:

  • A change in headache pattern (he also mentions this in the above list)
  • Visual disturbances, either double vision or partial visual loss
  • Speech deficits, either dysarthrias (problems with the mechanical production of speech sounds) or aphasias (difficulty with word comprehension or word usage.)
  • Abnormal blood pressure, pulse or temperature
  • Disorientation and /or memory impairment
  • Fluctuating or impaired level of consciousness
  • Abnormal body movements
  • Frequent urination, increased thirst
  • Significant weight change, gain or loss

He says in no uncertain terms, “Do not assume that a certain symptom ‘must’ be of psychological origin.” 3

Underactive and overactive thyroid glands have been known to cause depression and anxiety. A deficiency in vitamins D, B-12 or folate have been linked to depression. Hormonal changes can also cause these symptoms.

Even diabetes, lupus and Lyme disease have psychiatric symptoms. Mercury and lead poisoning as well as STDs can cause what appear to be mental disorders. Medications are known to cause mood changes as well. 4

CCHR Florida is taking steps to ensure the existing law requiring a physical examination to rule out non-psychiatric causes for person being sent for examination under the Baker Act is enforced.

This will protect the rights of those involuntarily committed, and protect them from needless and harmful psychiatric treatment.

Sources:

1   https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2015/combating-early-death-in-people-with-serious-mental-illness.shtml

2   http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/forensic-psychiatry/differential-diagnosis-psychotic-symptoms-medical-%E2%80%9Cmimics%E2%80%9D

3   http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/psychiatric-presentations-of-medical-illness-2/

4   https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111904480904576496271983911668

 

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