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Mental Health Funding In Florida: Why Floridians Should Not Support the Fraud

by | Jun 4, 2017

Lately Floridians have been subject to accusations of “Florida does not support mental health,” “Florida is 50th in the nation in mental health funding,” and “Florida does not care for its citizens in need.”
But instead of caving to these charges, Florida seems to be holding the line. There is wisdom to this position.
According to the Office of Inspector General (OIG), US Department of Health and Human Services, one large mental health care facility (American Therapeutic Corporation) “concocted a $205 million fraud scheme involving fictitious companies, fabricated patient files, patient recruiters, kickbacks, and elaborate cover-ups. They also illegally prescribed unnecessary psychotropic medications. Prosecutors for the case charged dozens, and the three owners/operators received a combined 120 years in prison.”
The OIG reports that the commission of fraud by Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) such as this one are nothing new, and the case is not isolated. In fact, a report called Questionable Billing by Community Health Centers found “approximately half of CMHCs had unusually high billing for at least one of nine questionable billing characteristics. These characteristics include billing for patients with no mental health diagnoses, billing for patients who participated in CMHCs outside their own communities, or billing for patients who were not referred by health care facilities.” i
According to the Psychiatric Times, “In 2014, the former Inspector General of the federal Department of Health and Human Services claimed that ‘many health care fraud investigations believe mental health care givers, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, have the worst fraud records of all disciplines.’” ii
Should Floridians Feel Guilty?
Are Floridians supposed to become stressed over statements such as the following, made by Howard Moon in a recent article “There is a mental health crisis in Florida. Some 700,000 Floridians suffer from some form of mental illness and nearly 200,000 of them are children.” iii
For one thing, it is overwhelmingly easy to throw numbers around. And further, one might ask if these “700,000 Floridians” have been diagnosed by the DSM, the psychiatric bible that even psychiatrists and psychologists express distrust over.
According to psychotherapist Gary Greenberg, the disorders contained in the DSM are not real, but invented. Greenberg says, “… the reason there haven’t been any sensible findings tying genetics or any kind of molecular biology to DSM categories is not only that our instruments are crude, but also that the DSM categories aren’t real. It’s like using a map of the moon to find your way around Russia.”
Mr. Greenberg continues:
“The American Psychiatric Association owns the DSM. They aren’t only responsible for it: they own it, sell it, and license it. The DSM is created by a group of committees. It’s a bureaucratic process. In place of scientific findings, the DSM uses expert consensus to determine what mental disorders exist and how you can recognize them. Disorders come into the book the same way a law becomes part of the book of statutes. People suggest it, discuss it, and vote on it.” iv
Normal Childhood Behavior Labeled Mental Illness
Mr. Moon’s argument that out of “700,000 Floridians with mental illness 200,000 of them are children” is especially egregious. To give him the benefit of a doubt, perhaps Mr. Moon is not familiar with the horrific side effects children suffer from psychiatric drugs, including the risk of suicide. v
According to Dr. Allen Frances, who supervised the fourth edition of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders (DSM 4), using the DSM V as a diagnostic tool can misdiagnose normal behavior as mental illness. This is especially troubling when it concerns our children, and could explain Moon’s misperception that there are 200,000 mentally ill children in Florida.
Dr. Frances says, “The worst suggestions in DSM V will turn normal grief into major depressive disorder, will turn the forgetting of old age into mild neurocognitive disorder, will turn worrying about your cancer into somatic symptom disorder, will turn temper tantrums in kids into disruptive mood disregulation disorder, will have attention deficit disorder be virtually ubiquitous and an easy means of getting stimulant drugs for performance enhancement and for recreation.” vi
Instead of listening to the propaganda of the psychiatric industry, proponents of increasing mental health care in Florida should do their homework.
 

i https://oig.hhs.gov/newsroom/spotlight/2013/cmhc.asp
ii http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/cultural-psychiatry/fraud-waste-and-excess-profits
iii http://www.ocala.com/opinion/20170505/howard-moon-mental-health-crisis
iv https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/05/the-real-problems-with-psychiatry/275371/
v http://www.uptodate.com/contents/effect-of-antidepressants-on-suicide-risk-in-children-and-adolescents
vi http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2013/s3763502.htm

2 Comments

  1. Howard Moon

    I believe we need to advocate for more funding. I have never advocated for use of heavy psychiatric drugs for children or for that matter any psychiatric drugs for children. Needed services do not necessarily mean more use of drugs. Therapies can be and are effective. Proper diagnosis is also important. Funding is needed in those and other areas. I would also note that years ago under Gov. Bush I was appointed to a council that advocated (successfully) for the elimination of drug testing on children in foster care – and increased oversight and reduction of the use of psychotropic drugs on children.

    Reply
    • CCHR

      Unfortunately Mr. Moon, when more money is thrown at an already broken system it serves only to continue lining the pockets of an industry that is full of fraud. As an example, Universal Health Services (UHS) which is the largest for-profit provider of mental health services in the country has 19 facilities in Florida and five of these facilities have been and continue to be under investigation by multiple federal agencies for fraud. UHS does over $7 billion dollars and has facilities in other states also under investigation for fraud. Yet, not only are these facilities continuing to operate but UHS was recently approved to open a new facility in Florida this year. Until the system is swept clean and until issues such as the abusive use of the Baker Act to incarcerate citizens who do not meet the criteria for involuntary examination are handled dumping money into mental health in Florida will just feed the fraud. I applaud your advocacy work to protect children, thank you. If you are interested in learning more about the current state of affairs in Florida concerning the abuse of children under the mental health law please email me at diane@cchrflorida.org and visit http://www.bakeractrights.org.

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