Former Hospitality Director Charles Miciotto said of the discussed expansion of Brentwood Hospital’s behavioral health unit in Shreveport, “They can’t handle the ones they have now.” The scheduled expansion is set to occur despite the hospital’s controversial practices and is to include 58 more patient beds.
The mental health hospital has been plagued with numerous issues as of late like employee sexual assault convictions against patients, patient medical record and prescription errors, and even escaping patients. Miciotto believes it’s all a result of the facility’s hiring procedures and history of trying to operate as cheaply as possible and with insufficient staff.
One former employee said that, routinely, “there was no way physically possible to keep all of the patients that we had safe.” The employee added the hospital was “one survey from having the doors closed due to this non-compliance.” Universal Health Services (UHS), Brentwood’s parent company, according to the employee, “sent in several corporate consultants to make sure this did not happen…and the staffing numbers were altered on paper to show us never having a deficit.”
In June 2014 the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) notified Brentwood it was “out of compliance with the Medicare Conditions of Participation for Hospitals.” DHH said it would “continue the termination action against Brentwood.” It demanded a plan of corrective action in a report detailing pages of deficiencies “of such serious nature as to substantially limit (the) hospital’s capacity to render adequate care.”
Brentwood CEO William Weaver said, “Through corrective actions, we promptly addressed and resolved any issues raised during surveys conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), including issues related to staffing and how we effectively redirect inappropriate behaviors among patients.”
Brentwood was also been accused of billing fraud with a claim submitted by a former employee alleging, “physicians…were billing insurance companies for more patient visits in a day than were physically possible.” The employee also claimed, “When the insurance quit paying the patient was discharged regardless of his/her readiness.”
Several former employees, in fact, have claimed the hospital routinely ordered physicians to keep patients the full length that their insurance would pay, even if they could be released sooner.
Of one doctor, Miciotto said, “They were going to terminate her if she didn’t fall into the fold and do what she was told. That was to “keep [patients] the full amount of time. Keep billing them.”
Brentwood has denied the allegations against it. In his statement, Weaver said, “There is no substantiation to any claims of inappropriate billing practices. We take the responsibility for patient billing very seriously and have systems, policies, and practices in place to ensure accuracy and accountability.”
However, the FBI, Department of Health and Human Services, and Defense Department are all investigating UHS for “systematically holds patients longer than medically necessary to maximize revenues.”
In fact, Miciotto said he resigned fearing the investigation. “I was very scared. Everybody that knew what was going on…they would come in and indict all of us.”
Weaver added of the hospital’s commitment to patient care, “Our most sacred responsibility is and always will be the well-being of our patients.”