December 10, 2009
One of Illinois’ largest psychiatric hospitals dosed foster children with dangerous combinations of mood-altering drugs, sometimes using the medicines as “chemical restraints” to control youth who needed counseling, according to a sharply worded new report by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s department of psychiatry.
The northwest suburban Streamwood Behavioral Health Center, which has treated roughly 475 Department of Children and Family Services wards since 2007, is “so understaffed as to be counter-therapeutic,” the UIC report said. Amid violent outbursts by young patients, hospital staff resorted to extraordinarily high rates of emergency psychiatric medications, physical restraints and seclusion, the report said.
DCFS Director Erwin McEwen reacted to the findings by angrily criticizing Streamwood owner Psychiatric Solutions Inc., the nation’s largest for-profit behavioral health firm.
“Profiteering at the expense of the mental health of vulnerable children will not be tolerated in Illinois,” McEwen’s statement said. “PSI needs to develop a different business model if they want to continue caring for our children. Unless and until this corporation pays attention to children with the same fervor that they devote to the bottom line, we will seek alternatives to reduce and eventually eliminate our dependence on this provider.”
Read entire article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-psi-psychotropicsdec10,0,5938749.story
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