Media & Other Reports of Adverse Events Regarding Universal Health Services Behavioral Facilities: 2013-2016


In a review of four years (2013-2016) of media reports, a sample of more than 100 articles expose some form of alleged abuse at Universal Health Service (UHS) behavioral facilities, ranging from incidents of sexual abuse of children, wrongful deaths, patients put at risk because of staffing levels, and facility closure because of poor standard of care. Investigations have been conducted by the Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, NBC News and the Chicago Tribune.  Indeed, David Jackson from the Chicago Tribune was a Pulitzer finalist for the 2014 investigative series about the perils faced by abused children placed in Illinois’s residential treatment centers, which included UHS facilities.[1]


“Trial starting in psych. hospital death,” [14-year-old-girl died in Westwood Lodge psychiatric hospital, MA, because of complications from an untreated brain tumor.] Fox 25 News, WFXT, 14 Jan. 2013,

“Psych. hospital death blamed on understaffing,” Fox 25 News, WFXT, 16Jan. 2013,  [NB: The hospital was sued but jury found not responsible for the death, although three staff were said to have been negligent.  FOX 25 News, 29 Jan. 2013,

David Jackson and Gary Marx, “Justice Department expands psychiatric hospital probe to 3 more Illinois facilities,” Chicago Tribune, 23 Jan. 2013,

“Protestors Claim Behavioral Health Center in Plymouth Puts Children in Danger,” WKVI FM, 15 Mar. 2013,

Ludmilla Lelis, “Lawsuit against Mount Dora deaf school alleges abuse, neglect,” Orlando Sentinel, 11 Apr. 2013,

Tom Jones, “Nurse accused of being drunk while sexually assaulting patient,” WSB-TV, 30 Apr. 2013,

Kaitlyn Ross, “Local family says they lived health care nightmare,” First Coast News, 2 May 2013,

“Staff ratios under review: Michiana Behavioral Health facility CEO disagrees with DCS report,” South Bend Tribune, 18 May 2013,

“Police investigates rape report at Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health Center,” The Post and Courier, 13 June 2013,

Chelsea Conaboy, “Mental health clinics cited,” Boston Globe, 20 June, 2013,

Katia Savchuk, “Report: Florida youth facilities report staff sexual misconduct,” Miami Herald, 5 Jul 2013,

Teresa Eubanks, “DJJ announces closure of Bristol Youth Academy,” CLJ News, 23 Aug 2013,

Chelsea Conaboy, “Staff failures cited in deaths at Arbour psychiatric centers,” Boston Globe, 1 Sept. 2013,

“Suit filed against Attleboro psychiatric hospital: Death of Arbour-Fuller patient, 41, prompted family to sue,” The Sun Chronicle, 2 Sept. 2013,

Byron Harris, “Former patients voice allegations against Denton mental hospitals,” WFAA News, 30 Oct. 2013,

Chelsea Conaboy, “National reviews of centers rare in mental health: Individual states censure centers, don’t consider operator’s national record,” Boston Globe, 11 Nov. 2013,

Chelsea Conaboy, “Psychiatric hospital company’s staffing problems nationally overlooked by state regulators,” Boston Globe, 11 Nov 2013,

Ignacio Laguarda, “State orders Brookline psychiatric hospital to stop admitting patients: A Brookline psychiatric hospital was ordered to stop admitting patients by a state agency because of what the state deemed to be unsafe conditions,” Wicked Local, 27 Nov. 2013,

“Lawsuit: Boy sexually abused at mental health facility,” Associated Press, 17 Dec 2013,


CtW Investment Group Letter to Mr. John H. Herrell, Lead Independent Director of Universal Health Services, Inc., 8 Apr 2014,

“Former med tech gets 25 years in sex case,” Pensacola News Journal, 16 Apr 2014,

David Downey, “INLAND HOSPITALS: Fines issued over medical mistakes,” The Press Enterprise, 24 Jul 2014,

David Jackson, Gary Marx and Duaa Eldeib, “DCFS stops placements, steps up monitoring at living center for youths,” Chicago Tribune, 15 Dec 2014,

Livi Standford, “Three lawsuits filed against National Deaf Academy,” Daily Commercial, 19 Sept. 2014.

Rhema Thompson, “Jacksonville Attorney Files Suit Alleging More Abuse at Deaf Academy,” WJCT, 18 Sept. 2014,

Aliza Nadi, “Deaf Girl Says Staffer Broke Her Arm at Facility Being Probed by FBI,” NBC News, 18 Sept. 2016,

Aliza Nadi, “’Mom, Please Help’: FBI Probing Alleged Abuse of Deaf, Autistic Kids,” NBC News, 14 Sept. 2014,

Katherine Loper, “Deaf facility sued after three families allege abuse and neglect,” Edwards & Ragatz, P.A., 24 Sept. 2014,

“SHAREHOLDER ALERT: The Law Firm of Levi & Korsinsky, LLP Launches an Investigation into Possible Breaches of Fiduciary Duty by the Board of Directors of Universal Health Services Inc.,” BusinessWire, 2 Dec 2014,

David Jackson and Gary Marx, “Violence at Rock River Academy: ‘I was getting punched, kicked,’” Chicago Tribune, 2 Dec. 2014,

David Jackson and Gary Marx, “We felt caged: Seven stories of Rock River Academy,” Chicago Tribune, 2 Dec. 2014,

David Jackson, Gary Marx and Duaa Eldeib, “Children attacked, abused at taxpayer-funded living centers,” Chicago Tribune, 3 Dec. 2014,

David Jackson and Duaa Eldeib, “Youths drawn into prostitution while living at residential facilities,” [Rock River Academy], Chicago Tribune, 8 Dec. 2014,

“Universal Health Services, Inc. (NYSE:UHS) Investor Alert: Investigation over Potential Wrongdoing,” Digital Journal, 10 Dec 2014,


“P.C. teen seriously injured while incarcerated in Okaloosa County,” [Okaloosa Youth Academy; allegation that son’s kidney was split and ultimately removed after altercation with an employee,], Panama City News Herald, 5 Jan. 2015,

David Jackson, Gary Marx and Duaa Eldeib, “Center for troubled girls will close, cites decision by DCFS,” Chicago Tribune, 28 Jan. 2015,

“UPDATE: Rock River Academy Closing,”, 28 Jan. 2015,

April Warren, “The Vines Hospital faces challenges,” OcalaStarBanner, 31 Jan 2015,

“Horrors Behind These Walls: Stories of Alleged Physical, Emotional, And Sexual Abuse At Rock River Academy,” My, 2 Feb 2015,

David Jackson, Duaa Eldeib and Gary Marx, “Workers at Rockford girls center: Therapy included cartoons, faked records,” [Rock River Academy], Chicago Tribune, 20 Feb. 2015,

Meredith Rodriguez, “Girl sexually abused at Hartgrove Hospital, according to suit,” Chicago Tribune, 10 Mar. 2015,

Beth Kutscher, “Overbilling probe of UHS facilities widens to include parent company,” Modern Healthcare, 31 Mar. 2015;

Susan Morse, “Feds widen fraud probe of Universal Health Services to include headquarters,” Healthcare Finance, 1 Apr. 2015,

David Jackson, “West Side’s Hartgrove Hospital focus of widening Justice Department probe,” Chicago Tribune, 1 Apr. 2015,–20150401-story.html

Harold Brubaker, “Universal Health Services says it’s under criminal investigation,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 1 Apr. 2015,

Evan Sweeney, “DOJ expands criminal fraud investigation to Universal Health Services headquarters,” Fierce Healthcare, 6 Apr. 2015,

Tina Reed, “George Washington University Hospital’s parent company under federal investigation,” Washington Business Journal, 7 Apr. 2015,

Harold Brubaker, “UHS posts strong quarter even as it faces federal probe,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 Apr. 2015,;jsessionid=

Richard Craver, “Workers’ union against Old Vineyard expansion,” Winston-Salem Journal, 15 May 2015,

Maggie Clark, “Hospitals’ parent company under investigation: Universal Health Services Inc., one of the nation’s largest hospital companies and the owner of Manatee Memorial Hospital and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for possible billing fraud,” Herald Tribune, 20 May 2015,

John Funk, “More details emerge about incident at juvenile facility,” [Idaho Department of Juvenile Correction terminated its contract with the Copper Hills Youth Center over sexual misconduct allegations between residents], Idaho-Press Tribune, 24 May 2015,

Carri Geer Thevenot, “Hospital [Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center] knew nurse convicted of sexual assault was a danger, lawsuit claims,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 31 May 2015,

Jessica Huseman, “Timberlawn psych hospital’s funding at risk after patient hangs herself,” The Dallas Morning News, 5 Jun 2015,

Matt Goodman, “CMS: Poor Patient Safety, Infection Control Could Cost Dallas Mental Health Hospital Millions,” Dallas Fort Worth Healthcare Daily, 16 June 2016,

David Jackson and Gary Marx, “Lawmakers urge faster action to protect youths at residential treatment sites,” Chicago Tribune, 23 Jun 2015,

“Congressman Kennedy Pushes HHS on Investigation Into Mental Health Network,” Press Release, 23 Jun 2015,

“Kennedy seeks update on fed probe of Arbour-HRI in Brookline,” Wicked Local Brookline, 24 June 2015,

Jessica Huseman, “Timberlawn mental hospital cut off from federal funding over safety issues,” Dallas Morning News, 24 July 2015,

Anthony Brino, “Timberlawn Mental Health System faces closure after CMS finds major safety problems: Hospital flunks latest inspection,” Healthcare Finance, 5 Aug. 2015,

Reese Dunklin, “Judge rules regulators can stop funding Timberlawn psychiatric hospital,” Dallas Morning News, 13 Aug 2015,

Bill Hethcock, “Troubled Timberlawn psychiatric system to close Dallas, Garland hospitals and lay off 160,” Dallas Business Journal, 31 Aug. 2015,

Lorraine Bailey, “Severe Abuse Alleged at Illinois Home for Girls,” Courthouse News Service, 10 Sept. 2015,

Hudson Sangree, “Rocklin mental health facility raises concerns,” The Sacramento Bee, 21 Nov. 2015,

Chris Burrell, “State investigates death of patient at Pembroke Hospital,” Patriot Ledger, 18 Sept. 2015,

Harold Brubaker, “Pa. wants Universal Health to return $4 million in Medicaid payments,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 6 Nov. 2015,

Chris Burrell, “State finishes investigation into death at Pembroke Hospital,” Patriot Ledger, 12 Nov 2015,

Harold Brubaker, “Firm under federal probe owns 4 of 5 most profitable Pa. mental hospitals,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 17 Nov. 2015,

Ryan Briggs, “Profitable mental health service provider under Medicaid/Medicare investigation,” News Works, 27 Nov. 2015,


Chris Burrell, “State report criticizes Pembroke Hospital,” The Patriot Ledger, 11 Jan 2016,

Andrew Westrope, “Rocklin officials recommend ‘no’ on psych hospital: Police skeptical of safety measures,” Placer Herald (CA), 14 Jan 2016,

Aliza Nadi, “National Deaf Academy, Hit with Abuse Allegations, Is Closing,” NBC News, 15 Jan. 2016,

Sharon Ko, “Family of teen victim files $1.5 million lawsuit against Laurel Ridge,” [San Antonio, Texas] KENS5 Eyewitness News, 28 Jan 2016,

Chris Burrell, “Hospital brushes off calls from federal agency to address problem of workers attacked by violent patients,” The Patriot Ledger, 2 Mar. 2016,

Miles Moffeit, “Safety woes could shut down Timberlawn, Dallas’ largest psychiatric hospital,” Dallas Morning News, 3 Mar. 2013,

Maria Castellucci, “State threatens to close Texas psychiatric hospital,” Modern Healthcare, 4 Mar. 2016,

Lisa Schencker, “Four more UHS behavioral facilities are under federal investigation,” Modern Healthcare, 7 Mar. 2016,

Michelle Williams, “Justice Department investigating five Massachusetts hospitals owned by Universal Health Services for possible billing fraud,” Mass Live, 7 Mar. 2016,

Chris Burrell, “Justice department targets Pembroke Hospital as part of fraud investigation,” The Patriot Ledger, 7 Mar. 2016,

Brooke Murphy, “5 UHS behavioral health hospitals under investigation for billing fraud,” Becker’s Hospital Review, 8 Mar. 2016,

Miles Moffeit, “Danger in the psych ward: Safety issues plague a chain of mental-health hospitals in Texas and across the United States,” Dallas Morning News, 18 Mar. 2016,

Chris Burrell, “State errs in letter to Pembroke Hospital but promises more surprise inspections,” Patriot Ledger, 21 Mar. 2016,

“Editorial: Chain’s failure to safeguard mental health patients is appalling,” Dallas Morning News, 22 Mar. 2016,

Chris Burrell, “State makes another surprise inspection of Pembroke Hospital,” Patriot Ledger, 28 Mar. 2016,

Shannon Marvel, “Man Commits Suicide After Being Refused Admission At Rockford Center,” WGMD News Radio, 5 Apr. 2016,

Chris Burrell, “State orders 4 Arbour mental health facilities to correct ‘urgent’ safety violations,” Patriot Ledger, 9 Apr. 2016,

Evan Allan, Liz Kowalczyk, “Arbour must submit correction plan for 4 facilities,” Boston Globe, 9 Apr. 2016,

Margie Fishman, “Feds authorize state probe of suicide outside Rockford,” The News Journal, 12 Apr. 2016,

Stuart Korfhage, “Local attorney Mac McLeod wins settlement of more than $10 million in Orange County wrongful death case,” The St. Augustine Record, 23 Apr. 2016, [Alice Tomlinson died in 2010 while a patient at the Central Florida Behavioral Hospital in Orlando.  The husband, Robert, sued the facility and the treating psychiatrist, Dr. Harold Smith. The wrongful death lawsuit was over Mrs. Tomlinson dying from “Oxycodone intoxication.”]

Liz Kowalczyk, “State assigns monitor to oversee hospitals: Surprise inspections revealed multiple deficiencies,” Boston Globe, 5 May 2016,

Christine McCarthy, “Family begs for answers after woman dies unexpectedly at psychiatric hospital,” Fox 25 News, 17 May 2016,

“Two woman sexually assaulted at health center,” [Roxbury Treatment Center, PA], Herald-Mail Media, 20 May 2016,

Chris Burrell, “Late woman’s uncle suggests ‘cover-up’ at Pembroke Hospital,” Patriot Ledger, 27 May 2016,

Liz Kowalczyk, “US Supreme Court rules Mass. family can continue lawsuit,” Boston Globe, 16 June 2016,

“Universal Health Systems’ under investigation for alleged billing fraud,” Insurance Fraud News, 28 June 2016,

Louie Torres, Man says hospital didn’t protect him from psychiatric patient,” Cook County Record, 29 June 2016,

Marc Ramirez, “Patient charged in death of doctor he tackled at Timberlawn mental hospital,” Dallas Morning News, July 2016,

Tiffany Liou, “Family Accuses Treatment Facility Of Abuse After Child Was Bitten,” NewsOn6 (Oklahoma), 16 Aug. 2016,

“More than Two Dozen Universal Health Services Hospitals Under Investigation,” Hodes, Milman & Liebeck LLP, 29 Aug. 2016,

“Deal with feds lets Dallas area’s Timberlawn psychiatric hospital stay open,” Dallas Morning News, 16 Sept. 2016,

Louie Torres, “Riveredge Hospital accused of failing to prevent violent sexual assault,” Cook County Record, 26 Sept. 2016,

Morgan Shields, Hailey Reneau, and Meredith Rosenthal, “An Urgent Call For A National Surveillance System For Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities,” Health Affairs Blog, 19 Oct. 2016,