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Mon Dec 1, 2014, 02:42 AM

A Careless Solution

Terrell State Hospital needs help, badly. So why is Texas privatizing the psychiatric facility—and picking a notorious company to run it?

As they filed into the Rockwall and Brin Church of Christ on November 3 for a town hall meeting about privatizing the local psychiatric hospital, attendees were handed a purple flier from the Texas State Employees Union. It said, “THIS IS NOT A DONE DEAL!”

But over the next three hours, the 250 or so men and women present, many of whom had worked at Terrell State Hospital for years if not decades, would trickle back out to the dark parking lot in silence as, one by one, they realized this wasn’t true.

They were angry, worried, and most of all confused about why privatization was coming to Terrell at all. The hospital has labored to improve since 2012, when a patient died after being restrained for 55 hours. Ann Simmons, 62, was only at Terrell three days before being killed by pulmonary thromboembolism—a blood clot that formed in her immobilized limbs, broke free, and lodged in an artery to her lungs.


Equally troubling is the state’s choice of contractor, selected without input from employee unions or patients’ rights advocates. Last month, state officials announced that they’d awarded a five-year contract to run the hospital to Correct Care Solutions, a Nashville-based correctional healthcare corporation. The company’s track record in other states includes allegations or confirmed reports of rape, suicide, neglect and medical malpractice that make Simmons’ cause of death look almost merciful.

The complete article is at http://www.texasobserver.org/terrell-state-hospital-geo-care-privatize/ .

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