April 18 A Republican senator said on Tuesday he
had written to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS) raising questions about reports of "troubling conduct" by
psychiatric hospital operator Universal Health Services Inc
The inquiry, by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, raises concerns
about reports by BuzzFeed News of low nurse staffing, medication
errors and sexual misconduct at UHS' Shadow Mountain facility in
Grassley said in his letter the reports showed a pattern of
conduct by the hospital operator that "casts a dark cloud over
UHS' ability to properly care for its patients and whether it is
properly billing federal programs."
Founded in 1979, Pennsylvania-based UHS operates more than
240 acute care hospitals, behavioral health facilities and
Grassley has also sought a response from The Joint
Commission, an accrediting organization, that reportedly
designated the Shadow Mountain facility as a "Top Performer in
Key Quality Measures" for the 2011-2015 period.
Grassley's letter is his second inquiry into UHS following a
similar query to the HHS in December after BuzzFeed published
its first report on the psychiatric hospital operator.
The Dec. 7 report alleged that UHS pressured patients into
unnecessary admittance and prolonged hospitalizations,
potentially defrauding the government as a result. (bzfd.it/2oJN8jw)
UHS' stock fell 12 percent on the day of the report.
Last week, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
accused UHS of employing unlicensed and unsupervised personnel
at mental health centers, leading the company to submit false
claims for reimbursement to the state's Medicaid program. (reut.rs/2pyi4TJ)
Healy's office filed a complaint in federal court in Boston
after intervening in a whistleblower lawsuit against the
hospital operator by the parents of a woman who died at one of
UHS' shares were down 2.1 percent at $119.42 in afternoon
trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai