Community Activists Defeat Controversial Mental Health Facility Proposed by Beleaguered Health Giant Universal Health Services, INC. (UHS)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, January 18, 2016
CONTACT: Amy@UHSBehindClosedDoors.org

The nation’s largest provider of inpatient behavioral health services and current focus of United States federal law enforcement criminal fraud investigators, Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS), was forced to walk away from a proposed facility in Rocklin, CA following vocal community opposition over the proposed location.

ROCKLIN, CA.–On January 14, 2016, the City of Rocklin confirmed troubled for-profit behavioral health provider UHS has backed away from a controversial proposal to build a new facility located next to a senior living complex,  600 feet from Whitney High School, and half a mile from a community park.

Local residents and community activists first raised safety and security concerns about the location of the proposed facility last fall. Since then, local community members and healthcare activists- including the Concerned Families of the Greater Whitney Ranch Area and the UHS Behind Closed Doors project- have uncovered numerous safety and security deficiencies at UHS facilities and worked to educate community leaders and stakeholders of their findings. These concerns were further exacerbated after the local school board, the police chief, and Rocklin city staff, all conducted analyses of their own and raised concerns about the proposal.

The Rocklin District School Board voted unanimously to oppose UHS’ proposal, reportedly due to “serious safety concerns about the proposed hospital…without compelling arguments to the contrary,” after they contracted a study that found UHS provided “vague blanket statements about security measures.”

The Rocklin Police Chief also conducted his own public safety impact report by requesting information from other law enforcement jurisdictions in which UHS has facilities.The Police Chief’s report noted seven areas of concern with the proposal, including concerns related to patient discharge and proximity of the project to the local high school.

Ultimately, Rocklin city staff recommended denial of the proposal because of the “insufficient separation from existing schools” and determined that the proposal could be “detrimental to the health, safety, or general welfare of persons residing or working in the neighborhood of the proposed use.”

In public meetings about the proposal, community members and local activists learned more about the problems facing the corporate parent, UHS, and their facilities across the country. In fact, UHS is facing a criminal fraud investigation and 21 facilities have been subpoenaed in related investigations since February 2013. Additionally, in many communities, UHS has failed to adequately staff facilities and provide adequate security and training, often leading to patient escapes, injuries, and deaths.

UHSBehindClosedDoors.org is bringing to light serious problems in care at Universal Health Services, the nation’s largest provider of behavioral health care. It is an online resource for mental health advocates and caregivers supported by the Service Employees International Union.