Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Largest Hospital Chain Accused of Milking Mentally Ill For Insurance $$$: Where Are Our Watchdogs?

I was trapped in one of their hospitals, stuck there an extra 2 weeks. The staff did exaggerate. I’d say that’s true.

I just looked at the list and my son was in a UHC hospital twice this year. I had a mixup on the first time & had a hard time communicating with the staff (they told me the wrong case worker so I kept trying to get in touch with someone who was on vacation).

I don’t have anything to compare this hospital to, so I can’t say if they were the best or the worst out there, but they didn’t keep my son in overly long (13 days the first time, 10/11 days the second). In fact, I think they probably should have kept him a little longer both times now that I’m looking backwards.

I have private insurance though - maybe it doesn’t pay as well as Medicare/Medicaid? But, we don’t have any limits on how long he can stay either - they will pay the bill as long as the doctors can justify the care. This last time, he hit his max for the year, so insurance would have paid them 100% of the cost.

His county case worker is pushing for him to get disability then medicaid so that we can get him into the intensive program. If that happens, our private insurance will be considered secondary coverage. Hopefully, he won’t have to go back, but if he does, it’ll be interesting to see if they want to keep him longer.

My daughter was hospitalized 3 times at a UHC this year. I thought it was just me but I did feel there was a shortage of professionals working there and the place felt like a prison. But because my daughter was so unwell I felt it was better in the hospital then at my house as she was causing so much havoc with me and the kids. She was also very delusional, paranoid and hallucinating. My daughter has stayed at much better hospitals.

The one thing I did not like at all was the hospital prescribing bentos. My daughter’s psychiatrist will not prescribe benzos.

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I’ve been told lots of people like our local UHC hospital because it’s the only one where you can smoke.

I had no complaints because it was the only reason my son was somewhat OK with being there, but found it strange for a hospital to allow it.

Did they allow smoking at the hospitals you guys have experience with?

I also kind of thought it had a prison-like atmosphere on the ward. However, I did see staff be incredibly kind to some of the patients who were having a tough time, and I liked the intake much better than the intake at our local hospital that also has a psychiatric unit.

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I want to guess that the reason UHC hospitals allow smoking is because so many folks with a serious mental illness such as bipolar, schizophrenia and schizo-affective smoke. My daughter stopped for almost a year but recently started it again, She tells me in one breath it calms her down and in the next breath that it’s my fault that she’s smoking. She believes I want her to smoke to kill her.

I agree with you slw about the kind people at UHC. Several months ago she was brought to UHC with only hospital clothes from another hospital. She had no other clothes such as underwear and at the time I was staying away from her because she scared me and the kids. A worker at the hospital went out of her way to buy my daughter some clothes. The way the this particular UHC hospital is run is different from other psych wards, however I was very grateful that my daughter had a safe place to go where she wouldn’t hurt herself or others.

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Maybe you should complain about her smoking more?

I buy my son’s cigarettes & e-cigs because smoking is the least of our problems, but I stay on him about cutting back, stopping, only using the e-cigs if he has to smoke. I’ve been talking to him about not smoking since he was a little kid because almost everyone we know & every member of our family smokes except for me.

It didn’t stop him once he could legally buy cigarettes, but I think he could forget his name & still remember I don’t like it that he smokes.

Running into this myself right now. They talked to my schizoaffective adult child and that supposedly was enough for the go ahead to order a court date for Medical Hold and ultimately a civil commitment. I asked that they not talk to them without our psych doc review and lawyer, but they went ahead and got okay from a mentally ill person who is out of it and the poorly skilled staff doc rubber stamped it. They know we are switching insurance and the time to have them in hospital is reset with more weeks available to them. They don’t even know how to treat my adult child and they told us so! But, they want the money locked in by a court. Shocking! I know how you feel and it is shock and anguish.