Below is the first in a series of articles by DPAC about Cygnet Health Care, owned by an abominable US corporation, US Universal Health Services. This blog by Finola Moss tells how this corporation has taken over the private ownership of a very large portion of our NHS Mental Health Services and now rakes in massive profits from the public purse.
Cygnet Health Care is one of mainly three providers of mental health services in England.
Mental Health Services are paid over 21 billion of our 95 billion NHS budget.
In 2014 Cygnet was bought by USA’s Universal Health Services (UHS) for £205 million..
Simons Stevens, chief executive of the group’s global division for 10 years after advising Blair on NHS public investment, is chief executive of NHS England, responsible for all NHS services commissioning.
Cygnet Health Care then increased UHS’s UK mental health footprint by a £95 million acquisition of Alpha Hospitals .
In September 2012, UHS, and its subsidiaries, Keystone Education and Youth Services LLC and Keystone Marion LLC,Keystone Marion Youth Center, agreed to pay over $6.9 million to settle allegations that they had submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid.
Between October 2004 and March 2010, these subsidiaries provided substandard psychiatric counselling and treatment to adolescents in breach of Medicaid requirements.
And, the United States alleged UHS had falsely represented Keystone Marion Youth Centre, as a residential treatment facility, providing inpatient psychiatric services to Medicaid enrolled children, when in fact, it was a juvenile detention facility.
It further alleged, that neither a medical director, nor, licensed psychiatrist provided the required direction for psychiatric services or for the development of initial or continuing treatment plans.
The settlement also settled allegations, that the service providers filed false records or statements to Medicaid, when they filed treatment plans, that falsely represented the level of services that would be provided to the patients. (See under Other Medicaid Matters p33.)
In July 2002, the New York State Insurance Department fined United Health Care $1.5 million for ‘cheating patients out of money’.
Is this the sort of ethos that should now control a quarter of public, enforced, secret unaccountable services to our most vulnerable and receive a tenth of our NHS budget ?
In 2011 Cygnet was warned by the Care Quality Commission that staffing levels at Cygnet Wing Blackheath were inadequate..
Improvements were still required at the CQC inspection in April 2014.
In 2013 the Care Quality Commission issued a warning to Cygnet Hospital Bierley because the service was failing to ensure that appropriate records were kept.
John Hughes, an American founded Cygnet in 1987 after turning the Priory around.
In 2004 Cygnet was valued at £120m in a deal with Barchester Healthcare, which earned Hughes a £19m cash windfall.
Barchester, is part-owned by John Magnier and JP McManus, the Irish racing tycoons who owned Winterbourne View’s Castlebeck,.
They bought a quarter of Cygnet’s business for £30m, and Hughes, and a fellow director took a £7m stake in Barchester.
Hughes completed a £340m buy-out in 2008, backed by Mr Wilson’s health care group Grove, which had bought a 25pc stake in Cygnet years earlier.
And would have received another windfall.
In 2014 Hughes’ sale to UHS earned him a £30 million windfall.
Tycoons have made millions from mental health services now 87% financed by public NHS money, whilst public trusts are cash strapped and in debt.
And, are set to make far more profit from the government's drive ‘to parity with physical health’, and now have nearly a quarter of the NHS budget.
Yet from CQC reports mental health services in the UK are getting worse not better.
And the physical health of mental patients and effect of enforced medication is ignored and a report in 2013 revealed 3 a day are dying needlessly.
Robert Kehoe , psychiatrist, advertises himself, as an ‘expert witness’, is now the medical director of Cygnet, and, has apparently, advertised some of their units as being for ‘resistant service users’.
Dr Kehoe was an NHS Consultant for nine years and Assistant Medical Director at Airedale NHS Trust and produces 80 to 100 psychiatric reports per year for Courts and Tribunals.
He is also responsible office for Cygnet Healthcare with national responsibilities for the regulation and revalidation of medical practitioners.
So, one expert, now controls the appraisals and code of conduct of all psychiatrists services and opinions, in a multi million pound conglomerate, serving a quarter of all mental health services.
Universal Health Services and Cygnets’ overriding ethos, is to make as much profit as possible for its directors, managers and investors.
Does this not conflict with the professional independence of the psychiatrists, psychologists, practitioners, who work for Cygnet, and are subject to Cygnet’s stringent codes of conduct and continual appraisal systems ?
All hospitals and medical directors and professionals are under strict regular appraisals and uniformity.
How does this promote, the diversity of opinion needed for best practice, particularly, in the uncertain arena of psychiatric medicine?
Finola Moss blogs at My life with an autistic daughter.