Troubled for-profit chains are stealthily operating dozens of psychiatric hospitals under nonprofits’ names

C“Quickly,” the Columbus police sergeant urged, “the patients are in danger.” The psychiatric hospital on the city’s east side may have to be closed, he warned Ohio regulators.

The officer, a 27-year veteran of the department, knew that sending the February letter It was unusual, but meetings with hospital leaders had led nowhere, and he was desperate. He ran down a list of 911 calls from the hospital — more than 20 in six months. It was a gruesome list. Rapes. Punches to the head. A nurse attacked with a knife. A patient running across the highway. A death.

It’s a staggering level of violence for any hospital, but it seems especially unlikely for one whose squat, gray exterior bears the brown “Mount Carmel” logo of the local Catholic health system, which nuns founded in the 19th century. Though impossible to tell from the street or its website, Mount Carmel Behavioral Health is actually run by Acadia Healthcare, a massive, publicly traded chain that has been widely accused of understaffing its psychiatric hospitals and failing to adequately train its workers, to the detriment of patient and staff safety.

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