Shares of United Health Services fell 11.88 percent Wednesday after an investigative report about the country's largest psychiatric hospital chain.
Buzzfeed News interviewed dozens of current and former UHS staff members, many of whom said they felt pressure to fill beds. The report raised questions about whether the health and safety of patients was compromised in order to meet economic goals.
UHS has more than 200 psychiatric facilities across the country, and admitted nearly 450,000 patients last year, the report said. The healthcare management company disputed the investigative report, saying its conclusions "are contrary to the factual record and UHS policies and practices" and which "appears to focus on anecdotal accounts" and "personal perspectives." Founder and CEO Alan Miller declined the publication's repeated requests for an interview.
The publication spoke with several former patients of UHS who allege they were held against their will and that counselors twisted their statements during evaluations in order to forcibly admit them. Even the vaguest or passing mention of suicidal thoughts was used to hold them, the report said.
The report goes on to describe a corporate culture that included more annual bonuses for outstanding financial performance than payments for outstanding patient care. One former hospital administrator described it by saying that the priority was the bottom line, not the staff and patients.
Shares of UHS are down 6.8 percent year to date.