Monday, July 25, 2016

We can't just whisper about Whisper Ridge scandal

Tim Kaine is the closest thing the Democrats today have to Zell Miller. Kaine apologists insist that - while Kaine has a spotty record on economic matters - he at least has solid marks on social issues. But this story proves that's far from the truth.

Whisper Ridge Health System was a psychiatric prison in Charlottesville, Virginia, where 6 young people attempted suicide in the course of only 2 months. City police also investigated the program for sexual assault. Whisper Ridge is owned by Universal Health Services. According to one website, 21 UHS programs nationwide are under a federal investigation for Medicaid fraud.

A Virginia state official also investigated Whisper Ridge and recommended that the program be shut down because of its abusive conditions. But a UHS lobbyist intervened and coaxed another state official to demand that this probe cease. Then-Gov. Kaine permitted this to occur. After this, Kaine's Senate campaign received a $25,000 donation from UHS. Kaine then recommended that the official who killed the investigation be appointed to head the nation's Medicaid and Medicare services. In other words, someone linked to scuttling a probe of a company accused of Medicaid fraud would be in charge of running Medicaid for the whole country.

Apparently, Whisper Ridge changed its name to Jefferson Trail Treatment Center following the abuse scandal. Name changes are common with abusive programs, because it throws people off. This happened after Whisper Ridge staffers actually blocked police officers from entering the facility to investigate the crimes there. Whisper Ridge's disrespect of the law ranks right up there with Cliven Bundy or that Tea Party standoff in Oregon.