Friday, October 5, 2012
Follow Up to GEO Care's Bid for State Hospital
This is a follow up to an article I posted on this blog in early September. GEO Care, a private company, was the sole bidder seeking control of a psychiatric hospital in Kerrville, Texas.
Eva Hershaw recently posted an article on TexasObserver.org updating the progress of GEO's bid. On Wednesday, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) rejected GEO Care's bid, primarily due to concerns over GEO Care's plan to cut operating costs.
The TDSHS determined GEO Care would not be the most beneficial solution for the long term of the state hospital. Additionally, the TDSHS worried GEO's proposal would leave the hospital in violation of federal staffing laws. GEO Care's bid sought to reduce "overall staffing from 542 to 428— a 21 percent reduction—and decreasing psychiatric nursing assistants 29 percent, from 167 to 118." If the bid was accepted, the hospital would have an inadequate patent to staff ratio, in direct violation of a 1997 class-action suit against the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.
Many advocacy groups, such as the ACLU of Texas and the Center for Public Policy Priorities, applauded this decision. Bob Lidal, executive director of the Grassrooots Leadership advocacy group, expressed his satisfaction with decision: "This is a testament to the role that advocacy can play in shaping decisions. The reason the proposal was rejected is telling of the problems with privatization—you make your money by cutting staff and paying them less while the care of your patients suffers.”