To: CEO Telecare Corporation, The California State House, The California State Senate, Governor Gavin Newsom, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Donald Trump
Whistleblower Protection for the Mentally Disabled and their Supportive Families
Protect the mentally disabled and the people who support them from retaliation for blowing the whistle with regard to perceived abuse and violation of the law.
Why is this important?
UPDATE: Our family survived the retaliation!
Shedding Light In Places Where No Impartial Eyes and Ears Ever Frequent: Behind Locked Doors of Psychiatric Facilities.
In short, we believe we are being retaliated against for blowing the whistle on a corporation that services mental health clients in Southern California. It appears there are no laws in place that address this specifically. When a mentally disabled individual kept in a lock down facility asks a family member for help and they report what is going on inside of the facility to people outside of the facility, both the whistleblower from within and the whistleblower outside experience retaliation.
Our family first lodged complaints about a family members' psychiatrist to the CEO of the facility she is in. This action was taken after LA County Patients Rights Office advised working with the facility to resolve problems and also directed complaints to the Public Guardians Office.
The Medical Director of this corporation was assigned to the case. A family member left a message on his cell phone. No response. A family member sent information via text. No response.
Two to three weeks later the family discovered he was no longer working with the corporation and the psychiatrist we wanted investigated was promoted to the investigator's position, that of Medical Director for the Corporation.
My sister asked me to report the activities inside of the lock down psych facility to somebody OUTSIDE of the facility. An employee of NAMI suggested sending a letter to the LA County Board of Supervisors and an investigation was launched by the Patients Rights Office. Never in the course of the investigation was the complainant contacted or questioned. Patients Rights spoke solely with the Corporation.
After the investigation was concluded the family member that lodged the complaint was told by a family liason working for Los Angels County Mental Health that the Dr.'s orders (the same one the family wanted investigated) still stand. That the whistleblowing sibling on the outside not be allowed to visit the whistleblowing sibling inside of the lock down psychiatric facility.
The family experiences this as a form of retaliation for reporting outside the facility to the LA County Board of Supervisors, Long Beach City Police, CARF International, the State Medical Board, the Department of Public Health.
This has inflicted grave emotional harm and suffering to both siblings as well as added pain and stress for other family members.
Other forms of retaliation include:
Telling the patient she will not be able to leave the facility she is in and go somewhere else because she is not eating, or only eating yogurt, which can't be true given the physical evidence of her body, and her weight gain since June from 115 lbs. to 126 lbs. The family has asked for credentials of the staff to treat an eating disorder she has had for 40 years. From the clients perspective, they use force feeding, the food is miserable to eat because it is all processed, and she has difficulty because "I have no teeth." (she does have some). The family has asked to bring in professional support that they would pay for to help treat the eating disorder in that the facility has made little progress, but the facility rejected the offer.
This is a change in attitude since a family meeting in October when the family was told she was ready to leave and forms were signed for her to be moved to what all parties felt were best: a step-down facility.
In October they say - okay, let's move her.
After an investigation is launched they say - you can't go.
While other patients are able to receive food in the mail, she was told that she will not be able to receive the food sent in a care package sent by family (prunes, a sugarless protein bar, nutritious items that she can eat without incisors and other missing teeth). While they tell her she can't leave because she is eating only yogurt, they threaten to take away food sent by family she knows she likes. If there is evidence she is only eating yogurt, this illustrates the fact that the retaliation in the facility is exacerbating issues she struggles with around food and that there may be criminal intent to impede progress in order to not allow her to be released.
She has missing teeth. The Facility is supposed to be treating an eating disorder. The family has expressed a desire to get her teeth fixed. The whistleblower inside of the facility was told by a nurse, something to the effect, that this was not going to happen, that she had to go before a judge and it had to be approved by the Dr.
The Conservator was pressured by members of the "Care Team" to consider giving up the role of conservator and to have a Public Guardian assigned. This is harassment.
While other patients come back from outings late, she is punished and penalized by being denied going out on an outing if she comes back late. One of the recent outings was to visit a brother with days to live and the family wanted her to have more than just 15 minutes with her brother and to be present with him to enjoy a final wish she had brought him, a hamburger and french fries. He was on his death bed. To punish someone for being late visiting a brother on his death bed is cruel, inhumane, and unjust!
While a client sneaks in cigarettes under her clothes, and a staff member articulates, they can't search for cigarettes because they aren't allowed to pat people down. The sibling inside the facility reported that this person stole batteries from her CD player to use them to light matches, which was reported to the team leader. While clients that smuggle in cigarettes don't appear to be patted down, the whistleblower inside of the facility is strip searched and made to take her bra off to look for contraband, ex-lax. The conservator gave her some chocolate ex-lax on an outing not knowing that this is considered contraband. The client is punished for a...