Attorney General, Eric Holder, it was recently reported, brought charges against 91 members of the healthcare field, including doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals. Among the charges brought is billing for medically unnecessary care. Many Targeted Individuals have been arrested and involuntarily committed to mental health facilities simply for reporting crimes committed against them (i.e..- organized stalking,electronic/community harassment or electronic assault). The general rule for involuntary commitment is that an individual must exhibit either homicidal ideation (a desire to kill another), suicidal ideation (a desire to kill him/herself) or be unable to care for him/herself (likely to neglect care for self to the degree that his/her health or life would be in danger). Further, in most cases, a recent event (usually one that has happened within the last 30 days) must have happened to prove any of the above-mentioned claims. These are legal requirements.
Most of the Targeted Individuals who have been committed involuntarily report that none of these criteria are met, that they are neither suicidal, nor homicidal, nor unable to care for themselves. Still, facilities are often able to keep these individuals trapped in psych wards for at least 72 hours. What many don't know is that one of the reasons the above criteria was set in place is so that healthcare professionals administer the lowest level of care that can be provided without neglecting the patient's needs. This prevents healthcare professionals from duping patients out of money by providing unnecessarily extensive - and thereby expensive - care. Targeted Individuals are rarely "diagnosed" with an illness that can be cured at all or resolved in short periods of time (short stays are preferable for inpatient care). Therefore, in the absence of a need for life-saving medical/psychiatric intervention, inpatient care serves no real purpose. It is not medically necessary because - even in legitimate cases of mental illness - the patient's needs can be met at a lower level of care (i.e.. - he/she can safely see a psychologist/psychiatrist on a outpatient basis).
This means that - when a patient is illegally forced into inpatient care (which is what happens when the criteria above is not met) - the facility is administering care that is medically unnecessary. When facilities bill for involuntary commitments, they are often billing Medicare (for the disabled and eligible seniors) or Medicaid. Billing either of Medicare or Medicaid for medically unnecessary care constitutes fraud. We believe that Targeted Individuals should begin to report these commitments as fraud.
Too often, hospitals are able to get away with this violation of the law because Targeted Individuals do not know their rights. We go so far as to see these arrests as kidnappings - on the parts of both the police departments who conduct them and the hospitals who comply with them. While filing charges of kidnapping may present a much-less-likely-to-suceed-but-worthwhile challenge, reporting Medicare and Medicaid fraud (particularly in the current political climate) is a viable option.
This is an issue we hope can be taken up by organizations that protect the rights of the disabled. Many Targets object to any defense of Targeted Individuals that even hints at validating charges of mental illness, but we see freedom from repeated illegal commitments as the greater priority. It is a long-established position of disability rights advocates that mental illness is not a crime, therefore those suffering from mental illness should not be face automatic incarceration onto mental wards. This is the second reason for the criteria discussed above. If one is to seek assistance from an organization that will fight to see that hospitals follow the letter of the law in these cases, disability rights organizations may simply be our best bets.