Close Youth Psych Facility Accused of Abuse and Neglect

Target: Ed Lake, Director of the Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services

Goal: Close youth psychiatric hospital for its alleged low standards of care, unprepared staff, and dubious financial arrangements.

The largest youth mental hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma and its director are under investigation for poor practices and possible abuse and neglect. Mr. Mike Kistler oversees Shadow Mountain Behavioral Health and has been caught on video physically restraining children himself, putting them into dangerous holds or pushing them to the floor, and failing to assist kids having major psychotic breaks. Shadow Mountain is owned by the largest psychiatric hospital chain in the United States, Universal Health Services (UHS). This branch has been put on probation several times for allegations including violations of state staffing regulations, medication errors, and not reporting sexual misconduct. The hospital primarily treats children and teenagers, and unfortunately, it seems to share the same for-profit logic that prevails in numerous adult hospitals around the country.

Shadow Mountain is a four-campus, 250-bed facility that has received more than $115 million of public funds just in the last five years. Over the past three years, police officers have been called to the facility at least 340 times — i.e., on average about twice a week — for reasons such as wrangling runaways, breaking up fights, and investigating rapes. Despite the considerable amount of public funding, Shadow Mountain is reportedly understaffed and allegedly hires unqualified personnel, like professionals without adequate training or a nurse with three disciplinary actions including one for shooting up drugs while on duty in an intensive care unit. While running a hospital is usually a managerial job, Mr. Kistler the director allegedly physically intervenes in the incidents on a routine basis, despite having no medical or nursing degree.

The company behind Shadow Mountain, UHS, has reported profit margins of around 27 percent in its psychiatric division. In a suspicious financial deal, Shadow Mountain pays rent for part of the land to a company that is registered to a UHS executive’s home address. The apparent thirst for financial gain aligns with reports by employees in ten UHS hospitals across nine states saying that they were under pressure to fill beds by any means, including twisting patients’ statements or exaggerating their conditions to make them seem suicidal.

At Shadow Mountain, staff has reported having to hold patients as long as their health insurance companies kept paying, even if that meant separating kids as young as five years old from their parents. Considering the high degree of malfunction and the likely dishonest operation, it is simply not possible to accept that taxpayers’ money goes to a facility such as Shadow Mountain. Sign the petition to demand that this hospital close immediately.


Dear Mr. Lake,

Please request the immediate closure of Shadow Mountain Behavioral Health, a Tulsa facility run by Universal Health Services. Evidence casts substantial doubt on the personnel and the policies carried out by this youth psychiatric hospital. Furthermore, some footage and the disclosure of financial arrangements around the institution raise serious questions about its genuine concern and commitment to patients’ well-being.

It is even more troublesome to know that such a suspicious institution is responsible for treating children and teenagers. I urge you to express that the youth population in need of psychological treatment should receive only the best standards of care available for a bright and healthy future ahead. Please close Shadow Mountain immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Wokandapix

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One Comment

  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    ban them now!

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