Oregon Treasury Invests in Foster Care Provider Accused of Overseeing Patient Abuse

October 30, 2019 Updated: October 30, 2019

The Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) is heavily invested in a health care company accused of overseeing sexual assault and neglect in its treatment facilities, where some Oregon foster children are housed after being sent out of state.

While the state Treasury acknowledged the misconduct allegations, it nevertheless increased its holding in the company, Acadia Healthcare, according to a letter obtained by The Epoch Times.

The Epoch Times recently obtained a leaked memorandum on the allegations, prepared by health care expert Ronald Davidson at the request of Oregon state Sen. Sara Gelser, a Democrat.

The memo stated: “At Acadia [Healthcare], not only are there undisclosed criminal indictments and convictions of former employees for the death or assault of patients, but we found allegations that Acadia has:

  • Destroyed evidence
  • Falsified documents
  • Duped regulators during audits
  • Covered up incidents of patient abuse
  • Submitted fictitious billings to the government
  • Failed to disclose regulatory investigations at certain facilities
  • Retaliated against multiple whistleblowers.”

“DRO [Disability Rights Ohio] investigators also discovered a pattern of substandard quality of care at the Acadia-operated Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry, including sexual assaults, physical abuse, and other harmful incidents and quality-deficit problems within the hospital,” Davidson wrote in his memorandum.

As of June 30, Franklin, Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare operated 593 behavioral health care facilities, including 240 in the United States, according to its website.

PERS, which serves as Oregon’s public employee retirement fund, health insurer, and disability fund, and makes investments operated by the state Treasury, is listed as a stakeholder in Acadia Healthcare.

“Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund lifted its holdings in Acadia Healthcare by 1.4% in the second quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 35,433 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,238,000 after buying an additional 506 shares during the period,” the Enterprise Leader reported in September.

A request by The Epoch Times for comment to Oregon PERS was directed to the Oregon Treasury, which forwarded a letter sent by Oregon Treasurer Tobias Reed to Acadia Healthcare CEO Debra K. Osteen on April 25.

The letter reads in part: “My primary reason for writing today is to discuss recent reports in several news outlets, including Oregon Public Broadcasting, on children in Acadia’s care, and to emphasize your responsibilities to these children. As a parent and concerned citizen, these reports are deeply disturbing. These children are among our most vulnerable citizens and they require a safe, supportive environment. This situation requires your immediate attention.

“But I’m also writing to you as a fiduciary of Oregon’s public funds. Further review of your company reveals other troubling information, all of which threaten Acadia’s potential for long term growth, jeopardize Oregon’s investment in Acadia, and increase the likelihood that patient care will be impacted by Acadia’s financial considerations.”

Even after Reed’s letter to the company, Oregon PERS increased its holdings in Acadia.

Gelser has been raising concerns about Acadia Healthcare, despite Oregon PERS’ investment.

“In April, after we had a 9-year-old get chemically restrained [in an out-of-state Acadia facility]. DHS promised not to send any more kids to Acadia,” Gelser said in an interview with The Epoch Times.

Acadia Healthcare didn’t respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.

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