Acadia Healthcare's Motor City Mayhem: Documents Reveal Troubling Connection At Trio Of Detroit Area Hospitals

About: Acadia Healthcare Company, Inc. (ACHC)
by: Penn Little

Police records from Michigan allege many sexual assault allegations against minors and one staff member. One arrest occurred on-site.

A complaint alleges Acadia staff felt the assault on a teen patient "wasn't a problem because (the intercourse) was consensual."

Police say a patient admitted to murdering a friend while in a "volatile state" just two days after discharge in December 2018.

Acadia owns three Detroit area hospitals, all involved in significant reported incidents.

Local media coverage has been contained to only one facility in an affluent neighborhood, neglecting to report on inner-city center.

DETROIT, MI - In the motor city area, there are three hospitals owned and operated by the allegedly lethal franken-network that is Acadia Healthcare Company Inc. (ACHC). A tip regarding incidents within Acadia's Detroit Behavioral Institute led to an investigation. Despite virtually no media coverage, police records we obtained show a plethora of undiscovered and horrific allegations.

Subsequent investigation led to April 4, 2019, report revealing that a man who police say admitted to murder last December - did so just two days after he discharged from another Detroit area subsidiary of Acadia: Stonecrest Center.

These two facilities plus Harbor Oaks Hospital (which we mentioned last November) constitute a trio of Acadia-owned centers in the greater Detroit area. All are in hot water.

Map of Acadia's facilities in the Greater Detroit Area

Stonecrest Center

Ten days ago, the Lansing State Journal reported that 29-year-old Joseph Sadlak was a patient at Stonecrest Center who was discharged on December 7, 2018. Then, two days later, police say Sadlak admitted to fatally stabbing his friend, Mr. Clinton Decker (age 44). The article from April 4, 2019, said he was mentally unfit for trial and described Stonecrest as:

designed to help adults struggling with severe or life-threatening psychiatric problems.

The April 4th report also made it clear that Sadlak suffered brain trauma in 2016 and was in a "highly volatile state" when his attorney visited him in jail after the incident. He was not fleeing when the police arrived and found him with blood on his hands and shirt. The article continued:

he was not oriented to the time or date and didn't recognize people. He also did not seem to recognize the seriousness of the charges.

A local media clip about the incident is below.

An account of the December murder. Source: Fox47 Detroit.

Acadia has previously faced allegations of discharging patients based on compensatory feasibility as opposed to medical need. It is not clear why or how Sadlak was cleared to leave Stonecrest.

Also, reports show that Stonecrest Center has failed many inspections.

Detroit Behavioral Institute

A request for police records resulted in the collection of 532-pages of regulatory documentation available at this link. The public records surround events at Acadia's sister facility in downtown Detroit: Detroit Behavioral Institute ("DBI").

The "DBI Reports," as we call them, provide an inside look into another troubled subsidiary of the believably cash-strapped conglomerate.

The contents are horrifying. In early 2016, DBI's staff (according to a Children Protective Services complaint) deemed the alleged sexual assault of a minor as:

not a problem because it was consensual.

See below...

Page 258 of the "DBI Reports" show staff allegedly downplayed the incident.

Also, weeks prior and seen below (taken from page 231), in 2015, according to a separate Detroit Police Department report, an Acadia staff member, 47-year-old Florence Ann Vanhorn, was present when a 19-year-old female patient who "escaped" from the facility chose to report drug use and rape during her four days absconded from the center.

A missing person report was filed, successfully leading to her safe return, albeit to a facility in which safety is, apparently, very questionable.

Reports indicate the 2016 DBI incident originally considered by staff as 'consensual' did result in an arrest at the facility (Page 265), which eerily resembles a prison (as seen below). In terms of missing person cases, this makes four we've now highlighted: two in Illinois and another in Arizona (who remains missing).

Detroit Behavioral Institute entrance. Source:

DBI is a treatment center and a school. The apparent ambivalence by staff in these cases is something the Miami Herald reports to be, from a national standpoint, reasonably standard. An article from 2017 entitled: "Kids are raping kids at school. Here's why schools often don't do anything about it". The Herald noted staff feels pressure when considering disclosure, stating:

acknowledging an incident can trigger liabilities and requirements to act.

For example, on page 291, "Ms. Dunlap" (a staff member) told the investigating officer, in a third event occurring in late Spring 2016, that she was only willing to speak to authorities in-person, under the caveat that she, not the officer, chooses a neutral location to meet.

Page 291 of "DBI Reports" suggest that staff is not allowed to talk to the police via phone, she cites "protocol" as her rationale.

On top of that, pages 305-306 reveal a 2017 incident in which a counselor is alleged to have sexually assaulted a patient at DBI. The purported molestation resulted in a protective order against the patient. The report states:

The complainant and the defendant began having a sexual relationship together from the time the complainant entered the facility...

...The defendant would speak of taking the complainant on trips to Niagara Falls, Bahamas, and New York because he worked for a travel agency.

Separately, page 487 reveals that two adolescents reported being sexually assaulted inside the facility on Christmas Day 2017. One of them said another incident occurred on January 2, 2018.

Staff appears to have debunked the incident, allegedly categorizing the two boys as liars (see below).

Screenshot of page 483 of "DBI Reports"

Page 479 reveals a 2018 report claiming that a staff member named Eugene George was the assailant of a minor patient. The victim was reportedly brought to police by the girl's therapist, Lindsey Mandell.

In late 2018, the "Program Director/Risk Officer," Ms. Joi Meeks appeared to exchange emails about an incident of which the subject is unclear. On page 470-472 of the DBI reports, e-mails and copies seem to suggest the staff isn't considering these investigations a priority. To be specific, the police officer appears to nag the team with questions, only to receive periodic and opaque reports in response. The deceptive nature of correspondence and the congruous pattern of incidents follow a familiar footprint within the Acadia Healthcare network of facilities.

Finally, inspection reports from 2014-2018 as well as a patient lawsuit suggest these instances at DBI started gradually but have accelerated to a boiling point similar to the footprints we've uncovered in Arizona, Oklahoma, Nevada, The United Kingdom, Florida, Illinois, and various other states.

Harbor Oaks

The reports mentioned last November about Harbor Oaks Hospital show Michigan regulators may have some more work to do. A compilation of lawsuits and inspection reports show just some of the problems on the north side of Detroit for this Acadia subsidiary. The relevant media reports we discussed last November, are listed below:

The Disconnection

Only Harbor Oaks seems to receive the attention despite information being publicly available. An extensive search for media coverage of the alleged crimes at DBI and the failed inspections at Stonecrest resulted in nothing being found online, aside from the murder story.

Harbor Oaks sits nestled in the resort community of New Baltimore where the median household income is $73,327 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. New Baltimore's household income is well more than double than the national average. In the more "inner-city" zip codes of DBI and Stonecrest, the median household incomes are $26,305 and $33,540, respectively.

Also, the media disconnect could be because most people have no idea what Acadia is or that these and many other hospitals are part of a network.

From a marketing standpoint, the home page of DBI does not include any reference to its parent company by name. The homepages for Harbor Oaks as well as Stonecrest appear the same way - but all three state that a corporate code of conduct exists, providing a link. That is the only link to Acadia, one which most distressed families or lives that seek care - aren't reading!

Systemic Lack of Transparency

Acadia Healthcare has yet to respond to a request for comment. Aside from an Indio, California city council meeting in which an attorney made questionable claims and generalized statements, the top brass from Nashville have yet to address any specific patient abuse issues publicly. That alone should make investors suspicious of where the next shoe will drop.

As these incidents continue to accumulate, leadership can only categorize them as isolated events for so long. The velocity and magnitude of allegations postulate a deeper systemic problem embedded into the very DNA of the Acadia ecosystem is unfolding.

Acadia continues to face margin pressures, stagnant growth, and debt servicing challenges amid compounding allegations and instances of patient abuse. Investors need to question the operational strategy, execution, and policies that attempt to place profits over quality patient care, which families affected hope will force the hand of regulators to step in.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.