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A substance abuse rehabilitation center contracting with a jail in Texas is being accused by ex-employees of systematically passing off mentally ill patients as substance abusers in order to boost their funding.
The facility, Turning Point, which is located in the Dominguez State Jail near San Antonio, was part of an alleged overall plan to downplay mental illness in the jail's prison reports and play up drug and alcohol addiction in order to boost funding levels to the program.
Therapist Melissa Cantu, a former employee of the jail's rehab program, says that she quit her job over ethical concerns after being told to ignore mental health issues in patients, and just label them as drug or alcohol addicts to bolster the program's roster.
Cantu says that she repeatedly had nervous tension, broke out in hives, and battled insomnia over the requirement that she throw out diagnosis of mental illness in patients and instead focus only on substance use disorders. Cantu is one of several employees who are cooperating with investigators over the allegations against Turning Point.
Another former therapist at the jail says that even inmates who exhibited strong signs of being suicidal were being misclassified as substance abusers and put at risk of death as a result.
Turning Point management issued a statement saying that they are cooperating with investigators and deny any wrongdoing or policies that force therapists in their facility to misdiagnose patients.
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