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Did a TX hospital commit a crime by failing to release patients?

Psychiatric facilities must operate while maintaining a difficult balance: provide the care patients need while not discharging them at a time they could injure themselves or others. A failure to navigate this balance wisely can result in allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

Texas officials have recently accused a local psychiatric facility of such wrongdoing. According to the indictment, the facility failed to aid patients in creating discharge documents and thus held the patients against their will. This resulted in allegations the facility violated Texas state law.

The accusations ultimately led to nine criminal charges.

Patients have stated the hospital failed to allow their release, pointing to concerns hospital officials may have been motivated by insurance payments to justify the prolonged stay. Physicians responsible for the care of the patients at the facility state the perceived violation was, in actuality, their good-faith attempts to provide for the best interest of their patients.

Allegations of this nature can result in serious penalties. In this case, every day the government can substantiate a violation occurred, the facility faces up to $100,000 in fines. Depending on the details of the allegations, individual physicians could face additional repercussions. Physicians that are accused of a failure to provide the accepted standard of care in the field could face disciplinary actions by licensing agencies and medical malpractice claims. Those who find themselves in similar situations are wise to take proactive measures to protect their personal and professional reputation. An attorney experienced in licensing matters such as these can help

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