Sen. Mark Warner 'outraged' by scathing report featuring CBS 6 investigations: ‘Hold these firms accountable’

'The notion that these centers are abusing these kids, and then getting paid with government dollars is just outrageous,' senator says
Cumberland Mark Warner
Posted at 5:21 PM, Jun 14, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. -- Sen. Mark Warner spoke to CBS 6 News about a scathing new report concerning the type of residential facilities that treat children and teens battling medical and behavioral issues. That report references several of reporter Laura French’s investigations into a local children’s hospital.

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee released the results on Wednesday of a two-year-long investigation they say has exposed “systemic taxpayer-funded child abuse and neglect” in youth residential treatment facilities across the country.

The report, titled “Warehouses of Neglect,” puts four major treatment center operators under the microscope. That includes Universal Health Services (UHS), which owns the Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents in New Kent County.

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Local News

CBS 6 investigations cited in Senate report on child abuse in US hospitals

Laura French
7:20 PM, Jun 12, 2024

For more than four years, CBS 6 has been investigating abuse and neglect claims against certain Cumberland staff members.

The 136-page senate report cites seven CBS 6 stories, including our investigations into sex crime charges filed against Cumberland employees, psychotherapist Mickey Harden and behavior technician Stacey Burrell. She was convicted of felony wounding for pouring hot water on a patient.

FULL INTERVIEW: Sen. Warner 'outraged' by scathing report on child abuse at residential facilities

FULL INTERVIEW: Sen. Warner 'outraged' by scathing report

Warner, who is a member of the finance committee, talked to CBS 6 about the findings as he was appearing at an event in Church Hill on Friday.

“I was outraged, the notion that these centers were abusing these kids, and then getting paid with government dollars is just outrageous,” Warner said. “And we need to do better oversight, we need to hold these firms accountable.”

Warner said many of the facilities that treat children and teens battling medical and behavioral issues have been "bought up by private equity" and in turn have attempted "to squeeze out the maximum amount of profit."

"So you might have had a center that had originally had a director that their heart was in the right place, and they try to do the right thing for kids or somebody in recovery. And then some firm comes in and views each of these kids or person in recovery as an individual profit center," Warner said. "The humanity gets squeezed out. And in these cases of these centers that are funded by government, it's enormous abuse. It needs to be brought to an end, these firms need to be held accountable."

Warner also said that he wants answers from UHS, the company that operates Cumberland Hospital. The president and CEO was invited to the Wednesday hearing but did not attend.

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