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Dozens of employees and patients say the biggest psychiatric chain in the US locks people up for insurance money. Pope Francis said spreading fake news is “probably the greatest damage” the media can do. And a look at Donald Trump’s latest cabinet appointments.

Posted on December 8, 2016, at 6:32 a.m. ET

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Lock them in. Bill their insurer. Kick them out.

A year-long BuzzFeed News investigation raises grave questions about how America’s largest psychiatric chain — Universal Health Services, or UHS — made its profits.

Current and former employees from at least 10 UHS hospitals said they were under pressure to fill beds by almost any method — which sometimes meant exaggerating people’s symptoms or twisting their words to make them seem suicidal — and to hold them until their insurance payments ran out.

More than 1 in 10 UHS hospitals are under federal investigation. Three are being investigated criminally, and last year the criminal investigation expanded to include UHS as a corporate entity. UHS strongly disputes the allegations of civil or criminal fraud, and it has not been charged with any wrongdoing. UHS also disputed BuzzFeed News’ investigation and said it “absolutely rejects” any claim that it held patients solely for financial gain.

Patients say they walked into UHS hospitals hoping to ask about counseling and ended up behind locked doors for days.

BuzzFeed News


WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON

Trump’s America.

Here are the latest appointments to President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet:

  • Linda McMahon, a former CEO of the WWE and former candidate for the US Senate — to head the Small Business Administration.

  • Terry Branstad, the governor of Iowa, has been offered the position of US ambassador to China. The pick is by no means an arbitrary one: Iowa and China have a long relationship, and much of it has to do with Branstad and his friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which goes back to long before he took office.

  • Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma who has opposed the US Environmental Protection Agency through letters and lawsuits throughout the Obama administration, to run the EPA.

  • And here’s a list of all Trump’s nominees so far.

Linda McMahon.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Linda McMahon.


Women say Stanford University offered them money to close federal investigations into its handling of sexual assault cases.

Two women told BuzzFeed News Stanford made them offers in recent months on the condition that they would withdraw complaints they filed with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which prompted the federal investigations.

The victims of a California warehouse fire on Friday night were trapped with “no way out.”

There were no fire alarms or sprinklers inside the Oakland warehouse where an inferno claimed the lives of 36 people in what authorities described Wednesday as America’s deadliest blaze in more than a decade.

QUICK THINGS TO KNOW

  • A plane carrying at least 47 people crashed in Pakistan on Wednesday. There were no survivors.

  • Ohio lawmakers have passed a bill banning abortion after about six weeks. It’s now headed to the governor’s desk. Tennessee authorities have charged two minors with starting the massive wildfires that killed 14 people last month. And on the first day of white supremacist Dylann Roof’s trial, a survivor of the Charleston church massacre described in detail what it was like to watch her son die.

  • Pope Francis said spreading fake news is “probably the greatest damage” the media can do. He also compared scandal-mongering by reporters to a fascination with feces.

  • Khloé, Kim, and Kourtney Kardashian are trying to block Blac Chyna’s request to trademark the name “Angela Renee Kardashian.” And here’s the backstory of how Blac Chyna beat the Kardashians at their own game.

Via Giphy / Via giphy.com

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