The Florida Institute for Neurological Rehabilitation (FINR) markets itself as a treatment center with country club-like accommodations for brain injured patients from around the country.
But what FINR doesn’t tell potential patients is that Florida’s Department of Children and Families has received 477 allegations of abuse or neglect at the center since 2005. That there are videos that resulted in the prosecution of staffers who abused autistic patients, that there have been multiple wrongful death lawsuits settled, and that Washington, DC, recalled 21 patients from the facility following an investigation into human rights abuses. A congressional investigation even found that staff has unnecessarily prolonged stays at the center just to boost revenues.
Despite all these highly disturbing findings, FINR continues to operate and accept patients.
I didn’t know all of this when my brother Peter Price went to FINR in 2009 to recover from a brain injury. I thought he’d be receiving quality care. My brother Peter Price was abused at Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation. Peter told me staff members frequently mistreated him. Peter had been at FINR about a month when I received a call saying he had been beaten up. Peter told me that three staff members had physically hit him in the face, torso, and groin. Shortly after that incident he was forced into what FINR calls 'therapeutic cabin programming, which is essentially solitary confinement in a single bedroom for weeks at a time. The abuse got so bad that Peter severely injured himself -- by swallowing fish hooks and batteries -- because he saw no other way out of the center.
I was so thankful when we moved Peter to a different rehabilitation center where he has been doing very well. But my conscience wouldn’t let me stop thinking about all the other defenseless patients who are still at FINR—and for all the others for whom it is too late.
Many other people have been abused and even died while at FINR -- the center needs to be investigated to prevent this abuse from continuing.
A recent Bloomberg report by investigative journalist David Armstrong reveals FINR’s long history of abuse. Patients are promised country club-like accommodations and then restricted to small cabins. Some former residents say little therapy takes place. And dozens of former patients and family members recall beatings, neglect, and heartbreaking deaths at the hands of violent staffers who were supposed to care for them.
It’s not surprising since the same people running FINR ran a center in the 1990s that was shut down after investigations revealed much of the same allegations.
Please join me in calling for an end to the abuse. Tell the Department of Health and Human services to investigate the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation.
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