Investigation of Arkansas Psychiatrist Finds Denial of Care and Collection of Massive Medicaid Payouts
When William Vanwhy checked himself into the mental health unit at Northwest Medical Center in Arkansas last year, he was feeling emotionally overwhelmed. However, four days later, Vanwhy was still in the locked unit of the facility with no medical care. It wasn’t until his partner, with the help of a lawyer, successfully got a court order for his release that Vanwhy was freed from the unit.
The doctor in charge of the unit at the time was Dr. Brian Hyatt, an Arkansas physician and chairman of the board that disciplines physicians. Hyatt is now under investigation by state and federal authorities over accusations ranging from Medicaid fraud to false imprisonment. At least 25 former patients of Hyatt have filed lawsuits alleging they were held against their will in his unit for days or weeks.
In April, the hospital agreed to pay $1.1 million in a settlement with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office for their claims that they were unable to provide evidence to justify the hospitalization of 246 patients. Hyatt resigned from the board in late May after Drug