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GARLAND (CBS11 I-TEAM) – If you want a hamburger, you can look up inspection reports on a local restaurant.
But if you want a hospital, you can not look up inspections, complaints or investigations about your local healthcare facility.
“The public has a right to know so they can make good decisions about where to go for care,” said State Representative Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth.
Representative Klick saw CBS11’s I-Team investigation in November 2016.
In the story, several North Texas families came to CBS11 studios sharing what they called ‘horror stories’ about their children in a North Texas mental facility.
They said their children experienced violence, abuse and threats with needles at Sundance Behavioral Healthcare System in Garland.
Their complaints led to Rep. Klick pushing House Bill 2455. If passed, it would make state inspections and substantiated complaints easily accessible by the public.
In the I-Team’s reports, the parents and teens explained how their teenagers were supposed to receive treatment for overdoses, suicide attempts or mental struggles but instead were mistreated.
The parents also said they would have never put their children in the Garland hospital if they had had access to the inspection reports, deficiencies and violations that CBS11 obtained after spending months jumping over federal open records hurdles.
Klick is a former nurse who believes the information should be accessible through the state, on the internet, with a click of the button by parents like those interviewed who may need it in a hurry.
“At least this factual information is a measure that all facilities are measured by rather than somebody’s format that may or may not be sustained. I think, with good facilities, this will help strengthen their brand… Bottom line, we owe it to the public.”
As a result of the I-team investigation, Klick also got involved in House Bill 10.
State Representative Four Price, R-Austin, is asking the state to provide an ombudsman, or patient advocate, who can help people who have questions or concerns at Texas healthcare facilities. HB 10 goes to its third hearing in the House on Wednesday.
The CBS11 I-Team will be watching both bills and continue its investigation.