Texas behavioral health system accused of holding patients illegally

Arlington, Texas-based Sundance Behavioral Healthcare System was indicted on charges of violating the Texas Mental Health Code by holding four patients involuntarily and illegally, according to the Star-Telegram.

The corporation, known as SAS Healthcare, runs behavioral health hospitals in North Texas. It is accused of knowingly violating the state's mental health code by detaining two patients longer than the statutory maximum of 48 hours. Facilities must have a court order of protective custody to detain a patient longer without their consent.

The indictment also alleges SAS Healthcare refused to let two voluntary patients leave the facility despite the patients repeatedly saying they wanted to leave.

If found guilty of the violations, the corporation faces up to a $100,000 fine for each of the 33 days the offenses were allegedly committed — amounting to $3.3 million.

SAS Healthcare executives did not immediately return a message from the Star-Telegram.

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