Eastlake residents voice concern about healthcare company for proposed facility

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Residents in Chula Vista have been vocal about not agreeing with the location of a proposed mental heath facility in Eastlake and now they are sounding off about the company looking to move in.

Scripps Health first announced its partnership and plans for the center with Acadia Healthcare in February, but plans stayed mostly off residents' radars until recently.

A group in the Rolling Hills Ranch neighborhood, which would back up to the facility's lot, started a petition that has garnered nearly 2,500 signatures in less than two weeks. The petition largely asks city leaders to look for a different location, but it also raises big concerns over Acadia Healthcare's reputation.

"We have found a laundry list of complaints against this company," said local resident Bill Stellin.

An online search reveals articles from various news sources, both television and print, citing a number of lawsuits and legal trouble for locations linked to Acadia Healthcare nationwide.

"Child endangerment, child abuse, elder abuse, child death, facility foreclosures, rape, sexual abuse, county mental health stepping in and taking their licenses away -- the list goes on and on," said Stellin.

Acadia would own 80 percent of the Chula Vista facility and Scripps Health would own the remaining 20 percent.

FOX 5 asked Scripps Health if there was any concern over partnering with Acadia and received this written response from spokesperson Janice Collins:

"Before finalizing this partnership, Scripps undertook significant due diligence efforts. We have concluded Acadia has the deep expertise needed in this specialized field, along with a relevant history of partnering with other organizations. And under the terms of our partnership with Acadia, Scripps will have an active role in patient safety, quality and access.”

FOX 5 also reached out to Acadia, giving the company a chance to respond directly to residents’ concerns. Vice President of Marketing Ryan Beagan provided the following written response:

"Acadia’s mission is to improve the lives of our patients through successful treatment and recovery. Our health care professionals are committed to providing quality care to the approximately 14,000 patients in our facilities and the approximately 58,000 patients who are treated at our comprehensive treatment centers daily.

To expand our commitment to providing quality behavioral health services, Acadia has entered into partnership with Scripps to build a new facility in Chula Vista, CA, which we announced in February.

The new facility will provide safe, quality care for patients who are greatly underserved. Acadia and Scripps will be working to help ensure that the new facility meets patients' needs as well as the needs of the community."

As of Friday, the City of Chula Vista had not received a formal application for the facility. The city told FOX 5 a week ago it had received a pre-application from Acadia Healthcare regarding the construction of a 120-bed, one-story acute care psychiatric hospital.

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