Hospital system layoffs take toll on mother, son with behavioral disorders

Hospital system layoffs take toll on mother, son with behavioral disorders
Lena Sebastian's son, Arthur, being comforted after he learned he might have to find a new behavioral therapist. (Source: Provided)

DEARBORN COUNTY, Ind. (FOX19) - An Aurora, Indiana mother will have to dig into her own pockets to pay for her son’s therapy after his therapist was one of dozens laid off in a recent healthcare closure.

Highpoint Health announced last week it was laying off 31 employees and reducing the hours of 50 others due to financial issues and a decline in patient volume.

The hospital also reportedly has to close its Dearborn County Behavioral Services office, effective Feb. 15.

That leaves Lena Sebastian’s son, Arthur, without a place to go for therapy to manage his ADHD, sensory disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

“My son was hysterical,” Sebastian told FOX19 NOW.

Arthur, she says, has spent two years working with the therapist. Now, abruptly, he only has three sessions left with him.

“I have a weeping child in the car stating, ‘I’m never going to see Jeff again!'” Sebastian explained. “And he’s trembling.”

Sebastian says Arthur considered his therapist a friend, even part of the family.

“He depends on him,” she said.

Highpoint Health sent FOX19 NOW a statement Tuesday, the full copy of which is produced at the end of the article.

“We’ve already taken decisive action aimed at enhancing our revenue cycle, reducing expenses and exploring growth opportunities,” the statement reads in part. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the patients and their families who were affected by this decision.”

A letter Sebastian received from the hospital announcing the news offered other places to go for behavioral services, but she says it won’t be that easy.

“My son is 11,” she explained. “He’s been with this man for two years. It takes time to earn a child’s trust. This isn’t a quick fix.”

Sebastian says she opes to follow her son’s therapist if he goes into private practice. But if so, they will have to pay out-of-pocket for his sessions, while Highpoint Health was covered under their health insurance.

A previous version of this story showed the Highpoint Health primary care center. We should have shown the behavioral health building.

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