Many Tech 1013s brought to controversial Ridgeview

Photo by Casey Gomez

If admitted to the Ridgeview Institute, students claim to encounter poor sanitary conditions and lackluster  communication. 

Ridgeview was formerly a nonprofit facility but was bought out by a facility management corporation called US HealthVest in January 2017. 

Students have discussed Ridgeview on the r/gatech subreddit. Following the two student deaths at the end of the fall 2018 semester, students commiserated: “… Tech needs to invest in a support structure that RARELY hurts students by just dumping them off,” wrote u/toomuchsalt247. “I’m speaking from experience and from talking to other students who were wrongfully sent to Ridgeview as that process is very traumatic.” 

“I have a friend who was placed in Ridgeview involuntarily, and it made her very reluctant to get help for her depression and suicidal thoughts afterwards,” u/lvhq said in response. 

Another thread from the same time, titled “Regarding Ridgeview,” posted excerpts from six critical reviews of the institute on Yelp. Others commented in agreement; “Please find somewhere else,” commented u/nyx_67. “Avoid this place if at all possible.”   

The Technique sat down with a student who went to Ridgeview voluntarily in March 2019 as she adjusted to a new medication, and spoke about the institutional dysfunction there. “[When I was being checked in] they told me three to five days, and once I got into the unit the nurses told me five to seven, and then once I finally saw a doctor she told me ten [days]. “I will say they had group sessions twice a day… I actually found those to be helpful.

“I got assigned two psychiatrists, neither of whom saw me because they both thought I belonged to the other person. So you’re supposed to be seen within 24 hours [of being admitted] … I got seen at hour 23.

“And then I take an allergy medicine every day… They would not give it to me, even though I brought it from home, and finally when I saw the psychiatrist and I told her I needed this she [gave] me the wrong medication.”

Source: GTPD Non-Crime logs, Feb. 2018. Design by Lauren Douglas

Ridgeview is currently the subject of at least two ongoing lawsuits in the state of Georgia: Alice Thomas v. Ridgeview Institute, Inc. et al and Madeline Horton et al v. Ridgeview Institute, Inc. et al. The former alleges malpractice. In Horton v. Ridgeview, (filed Mar. 2018), the plaintiff — a minor — alleges that personnel told her to walk down a tile hallway after a blood draw. She fell, fractured her jaw in three places, and alleges that Ridgeview personnel did not facilitate medical treatment for more than an hour.  

Dean of Student Life John Stein, says his office takes student feedback into account when dealing with hospitals. “Any time a student is transported or visits a hospital for any reason, we ask the student about their experience to continuously assess the quality of care our students are receiving,” Stein said in a statement. “There have been times when conversations have been facilitated between Institute staff and hospitals to improve the student experience.

Student Life’s Director of Communications Sara Warner further clarified: “We cannot specifically speak to our students’ experiences at one hospital. We receive feedback from students on all hospital experiences … Any time we receive negative feedback and Institute staff member has a conversation with the facility to improve the student experience.” 

The Ridgeview Institute could not be reached for comment.