Wauchula, Florida -- A rehabilitation institute where patients have been beaten and killed is beginning a public relations campaign to try to repair its image. The 10 News Investigators first told us about the Florida Institute for Nuerologic Rehabilitation (FINR).
Documentary: FINR - Highway to Heaven or Road to Hell?
FINR is located 50 miles south of Tampa in Wauchula and has hired some powerful, high-priced lobbyists and a public relations firm. It is saying the reporting about the deaths and beatings was sensationalized, disingenuous and in most instances, inaccurate.
However, our viewers were outraged after we showed explained some of the allegations, including staff members who were arrested after undercover video showed them beating a brain injured patient, more than 500 complaints to the Department of Children and Families, several deaths (including the asphyxiation of a former Marine that the medical examiner ruled was a homicide), and a determination by the state that it was treating 50 patients that it was not licensed to treat.
Now FINR has put out a video on YouTube trying to mitigate the bad publicity. In the video FINR says it is "located on approximately 1,000 acres of rural land, providing patients with a peaceful setting to maximize rehabilitation."
In the video, the husband of a patient, Stephen McKeon, says "FINR is like paradise, a beautiful setting with palm trees and sunshine."
The organization is still under fire from the state, which says its plan to correct deficiencies is unacceptable and that the 50 patients it isn't licensed to care for must go. But the state -- which has known about problems at FINR for more than a decade -- isn't moving very quickly.
If you want to find out more here is a link to our documentary FINR: Highway to Heaven or Road to Hell.