Nation Still Faces Shortage of Treatment Beds

treatmentdocDespite the fact that the nation is clearly struggling with a drug abuse problem, there are not enough treatment programs to properly care for the growing number of users. Additionally, many families of addicts have not been educated on the effectiveness of rehabilitation facilities, or how successful drug and alcohol interventions can be.

This causes many substance abusers to go throughout life with their problems going unaddressed and some even fall victim to overdose deaths. The current reports indicate that almost 44,000 people in the United States die from drug overdoses a year. The number of people dying from overdoses has surpassed deaths caused by automobile accidents and other forms of injury as well.

Educating the general public as well as legislators on the necessity of treatment is an important job of public officials and healthcare providers. Anyone who is struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol increases their chances of achieving and maintaining sobriety if they enroll in a treatment facility. However, there is a constant problem with the lack of treatment programs and not enough beds in the treatment facilities that do exist for residential care.

“We know addiction treatment saves lives, reduces drug use, reduces criminal activity and improves employment. The data is there, the evidence is in, but our public policy has not caught up with the science,” explained Paul Samuels, president and director of the Legal Action Center.

There are generally two types of treatment centers available to addicts. Publicly-funded treatment centers generally fill up quickly and even have waiting lists that can be weeks long. Although maybe no an ideal situation, a large number of people are successfully helped in these programs every year.

The other type of treatment center is private pay. While these are often more expensive, it is more likely that they will have a bed available for someone to enroll. Oftentimes these types of treatment centers take insurance as well, and with expanded coverage there has been a bit more access.

In order to put a significant dent in the amount of people who suffer from addictions to drugs and alcohol, more treatment options need to made available. While the current White House Administration has proposed additional funding to increase treatment capacity, it really takes much more of a policy shift to accomplish substantial change. Lawmakers must enact ways to not only make more beds available, but also support best practices that are successful in getting people enrolled in treatment.

Merger Approved for Hazelden and Betty Ford Treatment Centers

hbfflogoTwo of the most well-known names in the drug and alcohol addiction treatment field include the Hazelden Foundation and the Betty Ford Center. The two had recently announced plans to merge, and the final approval from the State of California came yesterday to make it official.

Hazelden’s primary location is in Center City, MN, while Betty Ford’s is in Rancho Mirage, CA. The new name for the organization is the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. They both have several facilities totaling 15 centers throughout the United States. Their combining reportedly makes them the largest non-profit addiction treatment organization in the United States.

According to the new company’s President and CEO, Mark Mishek in a news release, “It’s a new year, and we have a new organization. With that come high hopes and a certain thrill in the infinite possibilities. Our merger is also taking place at a time, historically, when recovery communities are beginning to coalesce around the idea of taking action to reduce the stigma that prevents so many people from seeking help. More people in recovery are sharing their stories so that the general public can see the other side of addiction. I credit Mrs. Ford, more than anyone in history, with beginning the effort to chip away at stigma by publicly sharing her own recovery experience, and now is a great time to be carrying her legacy forward.”

The Foundation offers recovery solutions nationwide and across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults. It includes the largest recovery publishing house in the country, a fully-accredited graduate school of addiction studies, an addiction research center, an education arm for medical professionals and a unique children’s program.

Many recovery-related organizations and treatment centers have tried to model themselves after these two iconic 12-step-based programs throughout the years, which is a testament to their greater value in the field.

Unethical Billing Practices In Addiction Treatment - ATS

Unethical Billing Practices in Addiction Treatment

Unethical Billing Practices In Addiction Treatment - ATS

If you’re seeking treatment for addiction to drugs or alcohol, carefully research your options. The treatment industry is home to scams and unethical billing processes.

Addiction Treatment Services knows the industry and can help you find a worthwhile treatment program. Protect yourself and your family and find real hope for recovery.

Crooked Rehab Facility Shuts Doors on Patients

Narco Freedom operated 18 treatment facilities until a federal judge shut it down. The nonprofit’s founder and his son used the millions they stole from facilities to buy luxury homes and condominiums in New York and Florida. They drove expensive cars and lived a lavish lifestyle with money that was supposed to help patients recover from addiction.

Authorities say Narco Freedom founders Jason and Alan Brand lured residents into treatment centers by offering a place to stay, and then they engaged in Medicaid fraud and other illegal activities.

When the facilities closed, some patients found new treatment centers, but many returned to the streets. The judge ordered information posted on the building to redirect patients seeking methadone doses to other clinics, but the change may have made it more difficult for those already struggling with addiction.

Hundreds Charged with Health Care Fraud and False Billing

Medicaid Fraud Control units arrested 412 health care professionals and charged them with stealing more than $1.3 billion through false billing. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists participated in these schemes.

Some doctors prescribed and distributed unnecessary opioids. They billed more than $164 million in fraudulent Medicare claims. They gave highly addictive narcotics to patients who didn’t need them, profiting in the process.

One rehab facility recruited patients by offering gift cards, strip club visits and drugs. They billed Medicare for more than $58 million. Meanwhile, a Houston clinic gave out 12,000 opioid prescriptions for cash. Facilities that should have offered hope and recovery instead made addictions worse instead.

In these arrests, defendants allegedly billed for treatments patients didn’t need, and in many cases didn’t receive. When co-conspirators helped with the scheme by providing information, medical professionals paid them cash kickbacks.

In June 2016, a similar takedown took place. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force brought charges against another 301 health care professionals for more than $900 million in fraudulent billing.

Treatment Center Operator Sent to Prison for 27 Years

Treatment Centers Cheat The System Fradulent Insurance Claims - Addiction Treatment Services

Kenneth Chatman ran a small treatment facility some described as a house of horrors. As a felon, he couldn’t open the center in his own name, so he talked his wife into putting her name on the paperwork.

The court sentenced him to more than 27 years in prison and required him to register as a sex offender for what happened in his Florida clinic.

Chatman admitted to keeping female patients locked up in a sober home and offering them for sex online. The prosecution’s attorney said he marketed them to fetish customers. One 19-year-old woman said Chatman kept her shackled and sold her to more than 100 men over four weeks.

Chatman bragged he could sleep with his patients for $50. When patients stayed in his sober homes, he allowed them to do drugs as long as he could keep billing their insurance. One mother confronted Chatman at trial about her son who had overdosed and died, and Chatman had no memory of her son’s name.

He allegedly controlled some patients by withholding medication and food stamps. Chatman’s lawyer argued the whole South Florida drug treatment industry is corrupt, and his client was just a victim.

Insurance Scam at a California Rehab Facility

The state of California accused Brooke Elizabeth Best-Freeman of stealing more than $200,000 through false insurance claims at her Murrieta rehabilitation center. Fraud investigators noticed multiple fraudulent billings from Best New Life Recovery, which Best-Freeman operated.

Best-Freeman billed insurance carriers for treatments the clinic did not provide. She also altered or forged documentation to bill more for other services. She promised co-conspirator Robert Cramer $2,000 for finding prospects who would be willing to help submit false claims.

The 34-year-old woman faced four felony counts of insurance fraud, charges of felony solicitation for the purpose of insurance fraud, and allegations of white-collar crime.

Despite being at the helm of a rehab facility, Best-Freeman had convictions for driving under the influence and driving a motor vehicle without a license.

How to Avoid Frauds and Scams

These are only a few examples of fraud and unethical practices within the drug and alcohol treatment industry in the U.S. New tactics are cropping up every day.

When greed motivates individuals to behave unethically, they continually find new ways to steal money and avoid the law. People seeking treatment and their families are the victims of their crimes.

However, just because some facilities have been crooked doesn’t mean they all are. Caring professionals whose goals are to help those in recovery break the cycle of addiction are in charge of many facilities throughout the country.

To avoid being a victim, have a professional help search for, vet and enroll you in treatment. Avoid fraudulent insurance charges and other unethical practices. Addiction Treatment Services helps patients and their families quickly enter legitimate treatment programs that can offer help and save lives. Call today if you’d like help in your search for treatment.

Partial Hospitalization Programs For Addiction

Glennon Melton – Lessons from the Mental Hospital

Glennon Melton is the author of the bestselling book Carry On, Warrior as well as the founder of the Momastery blog. Her fans are lovingly called Monkees, and they share her brazenly open and honest communication.

Glennon introduces herself to her readers by saying “I’m a recovering bulimic and alcoholic. For twenty years I was lost to food and booze and bad love and drugs. I suffered. My family suffered.”

As a proponent of compassion for imperfections, she recently appeared at a TEDx (below) where she spoke about her struggles with addictions and disorders, including her trip to a mental hospital in high school.

Of the many things Glennon has helped her audience with, one of them is to recognize that it’s okay to have problems and to ask for help. Though her primary audience has mostly been women, her messages of courage and strength can resonate with anyone, whether it’s finding the confidence to face everyday obstacles in life or seeking help for addiction treatment.

Take a look at the video below for a taste of what she’s all about, and feel free to contact us if you or someone you love needs help for a substance abuse or mental health issue.