A yearlong investigation by The Center for Investigative Reporting and CNN has found that several California drug rehab clinics have been defrauding taxpayers. These clinics collect thousands of dollars of government funding for clients that don’t exist and/or services not rendered.
The investigation, which included undercover surveillance and stakeouts, uncovered a rehab racket that continues to this day. Rehab Racket started Tuesday night on AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET on CNN.
The clinics, which were defrauding the state Drug Medi-Cal program, rounded up clients from foster care group homes and homeless shelters, whether or not they had a drug problem. They lured in mentally ill patients from local board and care homes. They found patients on the street by bribing them with cash, cigarettes and snacks. They would have patients sign in for days they weren’t there.
At least one clinic billed for patients that never came in, fabricating notes on their sessions. Some were behind bars; one was dead.
CNN and CIR reported that Drug Medi-Cal paid out $94 million in the past two fiscal years to 56 clinics in Southern California that have shown signs of deception or questionable billing practices, representing half of all public funding to the program.
CNN and CIR report that as a result of the investigation, the state Department of Health Care Services temporarily suspended 16 clinics suspected of flouting the law and pledged to tighten oversight and on Tuesday announced it had suspended 13 more.
However, the clinics have become adept at sidestepping regulations, and some of the fraudulent rehab clinics are still operational.
This just illustrates how daunting it can be to find a treatment center you can trust. Often, a simple internet search is simply not enough. Even if you attend a state funded rehab program, you should always check the credentials of the facility you are considering. Ask them about the education of their staff. Find out how long the center has been treating patients and what their success rate is. Request information about their philosophy in treating addiction. These questions may help you learn more about the program at a state funded or private rehab center:
Do you use a 12-step approach or an alternative treatment philosophy?
Is it inpatient or outpatient treatment?
What is the average length of stay?
What methods do you use to treat patients?
How are families involved in the treatment process?
Does your treatment center offer any follow-up program to help prevent relapse?
What is your staff to client ratio?
What are the goals and philosophy of your drug and alcohol rehab center?
For more information on finding a drug rehab you can trust, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.