How To Find A Legitimate Drug Rehab Center
In the last few years, fraudulent drug rehab centers have been revealed, especially in South Florida. These illegitimate centers give a bad reputation to those that provide true support and care. Finding a legiate addiction treatment facility for yourself or your loved one is key to long-term sobriety.
When you’re ready to head to rehab, you may feel elated. Making the choice to enter treatment can be a freeing feeling. Even in your excitement, you’ll have some details to consider.
That’s because even after you make the biggest decision—to enter treatment—you still have to decide where to attend treatment. Finding a drug rehab center that is legitimate, has a superb quality of care, and one that isn’t in it solely for the money can be quite a task. So, how do you go about this?
This guide can help you learn what to look for in a legitimate rehab center, and how to recognize the signs of a sketchy one. Insurance fraud in the treatment industry is an unfortunate concern, you’ll want to know how to recognize signs of that as well.
Some other things you may want to consider before heading to rehab are:
- Your state of health: emotional, mental, physical. Do you have any special treatment needs, such as a co-occurring mental health disorder, or more than one substance use issue?
- The substance of abuse: this is important because it determines your treatment program. For instance, recovery from some substances, like opioids, may require detoxification before treatment begins.
- Your unique needs: people have needs specific to them. Women have different needs from men, for example. Some treatment centers provide gender-specific treatment for this reason.
- Insurance: before heading to treatment, you’ll want to contact your insurance provider, especially if they require you to get certified before you go.
- Your cost: figuring out insurance will help you determine your out-of-pocket costs so you can plan ahead for payments.
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Quality Of Care
Maybe it goes without saying that in treatment you absolutely need a superb quality of care, but it’s so very important that you get it. Why? Having a level of care that is above your average treatment stay can make a difference in treatment outcomes.
And let’s face it: it’s all about reaching your treatment goals. If you aren’t comfortable and cared for well during your stay, you may not find the hope and healing that you need.
Take, for instance, a study reported by the U.S. National Library Of Medicine National Institutes Of Health. In the study, patients undergoing addiction treatment services were surveyed at the time of discharge from treatment programs and one year later.
The study found that “a favorable evaluation of treatment near the time of discharge had a significant positive relationship with drug use improvement outcomes approximately one year later…”.
When you have an all-around good treatment experience, you stand a better chance of maintaining your treatment goals long-term. That is not to say there may not be some hiccups along the way.
Addiction is a disease of the mind and emotions and affects this aspect of your health as much as your physical health. That means you may have some falls from grace, whether in sobriety or other ways. Continued treatment does not mean a failure, but a dedication to getting well.
Either way, the best opportunity you can give yourself for healing is a high level of care from the start. That way, you can focus on healing while your rehab center worries about the details of it.
Private Rehab Vs. State-Funded
Now that you know you need the best care you can find, consider the difference between private rehab versus state-funded rehab. Perhaps you’re wondering what exactly is the difference?
To put it simply, private rehab is private: privately owned and operated. This means it has funding and ownership and regulations different from that of state- or public-funded rehabs, which are regulated by states or local communities.
There’s also the matter of privacy in a private-funded rehab center. That is, your privacy, security, and treatment needs are foremost in a private rehab. How do they ensure this difference? Here are a few ways:
- Limited bed count: many private rehabs limit the number of patients accepted at any given time. This lowers the patient-to-specialist ratio and helps ensure unique, individual care
- Higher quality of care: without an influx of patients, the staff at private rehabs have time to really work with their patients and make sure all their needs are being met. This includes getting to know each individual at a more personal level
- Diversity in treatment: private rehabs tend to offer a greater array of services that cater to the many needs of patients in treatment
- Location: many private rehab centers are located in serene, natural environments, or even luxury surroundings. This allows patients to be removed from their environment of abuse and focus solely on healing
- Privacy: privately owned rehabs don’t record your attendance. For some, this factor may be of great importance
State-funded treatment can help people get into treatment, for sure. But if you are looking for the most you can get out of your treatment experience, private drug rehab may be right for you.
Online Reviews: How To Find Them
Finding a drug rehab center that is top-notch may require some research. This may seem like a daunting process, but it’s necessary. To start, you can easily access online reviews to give you an idea of which rehab centers provide the best care.
Going online is the fastest and easiest way to find these reviews, and you can find a number of sites that provide reviews of the best-rated drug rehabs.
The following sites provide reviews from people who actually attended the rehab centers, including written reviews and ratings:
- Consumer Affairs—this site only provides the top 10 best-rated rehab centers, which vary, but it also lists great information about what is considered for quality of the rehab centers and how the ratings are assigned. This could help you learn what you may want to consider looking for your own rehab center to attend
- TheFix.com—lists drug rehab centers by name, location, and price with reviews attached
Hearing from people who have already attended treatment, and may have needs that are similar to yours, may help you put in perspective your own needs. It’s also great to have an idea of what a rehab center will be like before you commit to a program, and reading reviews will give you that opportunity.
Making The Choice: Selecting A Treatment Center
So, how do you choose the treatment center that’s right for you, that offers the best treatment available, meets your needs, and fits in a foreseeable budget for you? The best thing to do is consider all principles of effective treatment, select a few top-rated rehab centers that match these factors and narrow your selection based on those few.
The National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) lists 13 principles of effective treatment, summarized as follows:
- All treatment is not created equal; treatment must be appropriate for each individual.
- Access to treatment has to be immediately available to be most effective.
- The most effective treatment will address all the medical needs of the person: physical, mental, emotional, etc. and not just the symptoms of addiction.
- Flexibility in treatment is a must. Clients should be assessed throughout the program to ensure growth and progress in healing.
- Completing an adequate treatment stay is necessary for effective treatment outcomes. Leaving before you’re ready can affect long-term treatment success.
- Counseling and behavioral therapy are key components of a successful treatment program.
- Medications may be necessary for some in addiction treatment, and this factor must be recognized.
- Those who have a dual diagnosis (co-occurring disorders) should receive treatment for both, or all, disorders at the same time.
- Those who need detoxification during treatment also need treatment. Detox alone isn’t enough to help heal from addiction.
- You don’t have to enter treatment voluntarily for it to be effective.
- Close monitoring for possible drug use during treatment is important for effective outcomes.
- Great treatment programs should provide testing for infectious diseases, like Hepatitis or HIV/AIDS.
- Recognition that recovery from drug abuse or addiction may be a long-term process.
When choosing your rehab center, keep these principles in mind and look for reviews that talk about some of these factors. You’ll be surprised by the difference it will make—having access to all the key resources you need to heal.
Signs Of An Illegitimate Treatment Center
The unfortunate side to addiction treatment is that there are questionable businesses out there that take advantage of the system, using it to make a profit without actually helping people. Before you make a decision, you’ll want to guarantee you’re entering a drug rehab center that is not only certified and provides your checklist of effective principles of treatment, but one that is actually going to help you and not just takes your money or insurance.
In your search for the best rehab centers available, you may come across some drug rehabs that look and sound like a functioning treatment center, but in fact are fraudulent and exist mainly to collect insurance money from people who don’t receive treatment, don’t receive the length of treatment the business claims they do, or who aren’t even mentally stable enough to attend or benefit from treatment.
When reading online reviews of drug rehabs, look for things that don’t sound quite right: people who had troubles with billing after leaving rehab and whose insurance providers were informed they were in treatment after they left, people who were moved from center to center, people who experienced falsehoods during treatment (such as lies told to family members, family unable to contact the treatment centers, etc.).
Headhunting is also a major issue. What does this mean? Some people are recruited to attend counseling sessions for a few dollars, or to sign their names to treatment attendance sheets when they never attended treatment at all.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported a widespread problem of drug treatment clinics in California recruiting people to treatment sessions, fabricating paperwork, and collecting state funds and insurance for these “attendees” who never received treatment.
The article also found that “once open, bad clinics rarely are shut down.” The best thing to do is look for signs of a sketchy treatment center before ever entering treatment. Consider these questions in your search:
- Are you attending treatment because someone offered you cash, cigarettes, or any other type of bribe?
- If you already attended treatment, look over your billing records. Was your insurance billed only for the days you were there? Are there any forms you did not sign that contains your signature?
- When looking to attend rehab, research some of the treatment specialists. Are they legitimate, i.e. certified, specialists in the field of addiction treatment?
- What do online reviews say about each rehab center you’re considering?
- Has the rehab center you’re considering ever been accused of insurance or any other type of fraud, including urine drug testing fraud?
Urine Drug Testing Insurance Fraud: Know What To Look For
For some background, the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) states, “in the addiction treatment context, UDT [urine drug testing] is a valuable tool to screen patients for substance abuse and recovery.” While this is true, and UDT remains a helpful tool in addiction treatment, there are clinics and rehab centers alike that have taken advantage of it.
How does this happen? Partly, it began with UDT marketers using aggressive techniques to vie with competitors, trying to win favor among health clinics and treatment centers. In short, UDT marketers wanted treatment providers to use their products. So, they began offering incentives for using their products.
One company, as reported by the BNA, would even offer contracts for use of the UDT testing kits which included penalties for not returning the kits with the specimen for testing in that company’s labs. A deeper look into these aggressive practices revealed that not only were these practices questionable, the types and frequency of testing being done were also questionable.
Exactly how often should someone be tested in an addiction treatment setting? The BNA states, “the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration…recommends in the addiction context that UDT is used on a step-down basis, beginning with more regular testing…and increasingly tapering to less frequent, at-risk points…based on erratic behavior, and on a random basis.”
In other words, if you’re in treatment and being tested far more frequently when you’re nearing the end of your program and you’ve shown a recent history of no drug use, you may just be a secondary part of a UDT scheme.
To avoid this, pay close attention to online reviews and any mention of questionable UDT practices. While necessary, UDT should be utilized only to help ensure an effective treatment experience, not for the profitable gain of the treatment center.
Insurance Fraud In The Addiction Treatment Industry
It may seem impossible to believe—that businesses exist solely to trick the insurance system instead of helping people overcome addiction. It’s despicable but true.
In fact, it’s become such a widespread problem in our nation that it’s giving legitimate rehab centers a bad reputation and causing those who most need help to turn away from it. Insurance fraud may be the biggest obstacle facing the addiction treatment industry today.
A recent article by NBC News reports, “crooked treatment centers partner with ‘body brokers’ and operators of so-called ‘sober homes’ to find patients with good health insurance. Brokers and sober homeowners offer those trying to get clean free rent and grocery store gift cards, cigarettes and manicures in exchange for going to a specific treatment center, which pays kickbacks for every client.”
In other words, fraudulent rehab centers manipulate addicted individuals, bribing them with small incentives and collect fees and insurance monies on their behalf. After attracting these clients, these questionable treatment centers bill their insurance providers thousands of dollars, often for services that were unnecessary, or that did not fully or adequately address the needs of the client.
Perhaps even worse, these centers may not only allow substance abuse but even encourage it ensuring longer and returned stays, according to NBC News. Nothing could be more detrimental to blocking the progress and healing of addicted individuals.
A representative for one legitimate treatment center in Florida aptly stated to NBC that these scammers have made it very difficult for legitimate rehab centers to thrive and help those who truly need the help.
Issues In Florida Drug Rehab: The string of illegitimate treatment centers and sober homes
At the head of the insurance fraud issues in addiction treatment is a string of illegitimate treatment centers and sober homes in Florida. According to NBC News, two things set this addiction treatment “fraud mill” in motion: the ongoing opioid epidemic and continued abuse of other drugs and the change in how insurance companies are required to handle addiction treatment services.
That is, addiction treatment is now medically regarded as a disease in need of treatment. In other words, insurance companies cannot discriminate against those in need of treatment for addiction and must provide coverage for it. This provided a great opportunity for many people to finally get the help they needed. Some people could be on a waitlist for up to years for a state- or community-funded treatment center.
With insurance required to provide coverage for addiction treatment in the same manner as other medical conditions, people could seek treatment anywhere that accepted their insurance plan. However, this also meant businesses with ill intentions began cropping up as well.
This is especially true in South Florida. Florida treatment works much like other treatment models. First, those who needed detox would go through that process, then on to treatment at a facility, then a sober living home to integrate back into the community while still attending treatment services.
It’s the sober living homes that brokers began to see as a cash mill. Some operators in Florida would take advantage of people’s insurance, keeping them in treatment longer than needed, or sending them from one sober house to the next.
One operator was rumored to have made it clear that abusing drugs during his program was completely acceptable—so long as you keep your name on the treatment log and they could collect from your insurance provider.
The Miami Herald reports that, also in Florida, “operators were making thousands on routine urine tests that should have cost no more than $10 or $20.” A special task force was created to bust illegal treatment operations, and as of January 2017, 10 of these operations were uncovered, mainly for “illegal patient brokering.”
Perhaps one of the most disturbing details about these operations was the coercion of addicted women and the use of prostitution in illegal sober homes. Women in these situations were promised not to have to pay rent or expenses, or attend treatment or be tested for drug use, so long as they participated in prostitutional acts. While living in the homes, the operators continued billing their insurance companies.
Florida continues to combat the damage caused by these operations and to look for others that still exist. Each operation revealed mars the name of true, earnest addiction treatment. Yet addiction treatment built on honest principles does exist.
Is Treatment At Drug Rehabs Worth The Cost?
Maybe you’re reading this and are disgusted and disheartened by the details of fraudulent drug rehab systems. Indeed, we all should be. Perhaps it’s leaving you wondering if any drug rehabs are out there that are legitimate and true, that exist for the actual purpose of helping people, that is worth the cost.
Our rehab centers cannot make up for those wronged by illegitimate rehab centers. What we can do is work every day to help people, truly help them, to overcome addiction and seek a better side of life. That’s what we strive to do every day.
If you’re considering addiction treatment, don’t let the bad reputation of the few exceed the good deeds of the many. We can actually offer help, we can provide you with the foundation you need to overcome addiction. How?
In contrast to excessive drug testing, we offer drug testing only as a way to ensure sobriety during treatment, an important component of treatment effectiveness. In contrast to excessive and outrageous treatment sessions, we offer only the treatment that you will need.
We build programs based on individual needs. Before you enter treatment, we’ll assess those needs, including any co-occurring disorder, physical health issues, mental health issues, medications needed, and more. We include in many of our programs nutrition guidance and exercise components, recognizing that the health of the spirit is as important as the health of the mind and body.
On that note, we offer alternative therapy, such as wilderness or adventure, because skill-building and connecting with nature is just as important as therapy and counseling.
You won’t find us billing you for services you don’t need. Above all, you’ll find at our drug rehab centers a quality of care unmatched by other, questionable programs.
For every so-called treatment center that is out to take your money and rob you of your health and your opportunity to get well, there is one that actually exists for the purpose of helping you, as we do.
Get Help With Finding A Legitimate Drug Rehab Center
If you’re struggling today, don’t let the bad eggs of the treatment industry stop you from seeking a legitimate drug rehab center. We can help you every step of the way, proving our worth and our dedication to your recovery journey.Article Sources
Bureau Of National Affairs Health Care Fraud Report - http://www.nelsonhardiman.com/media/NelsonArticlePDF.pdf
National Institute On Drug Abuse - https://archives.drugabuse.gov/NIDA_Notes/NNVol14N5/Tearoff.html
The San Diego Tribune - http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sdut-cir-rehab-fraud-2013jul30-story.html
U.S. National Library Of Medicine National Institutes Of Health - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796692/