California Officials Launch Wide Ranging Addictions Center Probe

Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
07/19/2013 –ATIN – California officials are temporarily suspending sixteen addiction treatment drug rehab alcohol rehab centers suspected of violating health care laws — from hiring people who were convicted of abusing patients to charging Medi-Cal, the state medical program for the poor, for services that were never performed. Treatment Magazine warned recently of a highly charged addictions regulatory environment out of Sacramento in the wake of a couple of critical industry reports from state Senate investigators with officials very likely to use the reports as a basis to launch enforcement and regulatory actions into the addiction treatment industry.

Justice Department

The state Department of Health Care Services said Thursday it is referring the centers to the Department of Justice for further investigation. Health Care Services oversees Medi-Cal and is the midst of a wide-ranging investigation of addiction treatment centers, it said. The state issues about 1,000 licenses to provide treatment to Medi-Cal patients for substance abuse and addiction. State officials began investigating 22 treatment centers and found 16 were suspected of various violations. Some centers are suspected of hiring people who have been convicted of defrauding the government or neglecting or abusing patients. Others are being investigated for performing unnecessary procedures or fraudulently billing the Medi-Cal drug program. The state declined to identify the centers and will not pay them until the investigation is complete, although a number of centers were named in the Senate investigative reports.

One-Third Fraud

Federal auditors have revealed that as much as one-third of Medicaid and Medicare billing nationwide could be fraudulent in some way, so if this all California state investigators can come up with in a “wide ranging” examination state addictions providers – a couple of dozen out of a 1,000 licensed centers – the investigation should be seen as laughable and an indication of addiction treatment’s high standards of integrity relative to med surg.


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