In response to the growing opioid crisis and overall greater awareness of our nation’s substance abuse problem, scores of drug rehab centers have cropped up throughout the country. There are thousands of rehabs in California alone.
While this may seem on the surface like a positive development toward drug users finding the help they need, the rehab industry has an unfortunate dark side: Not all of these facilities provide appropriate standards of addiction treatment. Low-quality addiction centers can stand in the way of recovery, and in some cases, they can create actively harmful conditions.
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How Some Rehab Facilities Are Damaging Patients
Many rehab facilities are for-profit institutions, and profit margins can make it easy to overlook high addiction treatment standards. The problem may arise from well-meaning but inexperienced rehabs failing to follow the industry’s best practices or not having appropriate resources to encourage recovery. In some cases, there have even been allegations of scams and fraud when facilities promise more than they can offer.
One shady technique employed by some of these facilities is “body brokering,”  where rehab facilities pay professional recruiters to court clients with good insurance. These brokers may find potential clients in other rehab programs, homeless shelters, or even drug courts. Once admitted to “recovery” programs, the addicts may be subjected to a battery of expensive and unnecessary tests or treatments. Because the goal is making money, it’s in the facility’s best interests to keep their clients in the facility rather than encouraging relapse-free recovery efforts.
Many of these disreputable rehab companies rely on extensive advertising schemes to find vulnerable clients with deep pockets or good insurance. People searching for addiction treatment in California may see these advertisements online and assume that the facility is reputable. Because most people do not know what to look for in a rehab facility, they may not notice any red flags until it’s too late.
How Disreputable Rehab Slips Under the Radar
A big part of the problem with unscrupulous rehab facilities is the low barrier of entry to opening a treatment center. Although state licensing is required, the requirements for obtaining that license are quite loose. Rehab owners don’t need a medical background or degree to open a treatment center. Additionally, there is little government oversight, with many more rehab facilities than licensing personnel or state inspectors.
One rehab company that has come under investigation recently is Sovereign Health, which has multiple behavioral health and addiction centers throughout the country. The CEO, Tonmoy Sharma, lost his U.K. medical license due to professional misconduct issues, but nothing keeps him from running a number of treatment facilities.
Sovereign has been on the receiving end of lawsuits, and an FBI raid of the business has even investigated potentially fraudulent marketing practices and more.
Finding Quality Addiction Treatment in California
Despite the well-known problems with many addiction recovery programs across the country, rehab is not all bad. For every unscrupulous facility, there are quality treatment centers that subscribe to a high standard of patient care and are focused more on recovery than on profits. Understanding how to find these reputable businesses and avoid companies with red flags is a key part of pursuing healthy, recovery-focused rehab.
One of the most important things to look for is accreditation from a national or international organization focused on quality care and recovery. Although it’s easy to get state licensing, federal accreditation requires substantially more oversight. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, or CARF, is one of the best-known accrediting organizations. This independent, nonprofit organization recognizes facilities that provide quality care, and accreditation is a lengthy and strenuous process.
Another thing to look out for is the way that clients are recruited. When talking to an intake professional, you should never feel like money is the motive. You should feel comfortable getting answers to questions about specific treatment options and what you can expect from treatment. If a program sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
Ocean Hills Recovery Inc. has been in business for over a decade and is CARF accredited. Our success rate is a testament to our commitment to recovery. Our staff includes psychiatrists and licensed psychologists, and we are committed to following the accepted best practices of addiction recovery programs.
For more information about our program, contact us today.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.