Sunday, January 1, 2017

Thursday the Planning Commission Concludes Its Study of "Group Living Facilities"

The official City Hall term is "Group Living Facilities" because they would never say something so unfortunate as "junkie housing." Perhaps "Sober Living Homes" might be a little too risky as well, though the term is used in Thursday's Planning Commission staff report (link). Even when used to describe an industry whose sole purpose appears to be cleaning out whatever money is available in an addicted patient's insurance portfolio before sending them off on their merry way. Cured or no. Which makes them little different from a lot of other health care genres.

In the never-never land of state and national patients' rights legislation inappropriate language could come back to haunt a small city in the form of substantial lawsuits and other penalties, so you need to keep a civil bureaucratic tongue in your head. Something Sierra Madre's local government agency does excel at these days.

We'll get into this a little more later in the week. But for today I have a couple of articles to show you that describe some recent developments in Florida, a state where the fight over sober living homes has been going on for a lot longer than it has here. These could be an indication of how things might play out in California someday. Hard to say.

After all, ours is a state where the opposition to putting these things in the middle of suburban family communities like Sierra Madre is as strong as it is in Florida, but local media and law enforcement seems too polite to talk about it very much. Perhaps they fear being seen as "uncaring." Or they just aren't very concerned.


Speculation that a two-year-long investigation into corruption in the Palm Beach County’s addiction treatment industry would yield no arrests ended on Tuesday when law enforcement officials raided Whole Life Recovery, a Boynton Beach treatment center, and arrested its owner and operator. CEO James Kigar and operations consultant Christopher Hutson face patient brokering charges, a third degree felony.

They are being held at the Palm Beach County jail and will appear in front of a judge Wednesday morning.

In 2014, the FBI launched Operation Thoroughbred, a federal investigation into accusations of insurance fraud, money laundering, patient brokering and kickbacks in the county’s $1 billion industry. Agents raided two sober living and treatment businesses, Good Decisions Sober Living in West Palm Beach and Halfway There/Real Life Recovery in Delray Beach.

Corruption was so rampant that Cigna stopped selling policies on Florida’s insurance exchange.

In response, some sober homes and treatment centers closed. Others changed their business and billing practices. However, as time passed and no arrests were made, the industry rebounded.

Hutson’s criminal record includes a conviction for fraud for his role in a $40 million pill mill empire operated by Wellington brothers Christopher and Jeff George. According to court records, Hutson ran an illegal internet steroid business and sold steroids on behalf of Jeffrey George.

Hutson also posed as a patient and obtained prescriptions for oxycodone — which he sold to others. Christopher George financed an MRI facilty for Hutson, which referred patients to the pain clinic.

There is a lot more to be found at the link, which is here. Next we have this:


Two more people have been arrested in a crackdown aimed at unscrupulous operators of substance-abuse recovery facilities in Palm Beach County.

Police said Bryan Norquist and John Dudek, a pair of Delray Beach sober-home owners, referred patients from their locations to treatment centers in exchange for thousands of dollars in kickbacks.

Authorities on Thursday arrested Norquist, of The Halfway House Inc., and Dudek, of Southern Palm Oasis Inc., on charges of patient brokering, a felony offense.

Both men posted the $3,000 bail and were released early Friday morning. Norquist declined to comment on the arrest, Dudek has not returned calls for comment.

The law prohibits health care providers from offering bonuses, kickbacks or bribes in return for patient referrals.

Sober homes, also known as halfway houses, are unregulated group housing for people recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. Typically, house owners or managers refer their clients to treatment facilities based on their needs.

The latest arrests are part of an investigation by the Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force, which consists of prosecutors and multiple agencies.

You can read the rest of that article by clicking here.

Now I am not suggesting that anything this exciting is going to happen here anytime soon, or even needs to. Nor am I saying that Thursday evening's Planning Commission findings will be little more than an exercise in tiptoeing around sensitive language in order to avoid lawsuits or any unwanted attention from Sacramento.

But you can see where things could go with this industry if you don't keep a close eye on things.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

23 comments:

  1. Nothing says medical professional more than facial tattoos.

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    1. It's a mark of their credibility as people who know what the addictions they are trying to treat are like.
      Part of the hustle here is that those affiliated with such "treatment centers" have learned about it all the hard way. Now they should make some nice money for it.

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    2. I am surprised insurance companies cough up for this BS.

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    3. They hemorrhage for them.
      Provides the CEO's with a very good living.

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    4. Who knew there was such good money in "patient brokering"?

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    5. It's a growth industry.

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  2. Good start to the New Year.
    Group Living Facilities, is a title that covers all individuals. Climb, the Group Living Facility for the visually impaired will be under this Planning Commision language, the State of California language is written in volumes.
    We all can thank Politicians and Representatives in Sacramento for the "Sober Clean Living" rip off of tax money and the lack of legislative guidelines needed to keep this new area of law from being set up as a cash cow.
    You get what "you" vote for.

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    Replies
    1. No sane politician in either party wants this corruption to happen.
      Look to the bottom feeding lawyers who set them up, and the property owners who rent the groups the properties.

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  3. ""You get what "you" vote for"".Yes indeedy,that's why we got Trump.

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    1. And HAPPY NEW YEAR, we have a President Trump that will Make America Great AGAIN. MAGA.
      I voted for him, so happy that I did.
      "Keep Peace with your soul, it is still a beautiful World"

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    2. "I" did not get what "I" voted for, because my vote is not as important as Billy Bob Jimmie's is.

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    3. White votes in tax moocher welfare states count more than ours.

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    4. He's a traitor. He's is in bed with America's enemies. Trump belongs in a small single room at Fort Levenworth.

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    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    6. Trump praises Putin and Twitter eviscerates him (details)
      http://usuncut.com/politics/twitter-destroys-trump-over-putin-tweet/

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  4. The Planning Commission can stop the kind of problems they are having in Florida, but the 6 person facilities, like the one up on Carter - those are immune and ripe for the enterprising entrepreneurs the opiod crisis has spawned.

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    1. Malibu has made some progress on those little mom n pop addiction centers. Remember there was some success at the state level last spring. Here's the article about it from a site that thinks it's a bad thing to limit these destructive faux medical facilities:
      https://www.thefix.com/proposed-laws-attack-california-rehabs-treatment-beds-at-risk

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  5. Yep, there are no sane politicians especially in California.
    The lawyers have given government employees P.E.R.S.; iron clad retirement benefit packages and along with legislative representatives they have given the suburbs sober living homes to be used as a business.

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    Replies
    1. Sure. The articles are about sober living homes in Florida, but why should that get in the way of trashing California?

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    2. The politicians in Tennessee are geniuses.

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  6. Tennesse also has a reasonable tax base.
    Happy New Year from the state of fruits and nuts!

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    Replies
    1. Sure. Half the population lives on fed handouts.

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    2. Red state "self-reliance" is a lie.

      Tennessee
      • Number of food stamp recipients: Just over 1.28 million
      • Percentage of the state's population on food stamps: 19.58%
      • Total cost of just these benefits alone (That is, how much do just the money on those EBT cards cost the state?): Around $158.7 million
      • Cost of benefits alone per capita in this state: $24.23
      http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2015/01/17/cheat-sheet-states-with-most-food-stamps/21877399/

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