DELRAY BEACH — Recently, substance abuse centers have become a center for defrauding insurance companies by avoiding patients from showing actual withdrawal symptoms. The Reflections treatment center in Florida is one among these fraud centers.
It looked a like a safe place for Michelle Holley’s youngest daughter to get high with heroin.
After the death of her youngest daughter, Michelle Holley said, “It looked fine. They were saying all the right things to me. I could not help my child so I trusted them to help my child.”
The family also admitted that owner of Reflections Treatment center was more interested in defrauding insurance companies by keeping addicts hooked instead of providing right help.
According to the mother, the center refused to provide Jaime Holley, a 19-year-old, her prescription medicine when she left. This forced her to use illegal drugs and avoided acute withdrawal symptoms. She died last November of a heroin overdose.
Holley further added, “Right to my face they lied to me, and I believed them.”
Looking at the situation, there were remarks made by various law enforcement officer, treatment experts as well as addicts. They all stressed on the fact that a to keep the insurance dollars rolling in, various unscrupulous industry players are rather focusing on getting addicts to relapse instead of helping them to come out of the situation.
Timothy Schnellenberger, with vast years of experience in running addiction recovery centers in Florida said, “It’s terrible right now. I don’t know of any business that wants to kill its customers, but this one does. It really breaks my heart. Kids are dying left and right.”
Kenneth Chatman, owner of Reflections and Journey is serving a 27-year federal prison sentence. He pleaded guilty to health care fraud and money laundering. Both the centers are shuttered now.
Holley trying to contain her tears said, ““I couldn’t fix it. And as a parent, I wanted to fix it.”
Dave Aronberg, the state attorney and chief prosecutor in Palm Beach County. “said, “there’s a need for a positive, vibrant recovery network to help people get off of opioids. You can’t just arrest your way out of this problem.”
Lately, authorities have confirmed that South Florida has become the central point of lush insurance fraud that depend on a lethal cycle of intentional failure.
Aronberg, whose opioid task force has been successful in making more than 30 fraud arrests added, “The incentive is to keep them in this relapse system, this gravy train that doesn’t end until the person leaves in a body bag or an ambulance. There’s no money in sobriety.”
Federal officials said that It’s alone a $1 billion business in Palm Beach County alone.
“Florida has the most sober homes per capita of any state. Opioid treatment fraud has surfaced in California and Arizona, but Florida stands out, in part because so many people come for treatment.” David Sheridan who is the President of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences said.
The data is devastating. Every day, two people dies with overdose on opioids in Palm Beach County. The death is mainly because of heroin laced with the synthetic drug fentanyl. The percentage of State wide deaths rose 75 percent in 2015 when more than 2,500 people died in Florida from the combination, according to the state medical examiner.
Single operation alone revealed the fraud of the Real Life Recovery Delray treatment center and the Halfway There Florida home for collecting almost $19 million by fraudulently charging insurance companies. The total amount was $58 million over four years. This report was submitted by the FBI. This case is still to go for trial.
patients at Chatman’s center were given drugs to for a positive drug test to making them eligible candidate for relapse. This was usually done when their insurance coverage was about to expire.
He is even charged for inducing some female patients into prostitution which was done for free rent at his sober home. He used to confiscate car keys, cellphones and prescription medications.
The Legislature has obligated harsher penalties for patient brokering. At the same time, new limits on misleading marketing techniques.
Delray Beach and Boynton Beach approved new rules for group homes. This would require them to be accredited by a regulatory organization such as the Florida Association of Recovery Residences.