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Treatment Centers – Do the Right Thing

Most people familiar with the addiction treatment industry saw and heard the numerous reports some time ago regarding abhorrent practices at certain treatment centers. At least one person was sent to prison and certain centers were shut down.

How could this happen?

By Nick Cuneo, President & Founder, Clean Recovery Centers

The treatment center industry is a business. We have all heard stories of nefarious activities in business. Most are familiar with various Ponzi schemes and many other crimes that were uncovered as part of the global economic crisis of 2008. Previously there was the Enron scandal of the early 2000’s. In fact, there have been a great many crimes committed in business over the years.

As it turned out, the addiction industry was not immune. Certain treatment centers and sober houses were colluding in pay-for-play schemes that involved keeping addicts high and bouncing them back and forth. Other forms of insurance fraud also were uncovered and even worse things were revealed involving sexual exploitation.

 

Scared away

As an ownership team in recovery, we took great offense to this news. These activities go completely against any recovery process and the lifestyle of recovery. This is occurring at a time when the country is going through a drug and alcohol epidemic. Thousands of people potentially seeking treatment were probably scared away and many still remain skeptical or afraid.

Even prior to these events, if everyone who needed treatment sought treatment, there would not be enough treatment centers to help everyone. Now there are far fewer centers, and many people may still be afraid to go to the facilities that remain.

The negative impact of these illegal activities by a few ill-intended centers has likely been far more extensive that one could possibly imagine.

The good news is that federal, state and local authorities have brought these nefarious activities largely to a halt. We also understand that there are ongoing investigations taking place, and there may be further developments moving forward. In addition, regulations in the industry have been bolstered.

For example, in Florida all sober homes must be FARR accredited. Treatment centers there will now have to be accredited by The Joint Commission or an equivalent entity. Though somewhat costly and arduous at times, these regulations are necessary. We have welcomed these very much needed changes.

 

Almost died

At Clean Recovery, we do not profess to be perfect. That said, we try to do the right thing 100% of the time. We may come up short, but it is never intentional. My business partners, many of our staff as well as myself have almost died from this disease. Our very lives depend on helping others with this disease to the best of our abilities.

We aim to practice recovery principles in all our affairs, including business. We realize this is a business, and we need to keep the lights on. But we do not operate our business based on the common “maximizing profits” model. We would need to change our model drastically if that were the goal. Additionally, members of our ownership team and staff would be making much more money elsewhere.

 

Wrong is wrong

At the end of the day, we believe there is no right way to do the wrong thing. If something is wrong, it is wrong. The regulations I mentioned have largely helped ensure there are little if any gray areas. It should be clear to those running treatment centers what must be done to operate the business in a robust, legal and ethical manner. That said, it is very difficult to regulate morality.

Bottom line: we believe that people without a strong moral compass and desire to help those suffering should consider doing something else, perhaps outside of healthcare.

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