Tag Archives: addiction

Roslyn Carter

In 1966, the idea of advocating for people with mental illnesses was even less popular than it is today, cloaked in shame, stigma, and discrimination. Mrs. Carter took it on anyway and for the past four decades has addressed issues related to consequences of mental illness that cry out for reinvention and transformation. She seems to come from a place that overrides fear and shame and goes right to compassion. And it’s the compassion that has fueled her commitment to a segment of our population that had been dismissed as having nothing meaningful to contribute to our society and needing nothing more than to be taken care of.

Behavioral Health recently wrote a great article that we would recommend: Rosalynn Carter: Stigma has ‘a long way to go’

OIG’s 2014 plan promises scrutiny for behavioral health

By Dennis Grantham, Editor-in-Chief of Behavioral Healthcare

In a recent story, “Compliance programs stress effectiveness” (Behavioral Healthcare, Nov./Dec. 2013 issue), Fabio van der Merwe, director of quality improvement and compliance at DeKalb Community Services Board (Atlanta, Ga.) noted that each year, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services releases an annual work plan.
This plan, he says, “puts compliance officers ‘on notice’ as to the focus of federal Medicare and Medicaid enforcement activity for the coming year.” In its recently unveiled 2014 work plan, the OIG committed to continuing a range of investigative activities involving behavioral health.

Read the full article here.

Senate Bill 582 – Amended – Revised Staff Report

The fiscal impact issue has finally been addressed, again. And it says the same thing as the legislation did last year. Hence, another reason why we are called Flori-DUH.

The bill would have a significant fiscal impact on DCF. The number of sober houses statewide that would apply for certificates of registration and require initial and ongoing inspections and administrative oversight is unknown.

Similar to proposed legislation introduced in 2013 (SB 738), the department cannot determine the exact fiscal impact of this bill. The number of sober homes that would require inspection and the number of background screenings that would require review is unknown. Additionally, the department would need funding to modify its existing licensure database and pay for additional data storage capacity at the shared resource center. The department would need staff to perform inspections, process applications, review background screenings, provide legal representation in chapter 120 proceedings in the event of a denial, revocation or suspension of a registration and update its licensing and technology systems.

In 2013, the department estimated it would need 65 new positions to perform all the identified tasks at a cost of $6.8 million and $200,000 to modify its licensing and technology systems for a total impact of $7 million.

Get full details here.

Insurance Fraud – More Fraud in the Substance Abuse Drug Screening Urinalysis Industry

Meant to include this one earlier, brought to our attention from our friends over at PathologyBlawg.com

A chain of opiate addiction recovery centers, headquartered in Harrodsburg, Ky., and a Russell Springs, Ky., clinical laboratory, along with two physician owners, agreed to pay the U.S. Government millions of dollars to resolve civil allegations that they fraudulently billed federal health care programs for medically unnecessary and excessive urine tests.

Strangely, DOJ and the states Attorney Generals don¹t see to be concerned about the same abuse in the private insurance sector.

However, something to chew on – are medical plans obtained through the Federal Healthcare Exchange (or a state exchange) elevated to a federal health care program. I assume the answer is “no” as a mere result of legal definition, but we will wait and see.

Still, the fox appears to be the only one watching the hen house.

Check out these articles:
Kentucky Addiction Treatment Center, Clinical Laboratory and Two Physician Owners to Pay $15.75 Million to Resolve Allegations of Fraudulent Urine Drug Testing

Attorney states cash kickbacks from urine drug screen lab are perfectly legal

Blue Cross Accuses Drug Test Co. Of $36M Fraud Scheme

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s drug death. The science of addiction, recovery, and relapse.

An excellent article just sent to me by someone I have come to consider a friend:

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/02/philip_seymour_hoffman_s_drug_death_the_science_of_addiction_recovery_and.html

It¹s impossible to know what led Hoffman to start using after so many years of sobriety. After he opened a portal to that vortex of chemical relief, however, it doesn’t surprise me at all that he couldn¹t heave himself out in time to save his life.

PALM BEACH LEGISLATORS WANT OVERSIGHT ON SOBER HOMES

As part of my ongoing commitment to keep Palm Beach County safe Sen. Jeff Clemens and I are gaining even more support on our bill regarding sober homes. According to Delray Beach city rental housing inspector Marc Woods, only half of Delray Beach’s 550 sober homes have complied with a law the city has imposed to verify the number of tenants living in rental homes. Additionally, people coming to the city for recovery are estimated to have committed over half of the property crimes seen in Delray Beach in the past year. Delray Beach is not the only city with this concern; all of Palm Beach County could be at risk – unless we act now.²

These ³facts² remains anecdotal, speculative, and stereotypical at best, and discriminatory and unfairly stigmatizing at worst.

Let me be clear, I strongly support legitimate and targeted regulations to ensure that persons in recovery are protected from predatory landlords and unscrupulous treatment providers.

But throwing cavalier statements around about people in recovery causing 50% of the crime in Delray Beach is absolutely absurd, reckless, and quite frankly, continues to paint the City of Delray Beach (and now, this specific legislation) in the light of a government hell-bent on getting rid of ³those people² at all costs.

Marc Woods should be ashamed of himself.

See the press release below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FOR MORE INFORMATION:
January 8, 2014 Chauncey Graham (561) 540‐1140
PALM BEACH LEGISLATORS WANT OVERSIGHT ON SOBER HOMES

TALLAHASSEE, FL ‐‐‐ Florida State Senator Jeff Clemens (D‐Lake Worth) and Representative Bill Hager (R‐Delray Beach) hope to put the brakes on the unchecked proliferation of “sober homes” that are changing the character of neighborhoods around the state.

Many communities have been virtually overrun by the number of so‐called “sober homes” that have emerged in the middle of neighborhoods. These unregulated facilities can potentially house twenty to thirty individuals renting space from a landlord with an eye more to maximizing profits than providing actual treatment, and they can also attract criminal elements such as drug dealers hoping to sell to residents.

While some city officials claim that thousands of these homes have opened across the state, the data is unreliable because the state has no means of tracking sober homes. SB 582 and HB 479 will allow the state to track sober house transitional living homes by providing rules for the registration and operation of these type of substance abuse service facilities.

“While many businesses are restricted from operating within single‐family neighborhoods, sober homes can open virtually anywhere,” Clemens said. “Some of these so‐called homes are destroying neighborhoods and providing little benefit to residents or the community. We need to get a handle on the problem.”

“Dating back to my service on the Boca Raton City Council, I have been keenly aware of the neighborhood challenges relating to so‐called sober homes. It is time to take legislative action,” Hager said. “Our proposal regulates sober homes in terms of licensing, screening those who operate these homes and gives the Department of Children and Family Services the ability to inspect the homes on a regular basis. Way too many problems have been reported to local officials in connection with some of the sober homes to permit them to continue to operate without regulation.”

Currently, sober homes can be established anywhere by anyone and, while claiming to provide assistance for recovering addicts, oftentimes do not offer treatment programs or services. The proposed legislation will outline where and how sober homes can be operated and address public safety issues that result from poorly run facilities.

Shifting Away from Fee for Service Towards Coordinated Care Payment Models

I know I sound like a broken record on this one, but the substance abuse treatment industry is now in the same boat as the rest of the healthcare payment model when it comes to reimbursements. That¹s good news for many (more people covered with insurance + parity in services).

However, that also means that treatment providers need to start planning ahead for the eventual migration away from the fee-for-service model and towards a coordinated care model.

While this article suggests that it is the states which need to figure it out, I still believe that the private sector is in the best position to determine cost efficiencies and then work with state legislators on crafting workable solutions.

But there is no doubting (in the absence of amendments or repeal of the Affordable Care Act) that treatment providers who rely upon private pay insurance must begin to analyze their business models for future sustainability.

Read the Modern Health article here:
http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20140108/NEWS/301089971

ZOHYDROGATE: AND HERE COME THE ADDICTS

The FDA defied its own experts to approve a new prescription narcotic in a form almost certain to cause addiction and death from overdoses.

On October 26 the savvy investor’s website SeekingAlpha.com published the following remarkable comment about a new and highly addictive painkiller called Zohydro ER, which only the previous day had been approved for sale by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration despite consistent warnings – including from the FDA’s official advisory panel – that Z is potentially more addictive and dangerous than its sister opiate drug, the original and deadly OxyContin.

The full article can be read here:
http://www.thefix.com/content/zohydrogate-and-here-come-addicts?page=all