The Consequences of “Insurance Mill” Rehabs
When someone goes into treatment, they are vulnerable and they hope to figure out their problems and start a new life once they are done. Unfortunately, too often they go to a rehab center where treatment comes secondary to turning a profit. This does not negate that drug treatment centers need to make their bottom line. No organization can operate without bringing in money, even if it is only through donations.
I have heard countless stories from parents and loved ones about treatment centers kicking out their family member in the middle of the night with no advance warning or preparation. This happens generally in one of two ways.
The first way is when the patient’s insurance company pays the portion of the bill they will cover, and then the addiction treatment facility dismisses the patient. When put like this, it doesn’t sound that bad, however, the way it works in practice can be disturbing. Many times, the family is told the insurance will cover roughly 28 days of treatment and sometimes even more. However, what often happens is the insurance company stops paying after about 15 or 17 days and the family is then notified they must pay several thousand dollars or their loved one will be released.
The second way this occurs is more common in Medicaid and state insurance organizations. The patient is kicked out for “breaking the rules”. While this may sound understandable, when you dig deeper, many of the reasons are unwarranted. One person who came to do our program was kicked out of an earlier treatment center because the counselor got fed up and said he wasn’t determined enough. His mother told us he was dropped off at a bus station by himself with no ticket or money and she was alerted to come pick him up. To make matters worse, he was dropped off at a location which was a four-hour drive away from her home.
Both examples are equally heinous but perhaps the really damaging part is the drug rehab’s focus on turning a profit and not actually rehabilitating the patients. Therefore, these sorts of treatment facilities are referred to as mills because they will have patients come through over and over, collecting insurance and not really addressing the client’s issues.
The idea that a patient should come into rehab dedicated to the treatment of addiction and not need to be motivated and pushed along the way is misguided. If someone had cancer and was afraid to get the treatment, do you think a doctor would tell them they don’t want it bad enough? They would be given more information as to what the treatment would do for them, so they could make an educated decision.