Florida Sober Homes Put Under The Microscope
For a while, we’ve been reporting about the high number of fraudulent sober homes cheating clients in Florida. Well now noted politicians are entering the equation, demanding federal investigations and intense crackdowns on the “crooked” recovery practices that are operating throughout the state.
Republican senator Marco Rubio has become one of the loudest proponents of this measure, taking his complaints to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In a letter presented on Tuesday, Rubio asked Sessions “to the fullest extent possible – investigate claims of kickbacks and false statements associated with federal health plans and to ensure that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for the devastation that they have caused.”
Truth be told, there are some horrendous accusations coming out of the state. Everything from illegal patient brokering, to actual drug suppliers making visits to the facilities. Often times, insurance is at the center of these scams. The longer a patient is in a clinic, the more the shady operators can collect.
NBC News did a recent profile of some of the unethical practices happening in cities like Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale. Per their website,
A recent NBC News investigation interviewed the mothers of several women who died from opioid overdoses after they thought they were receiving treatment at a Florida facility. The mothers recounted the victims being shuffled, during a brief period of time, between multiple treatment centers, excessive laboratory tests, and questionable treatments that resulted in insurance companies being billed upwards of $1.2 million. Unfortunately, these women did not get the help that they needed and ultimately passed away after being ‘treated’ at a fraudulent sober homes.
So it actually isn’t surprising to see a high-profile figure like Rubio raise the red flag in his home state. Some of his other points included getting inspectors general at The Labor Department and the Department of Health and Human Services to look into illegal kickbacks. He specifically called out Labor Dept IG Scott Dahl, asking that he notify welfare and pension benefit plans that the treatment centers they cover be verified. And to HHS IG Daniel Levinson, Rubio asked to develop recommendations “to identify and suspend all payments to disreputable treatment centers or sober homes.”
Now, of course, there are plenty of reputable sober homes throughout the state as well. But requiring proper credentials and verification is essential in shutting down crooked practices. Treatment centers should be held to an incredibly high standard and we urge anyone in our state to do their own due diligence before choosing a facility for them or a loved one.