Drug Overdoses and Insurance Fraud Within the Florida Drug Treatment Industry
Drug overdoses, deaths, and insurance fraud are rampant within the Florida model of drug treatment facilities.
The Florida Model of Drug Rehab
When this model first came about, it was done with the best of intentions. The goal was to help patients function within a community, without relying on drugs to do so. In many, this involves sober living homes that offer a safe living environment. Prior to this, patients attend an inpatient drug detox center, and then go on to inpatient rehab. Once that is completed, they attend outpatient treatment and reside in the sober living home. During their time in the sober living home, patients are expected to pay rent, and sometimes cover other expenses. This helps to instill a sense of responsibility for them. They must follow strict community rules and guidelines and attend treatment faithfully. All of this is set in the sunny state of Florida, amongst palm trees and the beauty of ocean. These luxury facilities have helped many people overcome their addictions. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who chose to take advantage of this system for their own personal gain.
Deceit, Deception and Fraud Within Florida’s Drug Rehab Industry: Kenneth Chatman
Online, many Florida drug treatment centers look like paradise. They’re set in some of the most beautiful parts of the Sunshine State. They make grand promises of drug addiction recovery to individuals and families who desire nothing more. Behind some of them lies a terrible truth that has taken far too many lives. According to a recent article from NBC News, one individual chose to profit from addicts using the Florida model. Unfortunately, his actions wouldn’t be discovered for quite some time. During his reign as one of Florida’s addiction recovery heroes, several people lost their lives to drug overdoses. However, the overdoses were only a piece of what this man has facilitated for his victims. His name is Kenneth Chatman. He looked at the Florida model of drug treatment as a way to make some money. He was quite successful.
The New, Illegal Model of Drug Treatment
Some call it “hustling humans.” Others call it, “trafficking patients” or “funneling bodies.” No matter how you look at it, there is nothing legal about Chatman’s new model of drug treatment. In his model, the sober homes offered drug addicts discounted rent payments. Some even offered free rent and cash. These were always in exchange for agreeing to attend a certain drug treatment center. To make matters worse, patients were frequently shuffled between homes. Families rarely knew where their loved ones were staying. This shuffling allowed the charade to continue, and Chatman was able to cash in time and time again. His method was to ensure that the addicts within his care would always have a need for drug rehab. In doing so, he worked to ensure that he would be able to make as much money from them as possible.
Encouraging Substance Abuse During Drug Rehab Programs in Florida
One of the ways that Chatman accomplished this task was to encourage substance abuse. Patients would live in one of his sober living homes, and attend his drug rehab centers. When they returned to the home, they were allowed – and even encouraged – to use drugs. Patients were being paid to live in these sober living homes. They were being paid to get high and get drug treatment. At first glance, this doesn’t make sense. Many times, patients would contact their loved ones, begging to come home. They would tell stories of what was being done, but those stories were debunked quickly. The owner and even other staff members would ensure families that what they were hearing were words from desperate addicts. Of course, the families had heard lies many times, in most cases. They erred on the side of the owner and staff members and encouraged their loved ones to stay. Unfortunately, encouraging continued drug use was only a piece of the puzzle. It was a scheme that served a much bigger purpose for Chatman.
The Prostitution of Female Drug Addicts in Florida Drug Treatment Centers
Many of the female drug addicts attending his Florida drug treatment programs were used in prostitution. It’s much easier to take advantage of women who are under the influence of drugs. Chatman did that very well. One woman even claimed that he ran one of his homes as a staging home for female prostitution. To accomplish this, the women were kept in an almost constant state of impairment. Chatman would even place ads for them on a Florida escort website. In the meantime, he was busily at work keeping up his image for the community. He would frequently donate large sums of money at charity events. These all went to support children and unwed mothers. At one point, a woman came forward to report of Chatman’s behaviors behind the scenes. She was a former patient of his who had been prostituted. Of course, he denied having ever done anything of the sort. He stood on his untarnished public image, and his business continued to grow, and even thrive.
Health Insurance Fraud Runs Rampant for Many Florida Substance Abuse Treatment Clinics
As Chatman was supplying his patients with drugs, he was raking in the cash from their insurance companies. In many cases, he paid people all across the country to bring him patients with excellent health insurance. The Affordable Care Act is a healthcare law that was designed to ensure patients had access to addiction treatment. Insurance companies are required to cover drug rehab. They are also not allowed to reject patients with pre-existing conditions. The healthcare law sounds good, but without proper oversight, many believe it’s full of holes. Chatman seemed to know how to jump through them without much consequence for years. Patients who are able to use drugs on demand provided him with everything he needed to make money. Families received countless insurance statements that listed:
- Thousands of dollars in urine drug screening tests
- Bills for countless meetings with counselors that never took place
- Tens of thousands of dollars for various types of addiction treatment
- Thousands of dollars for genetic testing and DNA tests
- Allergy tests that ran into the thousands for cost
Senseless Drug Overdoses as a Part of One Man’s Florida Model of Treatment
For many of these patients, drug overdoses are the end of the road. Some were left on the lawns of sober living homes. Others were left in hotel or motel rooms to be found by police officers. The families are left to pick up the pieces after the demise of their loved ones. Fortunately, Chatman was eventually arrested. His arrest only provided some comfort to the families who will never see their loved ones again.
Better Options for Drug Rehab are Available
It is so important to bring to light these drug treatment centers and their terrible practices. It seems almost kind to call what Chatman did abuse. It was horrific on every level. The good news is that his drug rehab center and sober living homes are the exception. There are so many drug treatment programs that truly want to help patients be successful. In fact, a number of them spend years researching to find the best ways to assist patients with long-term recovery.
How to Choose the Best Drug Treatment Centers for Addiction Recovery
Even so, there are still “bad guys” out there. It’s important to know how to differentiate between the good drug rehab centers and the bad ones. A few things you can look for when you’re choosing include finding drug rehab programs that:
- Are fully accredited to ensure excellent care
- Have a higher than average success rate among their patients
- Offer patients a holistic model of drug treatment to lessen the chance of secondary addictions
- Have staff members with a lot of experience in the addiction treatment field
- Personalize their methods of treatment for each, individual patient
It is possible to find a drug treatment center that offers all of the above. In fact, you’ll find this and much more right here at Northpoint Recovery.
Northpoint Recovery Offers True Hope for Recovery for Drug Addicts
Stories about illegal drug rehab activities are scary, and they’re enough to give anyone pause about drug treatment. In this particular case, Chatman’s activities over the last several years have been exposed. Unfortunately, many lives were lost in the process, but many have also been saved. If you’re considering going to drug treatment, it’s important to know what to look for. At Northpoint Recovery, we have a stellar reputation of offering only the best in addiction treatment. We stand behind our commitment to each and every one of our patients. At our facility, you’ll find that you receive personalized treatment for your addiction. You’ll also see a long-term, positive outcome that results from placing yourself in the hands of experienced, dedicated professionals. If you have a drug addiction, getting professional help is critical. The right drug treatment facility is essential for your recovery. What are your thoughts about the news regarding this Florida model of treatment? Please contact us today to learn about how we can assist you with the best drug rehab services. Sources:
- com. (25, June 2017). Florida’s Billion-Dollar Drug Treatment Industry is Plagued by Overdoses, Fraud. Retrieved from: https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/megyn-kelly/florida-s-billion-dollar-drug-treatment-industry-plagued-overdoses-fraud-n773376
- Wikipedia.org. (25, June 2017). Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act
- com. (21, March 2016). How to Choose the Right Addiction Treatment Center. Retrieved from: https://www.everydayhealth.com/addiction/choosing-right-addiction-treatment-center.aspx