By August 28, 2017 Read More →

Pros advise researching drug rehab facilities

By TAYLOR STUCK

The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — West Virginia has not been shy in admitting it has a problem with addiction, and while that brings federal grant money and support, it could also attract predatory companies looking to capitalize off the opioid epidemic.

“Sometimes when there is a business that doesn’t have a lot of integrity, they engage in deceptive marketing,” said Kim Miller, director of development at Prestera Center. “They have a very slick website. How you know is they say things like ‘We have an 80 percent cure rate’ or ‘We can cure addiction.’ There is no cure for addiction, and no model has 80 percent success, or we would all be doing that.”

Local addiction treatment and recovery centers like Prestera and Recovery Point of West Virginia are nonprofits, thus subject to higher scrutiny than for-profit. Prestera is subject to random check-ins from their licensing board, and Recovery Point must have an independent annual audit.

The two facilities also make no money off of insurance. Miller said Prestera rarely bills private insurance and mostly deals with clients who have no insurance or Medicaid, which rarely totally reimburses the organization.

Recovery Point doesn’t bill any insurance, said executive director Matt Boggs, instead relying on state funds and private philanthropic donations to cover operating costs. A stay at Recovery Point comes at no cost to the client.

“I’m a firm believer that when you are in this line of work, if you put profit over people, it’s not a good mix,” Boggs said. “You have to put people before the profit because we are dealing with people in the most vulnerable time in their lives. Taking advantage of someone during that vulnerable state is despicable.”

Both Boggs and Miller said if you are looking for addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, the burden of research has to be on you.

Boggs said treatment does not have to be expensive to be effective.

“Look for transparency,” he said. “Ask about costs, and discuss that with your insurance. You as a customer of the insurance company have the right to know what is being billed to insurance, how much you will be responsible for and why the treatment provider is billing certain things. Unfortunately, insurance can be such a confusing thing to so many people, so it’s important to reach out and ask for help so you understand and you won’t be stuck with an astronomical bill for your stay.”

Miller said to look for accreditation and licensing, which should be prominently displayed. If it’s not, be wary. She said regulation and enforcement should be something the state looks into to help protect West Virginians.

“Unfortunately what happens is, in that dire state people are in with substance abuse, they have to go to the first place they are accepted and don’t have time to make informed decision,” Boggs said.

Boggs said that is why it’s so important for centers like Recovery Point and Prestera to work together to ensure every treatment facility that comes into the state will provide a high level of care and will be transparent.

Help 4 West Virginia, the state’s 24-hour hotline and website, only suggests treatment facilities approved by the state. If you or a loved one are in need of help for substance abuse, call 1-844-HELP4WV or visit www.help4wv.com.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

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