The funds collected from residents are in addition to the sums that RRCs bill the DOJ under their contracts, and the DOJ has acknowledged it has no ability to track how much money halfway houses are collecting from residents. But perhaps the most significant improvement for federal halfway houses, not mentioned in the DOJ memo, would be to withhold funding from RRCs that fail to provide the services they are contracted to provide, including preparing prisoners for reentry into society and reducing recidivism rates.
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Sober Living Homes - Sober House / Halfway Home
Timmy calls Blue Cross to find a rehab facility after his new insurance card arrives in the mail. His mother, who lives in Boston, is paying the premium. After making several calls and leaving messages, the insurance provider finally tells Timmy to check himself into the emergency room at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach to wait for a bed on their detox floor.
Five hours later he gets in. Timmy is giving sobriety yet another try on St.
Patrick's Day, which also happens to be his mom Patty's birthday. He approaches Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach. His family back in Boston takes comfort knowing that if he is found dead on the street someday they will be able to identify him because his last name is tattooed on his calf.
Exhausted and coming down off crystal meth, Timmy waits for a bed at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach which has a detox unit.
This is his 40th treatment center, by his count, in the last decade. There he picks up a bottle containing 75 oxycodones, otherwise known as synthetic heroin.
It's a Sunday but Timmy says his doctor was on call and prescribed it over the phone. Bottle in hand, Timmy walks back to his sober living home, goes into the bathroom, crushes up six of the pills, mixes them with water and shoots them into his vein. Timmy Solomon lights a glass pipe of crystal meth in the bathroom of his sober living home in San Clemente. He closes the window and turns the shower to steaming hot to disguise the smell. He said he got the meth a few days earlier from another addict at their outpatient treatment center in San Juan Capistrano. Less than an hour later his housemates call the house manager to report him being high.
A few hours later he's kicked out and sent to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach where he spends the night. Timmy manages more than a month of sobriety after detoxing at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach. He is in a San Clemente sober living home where he smoked crystal meth and shot oxycodone, prescribed by a doctor, in the bathroom.
He continuously checks under his bedroom door for eavesdroppers but no one is there. He will be kicked out of this home by nighttime. After 35 days of sobriety Timmy binges on crystal meth and oxycodone. Emerging from a bathroom at a San Clemente Starbucks he creates a scene as he staggers throughout town acting erratically and scaring passersby. He sweats profusely and ducks into a tiny restaurant pleading for water. Soon three sheriff's cars and a fire truck are dispatched.
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He is searched and taken to jail and later sent back to his sober living home where he is kicked out for using. He is taken to the emergency room at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach and his attempt at sobriety starts yet again. After more than a month of sobriety Timmy binges on crystal meth and oxycodone. Emerging from a bathroom at a San Clemente Starbucks, he creates a scene.
Soon, three sheriff's cars and a fire truck pull up. He is sent to the emergency room at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach and his attempt at sobriety starts yet again. Timmy cradles his cellphone showing a picture of his curly-haired toddler. The torture of losing his daughter is one of the things he talks about most when he gets stoned.
Timmy Solomon, now 28, as a little boy in Boston. A curly-haired smiling boy growing up in Boston, Timmy Solomon is now 28 and struggling with addiction. He started using drugs when he was Timmy, sixth from left, is from a family of eight boys, most of whom still live in Boston where they grew up. A sign on the mirror in Timmy's current sober living home in in Laguna Hills reminds him that he needs to take responsibility for drug use -- his thinking is the problem, not the drugs, he explains.
Detoxed and several weeks sober, Timmy says he is happy, hopeful and trying to take his life one day at a time. As they push their grocery carts and clutch their coffees, the shoppers scurrying through the Ocean View Plaza parking lot pay little attention to Timmy Solomon. His hair is dirty and matted. His voice is raspy.
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As a kid, Solomon was taught not to steal or use drugs. As broke as he is, Solomon is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Chronic drug users like Solomon are commodities, exploited by a growing world of drug and alcohol rehab operators who put profit ahead of patient care.
Everything from the opioid epidemic and Obamacare to prison realignment and legal loopholes has created conditions in which unethical operators can flourish, using addicts to bilk insurance companies and the public out of hundreds of millions of dollars. Though many legitimate centers remain, critics and long-time insiders say a darker version of the industry is emerging, built around an illicit world of patient recruiters, fraud-driven clinics and drug-testing mills.
Southern California, where the implementation of Obamacare makes it easy for recent arrivals to sign on for insurance, is on the front line of the conflict. Malibu has 47 licensed rehab centers and a population of fewer than 13, people, making it the city with the highest per-capita concentration of rehab centers in California, according to state data. Victims of this broken system run far beyond addicts such as Solomon, who churn through the system year after year without kicking their habit.
Homeless camps throughout Southern California are peppered with drug addicts from around the country who have been wooed by local rehabs only to wind up on the streets. Police and emergency workers are diverted from other duties to deal with rehab-related complaints. Health services, including hospital emergency rooms, are strained by the volume of rehab patients.
Entire neighborhoods are disrupted. Critics see the lack of oversight for the rehab industry — and the consequences it is having on addicts, communities and taxpayers — as a catastrophe playing out in the open. Former insurance investigator Herzog said the industry is only starting to become aware of the scope of the problem.
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The scheme at the center of rehab fraud is not new, but two recent developments are making it much worse. First, the number of people who might need a stint in rehab — drug-dependent men and women like Solomon — is exploding. About 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and at least 1 million more are addicted to heroin and other illegal drugs. And many states, like California, increasingly are diverting drug addicts to treatment programs rather than sending them to prison.
Second, under the rules of Obamacare, insurance companies are required to pay for addiction recovery. And through Covered California, insurance can be purchased the day you arrive from out of state. Once the addict is insured and in a center often a house he or she usually stays for three months or so.
During that time, unethical operators run up daily medical bills, covering everything from detox monitoring to psychological counseling, while providing little in the way of effective recovery services.