State Investigating Hotel Property: Unlicensed Treatment Center Capitalizes on Medicaid
Arizona’s Sober Living Crisis Unraveled: Unlicensed Treatment Center Exploiting Native Americans
In a shocking twist to Arizona’s ongoing sober living crisis, a clandestine scheme targeting Native Americans struggling with addiction has come to light. State officials are now investigating a hotel property at the heart of this troubling situation.
It appears that unlicensed providers have been shamelessly capitalizing off Medicaid benefits and taxpayers’ dollars, offering minimal or no health services to their vulnerable victims.
Unmasking the Red Flags
As the investigation deepens, the eerie truth begins to surface. A Tempe hotel property, which outwardly resembles a standard Ramada Inn on Scottsdale Road, has raised eyebrows and drawn attention from Navajo Nation Police.
Harland Cleveland, the special operations coordinator, expresses his suspicions as he shares the striking observation: “What you would normally see of a standard hotel that has vehicles parked there, there’s nothing all the way around.” The lack of typical hotel activity raises concerns.
Upon closer surveillance, Navajo Nation Police witness a peculiar sight. Native Americans continuously enter and exit the hotel property, while vehicles transporting groups of people, including children, arrive at the entrance.
Sgt. Roland Dash points out the alarming scale of occupancy, saying, “The way I see it, residential places will only house 8, 10 people. But here, 180?” The sheer number of individuals residing in the property suggests potential impropriety.
Undercover Unlicensed Operation
Further investigation reveals that an unlicensed outpatient treatment center has been operating within the hotel property under the ownership of Newfound Hope LLC. Disturbingly, medical records dating back to July 2022 indicate that 83 beds were assigned to patients, providing insight into the facility’s scope and scale.
Two former employees of Newfound Hope, Jane, and Sarah, step forward to expose the sinister practices within. Jane sheds light on the operation’s relentless pursuit of revenue, stating, “Whatever it takes to get more bodies in there.
It doesn’t matter if you have AHCCCS at the moment because they’ll get you on it.” She further reveals the presence of families, including young children, cohabiting with patients in an environment that lacks proper supervision.
The Money Trail Unraveled
Jane explains the fraudulent billing practices employed to maximize profits. Patients were shuttled between the hotel property and Newfound Hope’s wellness and detox center in Tempe. This allowed them to exploit Medicaid billing while maintaining complete control over vulnerable individuals.
The unethical practices culminated in Newfound Hope receiving up to $1,500 per day, per patient, from the state’s Medicaid system, often catering to 150-plus patients five days a week, resulting in a staggering $4.5 million monthly income.
Living Conditions and Consequences
Sarah provides a haunting account of the living conditions at the facility, comparing it to a “shelter, a homeless camp, or something like that.” With the promise of free housing and food, patients were enticed into attending classes, even when they were not sober at the time of pickup.
A Deserved Penalty
In light of the shocking revelations, Arizona’s Department of Health Services (DHS) served a cease and desist order to Newfound Hope, accompanied by a fine of $141,500. Despite this, the company continues to operate at the property while appealing the actions taken against them.
The Investigation Unfolds
The hotel property, previously operating under the Ramada franchise, faced termination of its agreement in February 2022. Nevertheless, the property still functions, leaving questions about the oversight of franchising agreements.
A Call for Transparency
As this investigation unfolds, the need for transparency and accountability becomes more evident than ever. The exploitation of vulnerable individuals and misuse of taxpayer funds demand immediate attention from the authorities.
The hope is that exposing such schemes will lead to stronger safeguards and protections for those in need of genuine support.