UPDATED: 15 questions addicts should ask to find a safe halfway house

These 15 questions will help you avoid being the victim of insurance fraud and patient brokering in a halfway house.

Picking a sober home: What to ask

More than two dozen sober home operators have been arrested since October 2016 and charged with accepting and paying kickbacks to enroll insured addicts living in sober homes to specific treatment centers. Asking these 15 questions will help you determine if a sober home is doing business legally and offers the best accommodations for recovery. 

1. Are you certified by the Florida Association of Recovery Residences? FARR certifies sober homes that meet 38 standards for recovery, housing, administration, training, finance and good-neighbor practices. Certified homes can be found at farronline.org.

2. Is the residence coed? Experts agree that newly recovered addicts, especially women, are vulnerable. Dating and relationships in early sobriety can take the focus off recovery.

3.What will happen if I relapse? FARR recommends that sober homes devise individual relapse protocols that include contacts and alternative housing arrangements.

4. Have there been any overdoses or deaths? Is staff trained in CPR?

5. How often do you drug test? Are tests random? What kind of tests? How much do they cost?

Here’s how the fraud works

6. Do you bill insurance? Sober homes are not licensed to offer medical care and cannot bill insurance for services, including rent.

7. How much is rent? How is it paid? What is included in rent? What is the refund policy? Are there rules about pocket change and money transfers? Experts warn insured residents to be leery of free rent, gift cards, cellphones, gym memberships and other inducements if linked to attendance at an intensive outpatient program (IOP) or the provision of urine samples.

8. Do you have an ownership interest or receive referral fees from an intensive outpatient program (IOP) or lab? Such kickbacks, often disguised as “case management fees” are illegal under Florida’s patient brokering law. 

9. Have there been any complaints filed against the sober home or its employees, including code violations?

10. How much training, education and clean time do you require of employees, including house managers?

11. Are properties and vehicles that transport clients insured? Are clients allowed to drive vehicles?

12. Are there 12-step meetings on property? Do you provide transportation to meetings? The grocery store? Is there public transportation within walking distance?

13. What are your policies regarding guests and furloughs?

14. What is your cellphone policy?

15. What is the maximum occupancy? How many to a room? How many bathrooms?

Read more of the Post’s coverage of corruption in the drug treatment industry.

Rage-fueled CPA turned sleepy condo complex into sober complex

ken_bailynson_cigarette_02

A year after an FBI raid, Ken Bailynson – a CPA known for explosive outbursts of rage – is continuing his efforts to take over Green Terrace, a shabby condo complex where Bailynson once housed more than 125 recovering addicts in the more than 30 units he owned and called Good Decisions Sober Living.

Bailynson has not been charged with a crime. A multi-agency task force headed by the FBI raided Good Decisions on Sept. 11, 2014 – confiscating files, computers and boxes of evidence from a unit Bailynson converted into an office and the complex’s clubhouse near the pool.

Since early 2014 the task force has been investigating allegations of insurance fraud, patient brokering and kickbacks in the county’s $1 billion substance abuse treatment industry.

Why Bailynson wants to take over Green Terrace, an 84-unit complex in West Palm Beach that was built in the 1970s, isn’t known. When asked about his plans on two occasions, Bailynson launched into profanity-laden verbal attacks on a reporter.

Residents recalled Bailynson was quiet when he began acquiring units in 2011. However, after he created Good Decisions and began moving recovering addicts into the community, he became loud and verbally aggressive. Some residents, worried that Bailynson’s outbursts would turn physically violent, began recording the outbursts on their cellphones.

Several of the remaining unit owners at Green Terrace are now suing Bailynson and the condo association, claiming money was misappropriated and that Bailynson stacked the board of directors with friends to whom he gave condos. The board also took out a $1.5 million loan from a company created by Bailynson. The loan carries a 24 percent interest rate and is secured by units owned by the association.

In September, Bailynson filed to foreclose on 10 units after the association failed to make it’s $30,000 monthly mortgage payment.

The Post published three stories on Sunday Oct. 25, 2015. Read them here:

http://projects.mypalmbeachpost.com/green-terrace/

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/profane-video-shows-sober-home-owner-ripping-into-/nn8LC/

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/residents-fight-big-loan-thousands-in-monthly-fees/nn8LP/