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The 20 Must Ask Questions



Choosing a rehab, or treatment center, for yourself or a loved one can lead you down a rabbit hole. If you connect online with an unscrupulous phone center, or rehab, the odds of you being “sold” to the highest bidder as a piece of commerce is high. If you are “sold” on the phone and send your loved to a rehab that lacks clinical care or has nobody else similar to your loved one present – will they connect?

Make sure to ASK THESE QUESTIONS to learn more about:

A) Who you’re talking to, and 

B) How they operate

And before admitting your loved one to a program, all financial questions and any other “promises” made must be put to you in writing, in an email or fax. 

1) Q: How many years have you been in business, and who is the founder? Current owner? If not owned/operated by original founder, when did he or she exit?

2) Q: What is your staff to patient ratio? 

3) Q: What is your daily rate for month one? Month two? Month three?

4A) Q: Many small treatment centers operate an on-site detox, which is allowed by law but higher risk, to increase revenue. For alcohol, benzodiazepine and “G” detox, please seek a hospital based detox. So ask: Do you detox on-site or off-site? 

4B) Q: What is your detox protocol for ___________ (my loved one’s drug of choice)?

5) Q: How many patients does each primary therapist have on their caseload? 

6) Q: Many treatment centers will cut costs by bringing in clinical interns to be their “counselors.” While appropriate for a very low or no-cost program, a clinical team builds their own clinical chops by practicing over years. Interns are required to “donate” normally thousands of hours in a rehab to get licensed. So ask…what role do interns play in the deliver of clinical services to patients at your program?

7) Q: Are you an actual treatment center, with a building and staff, or are you a call center fronting for a lead generation company?

8) Q: Many treatment centers use low or no cost interns or counselors to deliver the bulk of clinical care, then use real, experienced, licensed therapists to lead groups occasionally and offer minimal ’supervision’ to the interns. So ask: In regards to your clinical team, what percentage of them are full-time, and per-diem? 

9) Q: What is your smoking policy?

10) Q: Treatment centers that allow free or easy use of digital devices often have a low level of clinical care and a basic program. So ask: What is your cellphone, iPad and laptop policy?

11) Q: What crimes, if any, in the United States and abroad, have you founder and/or partners been accused and/or convicted of?

12) Q: Given the tsunami of rehab fraud around urine testing, and fraudulent lab billing, what is your UA policy, and what do you require the family to pay?

13) Q: What is your refund policy if/when my loved one leaves treatment against clinical or medical advise? This is known as an “ACA” or “AMA” exit, and unscrupulous providers will often keep pre-paid fees due to the patient “storming off” or being “bad.” Addicted humans sometimes leave treatment. A thoughtful refund policy is a necessity. This should be spelled out clearly in their Financial Agreement, but if not, get the refund policy in writing.

14) Q: What is your policy on a patient who relapses? What do you do with him or her?

15) Q: How many current lawsuits are pending against your center? 

16) Q: What is your vaping policy?

17) Q: What nicotine cessation program do you offer at your rehab?

18) Q: What is the male/female ratio of your community presently?

19) Q: What is the average age range of your community presently?

20) Q: Describe current community member’s “drug of choice” at this time? Will my loved one fit into this community, if she is the only 50 year old alcoholic?