Risky Rehab: Who is There to Help?

Risky Rehab: Who is There to Help?


With names like the Betty Ford Center in the valley, some say the Coachella Valley is a mecca for addiction treatment.
Since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, more people are going to rehab which means a growing number of treatment facilities.

So how can you tell who is there to help, or just there to cash in on an insurance boom?

Addiction is life or death, and many people find themselves trapped in the disease.

"How I was feeling then was just hating life every day, I’d wake up and just another day. I didn’t like myself, who I was becoming," said Palm Springs resident, Isaiah Merkle.
So Isaiah went to a treatment facility in Laguna Beach, and then Palm Springs.

"At the time you know I would complain a lot about things, but looking back they were doing what they needed to do," said Merkle.

Isaiah followed up with after-care and a sober living house.
"It’s pretty easy to find them nowadays, because they’re everywhere, every street has one," said Merkle.

"More people have insurance than any other time in history so everybody is trying to cash in on that, a lot of venture capitalists, they’re looking at treatment centers," said ABC Recovery Center CEO, Chris Yingling.

ABC Recovery Center in Indio is the oldest treatment facility in the Coachella Valley.
A non-profit founded in 1963 in one house, they now offer many levels of care on a seven-acre campus.

"We try to treat people from a holistic perspective, the mind, body and spirit….ABC Recovery Center has helped thousands, including myself to recover from the disease of alcoholism and addiction," said Yingling.

Rehab is becoming big business with companies created just to advertise treatment facilities.
ABC’s CEO says he gets a lot of calls from marketers.
"Constantly, I mean I probably get ten e-mails a week, and sometimes I will answer the phone at the wrong time and it will be somebody trying to sell us some marketing," said Yingling.

So how do you tell what treatment centers offer the best help?
Isaiah says word of mouth is helpful when making a decision.
"I mean these ones that are like resorts, I don’t want to knock them or anything, but I think I’d have a hard time taking it seriously if I was being pampered. Something that’s structured, tells you what to do."

Yingling says, "It’s really important to look at the level of staff, the credentials of staff, and also to consider the person coming in, what their needs are."

Riverside County’s Department of Mental Health says there are state-mandated standards for in-patient providers.

"For residential providers specifically, they all have to be licensed. If they have a 24 hour hour care facility, licensed through DHCS," said Rhyan Miller. 

Rhyan Miller with the Substance Use Administration of the Riverside University Health System, says the number of treatment facilities is expanding quickly.
"From 2012, there’s actually 20 new providers that opened, residential facilities in the county, and of those 20 providers, they actually opened 35 different clinics," said Miller.

However, he says the number of people getting help is also dramatically increasing.
"We’re looking at about a 30% increase in clients coming in to receive treatment," said Miller.

The county contracts with many rehabs across the area.
Miller says state and federal governments are making it possible to provide more care, and with more oversight.

"They are giving us the ability and the guidance to give our consumers the same high quality treatment that you’d normally would have to pay cash or high-dollar insurance for," said Miller.

Yingling said, "With some of the changes, and reforms in insurance, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people were able to stay alive in this very competitive environment."

Even with all the competition in the booming business of rehab, it boils down to something very important.
"It really is life or death…it’s definitely something that we need to look at as a society, and I think we are. I think we’re moving in the right direction, we’re not there yet, but I sure hope we get there," said Yingling.

Isaiah says recovery can help you get your life back, "I got my life back, and my family sees that. You know, it’s about family, it’s about friends. It’s about living to live and not living for a drink or drug, whatever your vice is. So I would just say do it for yourself."

If you are looking for help or searching for a treatment center for a loved one, Riverside County has a hotline: 1-800-499-3008.