The mother of a 23-year-old young man who died while in a residential drug and alcohol treatment home in Las Vegas is blaming rehab behemoth American Addiction Center’s business model for her son’s death.
Kathy Deem is suing Solutions Recovery and Solutions Treatment, owned by AAC, saying the company advertised medical treatment it was neither licensed nor capable of providing, paid its intake workers a commission, accepted clients who needed care beyond the non-medical treatment provider’s ability and failed to check on her son for 14 hours, after moving him to a “non-medical residential detox house for a 24 hour observation period.”
Cody Arbuckle died at one of Solutions’ residential facilities in July of 2017 from loperamide toxicity, according to the Clark County Coroner. Loperamide is found in the anti-diarrhea drug Imodium AD. The suit says Arbuckle is the seventh client to die in an AAC residential program. Earlier this year, a California jury awarded $7 million to the family of a patient who killed himself at an AAC facility in Temecula.
A spokeswoman for AAC says the company doesn’t comment on patient issues.
The suit alleges that AAC was “motivated by greed and their own financial self-interests,” and “advertised and promoted that AAC Defendants provided medical services for which they were not licensed or qualified to provide.”
The suit says “The call center was staffed by intake coordinators who generally had/have no medical training, background, and/or experience, who were trained and required to make representations to prospective clients regarding AAC Defendants’ services, facilities and programs that were/are untruthful and/or misleading.”
Intake coordinators were directed, according to the suit, to “tell callers what they wanted to hear about the AAC Defendants’ services, facilities, and programs, whether true or not. They were instructed to tell callers who mentioned any type of medical and/or mental health issue that the AAC Defendants could handle such conditions and the individual would be properly cared for.”
“Call center employees were considered sales people whose job was to sell AAC Defendants’ services. They were paid on a wage-plus-commission basis and were required to meet quotas for enrolling clients and filling beds,” the suit alleges. “AAC Defendants operated a high-pressure ‘boiler room’ call center in which employees were paid large commissions to bring people in at all costs so long as they had the means to pay.”
A congressional committee is looking into the operations of addiction call centers, including AAC’s.
The suit says clients who wished to leave the facility were told “if they chose to go, they had to leave without their phones, identification, money or medications. This was part of a policy and practice to ensure that once clients arrived, they did not leave until their contractual time period was over. If clients left early, AAC Defendants would lose money.”