“Medicated!” So many addiction treatment centers claim to have them — even when they are clearly “non-medical.”
Matthew Manias died at Arrowhead Detox Lake, which was reportedly “medically monitored” and offering “nearly 24-hour medical monitoring.” So did Terry Darling and James Dugas. In a paranoid delirium, Henry Richard Lehr spoke to a Newport Beach rehab that provided “emergency medical services” and broke into a nearby home, where he was shot dead by a terrified resident.
It’s easy to confuse mental health and addiction treatment centers with actual medical facilities in California. But they don’t have 24-hour doctors (nor are they allowed to). They are usually located in row houses in residential areas, and the most stringent medical requirement may be the constant presence of someone skilled in CPR.
Enter Senate Bill 1665 by Sen. Pat Bates, R-Laguna Niguel — Attempts to undermine non-medical establishments’ pretzel argument about their medical services, or to exaggerate employee testimonials or prescription drug-level promising services when no employees are licensed drugs to prescribe. It was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday, August 22.
Matthew Manias, 20, Terry Darling, 52, and James Dugas, 25, died on a state-approved detox at Lake Arrowhead.
It refines Brandon’s rule, a Bates law signed into law by Newsom last year that prohibits addiction treatment and mental health providers from giving false information or making false claims about the services they provide. or where they are located. It was a long-running victory for the Bates and Nelson family and the meaning seemed clear.
But some operators have tried to mitigate this through the use of sophistication, Bates said.
For example, the new law specifically forbids drug or alcohol programs from making false or misleading statements about medical treatment or services to be provided,
“We’re thrilled to be signed by the governor,” Bates said. But perhaps not so enthusiastic that every burden and rumble that seems clear and moral needs to be clearly articulated.
Bates’ intention has always been clear and simple: She doesn’t want those in need of addiction and mental health issues to become confused. She doesn’t want them to be misled about the kind of help they’re getting. She doesn’t want operators to exaggerate or lie to bother a customer. It can be a matter of life and death.
Brandon Nelson had suffered a debilitating nervous breakdown and was promised the best care at the now defunct Sovereign Health: he would be closely monitored by a licensed therapist and a psychiatrist, and he would be offered group and other forms of therapy. Roop will meet, his parents were told.
Brandon Nelson was a distinguished student at Santa Monica High School. (courtesy of the Nelson family)
But injured in an “unlicensed sober home psychiatric facility” run by Nelson Sovereign, he failed to receive hospital-prescribed medication on time, was left unattended and forced to hang himself from the sprinkler system. Used sweatpants. He was 26 when he died in 2018.
This reporter, who for the past five years has chronicled the tragic flaws in California’s privately paid, insurance-funded addiction treatment system, naively thought that Brandon’s law would allow non-medical facilities to provide medical supervision. will stop the demand. but unfortunately.
There are hundreds of non-medical addiction treatment and mental health facilities officially licensed by the California Department of Health to provide “emergency therapy” services. they are no May provide first aid but may take medical history, monitor patient health to determine if emergency care is needed, supervise patient, self-administer medication.
These IMS facilities typically have a contract with a physician who will review the patient’s records within 72 hours of admission.
Of course, the first few days of detox are the most dangerous. Lehr and Manias and Darling were already dead before 72 hours had passed.
Still, DHCS said these non-medical facilities aren’t breaking Brandon’s law by claiming they provide medical surveillance.
The new law would provide penalties — like license suspension — to prevent operators from overdoing things, such as claiming that the marriage of employees and the family therapist is a certified addiction counselor and so on.
State Senator Pat Bates in 2019 (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)
As always, enforcement action should begin with a complaint to DHCS (details on how to lodge a complaint here).
Of course, interpretation and enforcement are the responsibility of the DHCS people themselves. We asked whether the new law would prevent rehabilitation measures with (and without!) IMS designations.
State officials could tell us yes or no within the time limit. But Bates said that was clearly his intention. If more legislation is needed, she will do what she can — even if the term limit means her time in the Senate is up this year.
“Families should be reassured that their loved ones will be adequately cared for as they begin the road to recovery,” Bates said in a statement. “Now that SB 1165 has become law, I hope more people will feel safe enough to seek treatment and overcome their addiction.”