• Report: #885202

Complaint Review: Seasons Recovery Center Malibu | Ripoff Report Verified™ …businesses you can trust. Seasons Malibu – Serenity Malibu -Seasons in Malibu rehab with more one-on-one treatment, holistic therapy than any other facility in the world. Unique, multi-faceted program focuses on the Whole Person – Body, Mind & Spirit.

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  • Submitted: Sat, May 19, 2012
  • Updated: Thu, June 19, 2014

  • Reported By: dwl — Newbury Park California United States of America
Seasons Recovery Center in Malibu
30245 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, California United States of America

Seasons Recovery Centers, Seasons in Malibu REVIEW: commitment to total customer satisfaction. Seasons Malibu past and current approach to business is focused on providing the highest quality alcoholism and addiction treatment services to their clients from around the world. High-end executive program for the busy professional, Three dimensional behavior treatment, Innovative & comprehensive family systemic program, A year’s worth of immersion therapy in one month, Tailor made program, Holistic Rehab, &Extensive and customized aftercare and outpatient program.
*UPDATE: Seasons in Malibu pledges their commitment to Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy, Business Remediation and Customer Satisfaction Program. A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business. Seasons Malibu is recognized by Ripoff Report Verified™ as a safe business service.

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Ripoff Report Verified™ REVIEW:

EDitor’s UPDATE: Positive rating and recognition has been given to Seasons Recovery Centers, Seasons in Malibu and Seasons Malibu for their commitment to excellence in customer service.

Ripoff Report’s discussions with Seasons Recovery Centers have uncovered an ongoing commitment by the company to total client satisfaction. This means that clients can expect that the company will work towards finding a mutually satisfactory resolution to any complaints or concerns. Seasons listens carefully to client concerns and sees them as an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and become more efficient as a company in the services offered and the support for those services.

Seasons Recovery Centers CEO, Mr. Don Varden stated that, “we believe addiction is a treatable condition arising from social, behavioral, hereditary, physical or spiritual causes. [continued below]....
..... When we find that root-cause we can end the cycle of addiction. As a successful businessman, Mr. Varden feels it is critical to listen to his clients and respond properly. By always putting his clients first, Mr. Varden hopes to maintain Seasons Recovery Center as a successful treatment center both now and for many years to come.

Another top executive of the company told us that Mr. Varden's personal business philosophy is based on the premise that "our clients' success is our future”. Season's mission statement says it all: "Our goal is to provide our clients with world-class addiction treatment, with the client's best interests always first and foremost, and to provide it with integrity unmatched in the addiction industry." Some of the other things Ripoff Report learned in the course of its review: typical customer feedback reads: “Seasons Recovery Centers and Don Varden and his team, truly communicate and understand all aspects of addiction and recovery services, and strive to create an environment of healing and trust for their many clients in a very effective manner. We are very pleased with the responsiveness that he and his employees show us. They are serious about meeting commitments, and deliver on all their promises."
Seasons Recoverty Center is Ripoff Report Verified
Ripoff Report Verified™ .. part of Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program.A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business..

The information provided below in this report is based on comments made by marketing director Don Varden and Sheila Shilati during an on-site inspection held by a third party verification company with no biases toward Seasons Recovery Center.

Seasons Recovery Center is very involved in assessing the type of care that is needed for each of their clients. One of their team doctors Sheila Shilati, personally handles an assortment of tasks to ensure that a patients needs are met. After an initial phone call with a potential patient, she assesses the severity of their symptoms and determines whether or not they are a fit for the level of care they offer. She manages all treatment protocols that go on from admission to discharge, including comprehensive assessments, ongoing treatment plans, and correspondence with family members. She ensures that if there is any issue that arises with any family member, client or otherwise that it is addressed right away.

Their entire treatment team is involved in setting up the client for a successful aftercare program. Not only do they provide a variety of after care programs at their facility, in terms of step-down treatment, but they also ensure that the client is willing and motivated to continue to stay connected with the treatment team. They set their clients up for success, which is over 50% if they stay in the program for at least 90 days.

During the onsite interview CEO Don Varden was asked to describe what he has personally done to provide a better level of customer service to clients: “Most of the so called complaints are residual from past management that we removed a couple of years ago. It was poor management and left a lot to be desired in a lot of ways.”

COO Dr. Sheila Shilati was asked the same question: “It’s hard to deal with a subjective point of view to the extent that you’re dealing with a lot of tired, frustrated, and sick family members. In addition, their frustrations often get projected on the treatment. If they feel the issue for their child, wife, husband, etc. wasn’t resolved in a certain way, then we are typically a pretty easy target to vent frustrations and, frankly, usually very inaccurate allegations as to the facts. To suggest that we needed to do anything since any report would suggest that we aren’t operating at the highest level of care, which we are, as we’ve been commended multiple times on how we operate our business and manage our treatment teams.”

When a complaint is made, they are very open to any concerns someone might have about how they are performing. They take it very seriously and would prefer to deal with the issue in a productive way.

Being a licensed facility by the state of California, they are required to post notices in their common area that allows clients with a problem to make a complaint to state regulators. Then that information must be posted on their wall.

In order to resolve client complaints, Dr. Shilati practices various protocols depending on the nature of the issue. She is personally involved in assessing any complaints and mitigates those concerns through a variety of means. Her goal is to always have a resolve that feels good to the client and the client’s family, and to execute an outcome that is in the best interest of the client. In order to do this, they maintain an open door policy, particularly as it relates to executive management, to make sure they are addressing any emails or phone calls as soon as possible.

Seasons Recovery Center’s process for working with clients varies on what type of needs a client may require. They look at each situation from a variety of dimensions: emotionally, behaviorally, family systems oriented etc. How they perform their protocols with clients and how they perform their services is based on specific needs. Their treatment program is individualized to assess performance function and to give aftercare and an outcome that is evidence based and promotes the greatest ability to have long term success.

Dr. Shilati was asked to describe how they ensure that a client understands services during the course of their treatment, she explained, “Based on a client’s functioning when they come in-because we do deal with a lot of detox-and depending on how quickly their cognitive responses appear to be able to provide interaction on certain levels. We immediately address all of the pieces as it relates to the program as a whole. Then, they are assigned a case manager where they are given access to them 24/7. Any time there is an issue, or if they have questions or concerns, they have someone they can immediately go to. We have ongoing assessments, we keep daily logs, we have daily treatment notes and we know the whereabouts of the client at all times. We also keep track of how they are performing from their baseline functioning upon entering. It’s really a system of checks and balances between the treatment team, practitioners, and the case managers.”

Their pretreatment process begins with assessing a client’s appropriateness for the level of care they offer. Either through a phone call or site visit, a potential client is given a tour of their facility and are informed about a potential treatment plan and provided services.

Based on complaints made on Ripoff Report, Mr. Varden was asked to describe their reimbursement/refund policy: “When people come into a facility like ours, and this isn’t just us it’s most of our competitors as well, they pre-pay for their treatment. A) Because they receive good treatment, and because you are dealing with addicted people, if they don’t pay up front there’s a tendency to walk out and not get the full benefits of the treatment-B) Because we are limited to 8-10 beds, we set aside staff and allocate resources for a client. There is in general a sort of non-refundable piece of this. This is not to say we haven’t done refunds in some cases, but we start from there as do most of the treatment centers that I know of at this level.”

They maintain that they have always refunded if there is a refund due and have always compensated, and in some cases, even credited if a client left early. They make certain accommodations or give credit toward future stays.

In order to ensure all clients concerns are addressed before leaving, their treatment teams perform exit interviews with the clients. These interviews were started within the last year as a way to ensure that clients were meeting the goals that were set for them, as well as informing them of their treatment expectations.

It means a lot to Seasons Recovery Center to be a part of Ripoff Reports Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation and Customer Satisfaction Program because they want the public to get a balanced view of their business. They want people to be able to make an informed and intelligent decision about where they may go for treatment, or where they may send a family member or friend. They think that information is invaluable.

SEASONS RECOVERY CENTERS, SEASONS IN MALIBU, SEASONS MALIBU / Statements from the Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Sheila Shilati.

"I am so proud to be a part of such a wonderful and renowned treatment facility. Each day brings a new set of challenges, and each day the Seasons team, which includes Client Advocates, Case Managers, Clinicians, Doctors, Chefs, groundskeepers and, of course, the Executive Team led by CEO, Don Varden, rise and face those challenges head-on, with humility and integrity, and, more often than not, find the right solution, and the proper result, in a way I believe is over and above any other like facility in the world.

STATED IMPROVEMENTS FROM YOUR COMPANY NAME.

Seasons Recovery Centers recognizes that complaints posted on Ripoff Report (whether true or not) are issues that need to be addressed, not ignored. If handled correctly, complaints can be valuable learning opportunities. With the feedback generated by Ripoff Report’s Investigation Seasons Recovery Centers has made organizational changes allowing its clients and employees a more streamlined approach to problem resolution and a commitment to a great client experience.

In summary, after our investigation, which included discussions with CEO, Don Varden, and Dr. Sheila Shilati, and many of their past and current associates, Rip-off Report is convinced that Seasons Recovery Centers, also known as Seasons in Malibu or just Seasons Malibu is committed to quality delivery of services resulting in total client satisfaction.

Seasons Recovery Centers' Treatment Team has expressed that they feel very confident they can help clients recover from the throes of addiction and alcoholism. The Clinical Director at Seasons, Dr. Mark Stahlhuth PHD, states "I have seen Dr. Shilati and CEO, Don Varden, take a fledgling facility, with some financial woes, and turn it into a world-class, world renowned treatment center operating at a very high level of competence and integrity in a few short years. Interest in the Seasons' model of multidimensional, one-on-one treatment has risen as have the treatment results, to the point where Seasons is now known the world-over as a true place of recovery. It always gives me great pleasure to contact one of our past clients, a year after their graduation from Seasons, and find that the time spent with our facility, and the things they have learned about themselves and life, has caused them to now live a new, sober life filled with opportunity and hope."

Seasons takes employee satisfaction seriously as well. Employee feedback and surveys reveal comments such as this: "I truly love this job. It provides a very positive environment to work in my field of choice, helping people in recovery." Or, "seeing people transition to sobriety is very personally rewarding to me." "Opportunities for suggestions and improvements are encouraged." "Mr. Varden is truly concerned about our contribution to the company and providing growth opportunities for us. He takes the time to listen and communicate with employees and customers." Rip-off Report was pleased to learn that Season’s past and current approach to business is focused on its pledge to total commitment towards client and employee satisfaction.

Read more about why consumers should feel confident when doing business with a member of Rip-off Report's Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program. Yes, it’s a long name for a program that does a lot for both consumers and businesses alike.

Read about Rip-off Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program,.. A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business. this program works.

As a matter of policy, when a business becomes a member of the Corporate Advocacy Program they agree to allow Ripoff Report to contact every client who filed a complaint so they can make things right with them. In order to confirm that the complaints were resolved, Ripoff Report is copied on all responses so we can insure that the member business did right by their customer. It should be known, that the person who posted the Report below never responded to our offer to make things right with them.

NOW TO THE ORIGINAL REPORT THAT WAS FILED

==============================

Seasons Recovery Center in Malibu Serenity Malibu RIPOFF Malibu, California

There is a drug and alchohol rehab center in Malibu Ca. called Seasons Recovery Center.  Last November I checked my daughter into this place for treatment as they said they accepted our insurance.  In addition I had to pay $18,000 in cash.  I was told (in writting) that if they recovered more than $61,000 from my insurance company I would be reimbursed any overage up to the $18,000 I paid.

After two months of treatment my daughter had to leave because Seasons said the insurance coverage would not cover the expenses.  I continued to follow up over the next few months, and found in May of 2012 my insurance company had overpaid by about $8,000 at that point.  I spoke to the owner Dr. Sheila Shilati Psy.D and asked for a refund of the overpayment.  She was so nice, and said of course we will send you a refund of the $8,000 and then if the insurance company continued to pay they would send me the remainder of the $18,000.  Within 5 minutes of that nice email, I got another email from Dr. Shilati that said "oh gosh, my attorney said that since we filed bankruptcy a couple of months ago, we can't pay you, sorry". 

So now Seasons has taken more money from my insurance company than they were owed, and refuse to pay me what they owe me.  What a scam.  I began to look further into these rehab centers and found that a group of investors gets together to buy a million dollar an up home in a location like Malibu, then lease that home back to their LLC which is the rehab center.  They suck these poor families and alcoholics, drug addicts and mentally ill folks into their web, thinking this is a last resort and they can help my loved one.  They take as much cash from these people and their families up front, pay for the real estate, and then file for bankruptcy when the time is right.  They then go out form a new LLC and do it all over again making millions of dollars at the expense of the ill people they pretend to care for.

Another interesting point I discovered is that they overbill the insurance companies like crazy for anything they can get away with.  I showed my daughter the billing recaps for weekly tests, treatments, medication, etc. and she says that she never got half of what they billed.  I don't know if this is illegal, but I suspect it is.  I am going to contact the Secretary of State to see what can be done.

Dr. Sheila Shilati Psy.D also is an owner of another rehab center called Serenity Malibu, and her Mother Minoo Shilati, Psy.D. owns a rehab called Vantage Point Recovery, also in California.  Please don't get sucked into these scams.  These are by no means the only ripoffs in the rehab industry, but certainly the ones that got me. 

I would love to hear from others who have been ripped off.  Maybe we can file a class action suit.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/19/2012 07:16 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Seasons-Recovery-Center-in-Malibu/Malibu-California-/Seasons-Recovery-Center-in-Malibu-Serenity-Malibu-RIPOFF-Malibu-California-885202. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
2Author 3Consumer 1Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Response to Don Varden

AUTHOR: dwl - (United States of America)

Please see my response in Bold Italics.

Seasons did have this mans daughter in for treatment and there was an agreement to pay back insurance proceeds over a certain amount, which has been acknowledged.  Almost everything else, however, about this complaint is either wrong, over-stated or just made up.  


The truth is this client received excellent one-on-one treatment from our top-notch team of professionals and she never claimed otherwise during her stay.  When I spoke to the father he admitted that his daughter thought the treatment was very good. 

The question in this dispute has nothing to do with the treatment my daughter received.  It is about the dishonest way we were treated in relation to the money owed to us. The deceptive way we were taken advantage of in order to get my daughter into treatment, and the dishonest way we have been treated long after you have collected exorbitant amounts of money from Anthem Blue Cross.


Further, there was not over-billing of her insurance company and Dr. Shilati is not the owner of any in-patient rehabilitation center and neither is her mother, who has nothing to do with either Seasons or Serenity Malibu.  To say otherwise without any evidence is a cheap shot.
 
1. According to the records my insurance company provided my daughter received 8 hours of acupuncture each of several weeks during her stay.  According to my daughter she received at most one acupuncture session during her entire stay.
2. The lab bills show multiple lab tests and blood draws each week which did not happen.
3. The insurance company was billed for physical therapy which she never received.


I could go on and on about the charges the insurance company received that are in dispute, but there is not enough room here to do that.
In addition I spoke to one of the mental health professionals on the staff of Seasons about these bills and I was told that: this is the way these types of facilities make their money.  They know the insurance company will only pay them a portion of what they bill for, so they overbill in order to receive more money.
My insurance company sent me documents that indicated they had approved over $125,000 in charges for a two month stay.  
Whether or not Shilati or her mother are owners I do not dispute.  She led me to believe she was one of the owners during her initial sales pitch.  There are youtube videos of her and her mother talking about their facilities.


Dr. Shelia Shilati is a very well respected member of the addiction community of professionals and all these baseless allegations about taking advantage of people and pejorative words like scam could not be further from the truth and are insulting and shameful.

Shelia Shilati was my primary contact during this nightmare.  Not only did she lead me to believe she was one of the owners, but she assured me time after time that there would be no problem returning my $18,000 as soon as the insurance company paid more than $61,000.  I have the emails to verify that these assurances took place months AFTER bankruptcy was filed.  I asked for a partial payment after they had been overpaid by my insurance company by $9,000.  And her response was that she would direct her finance person to cut me a check immediately!  Wow, I thought, that is great.  She copied me on the email she sent to her finance person.  Then within 20 minutes I got another email from the good doctor saying: oh I am so sorry but we filed bankruptcy three months ago, and our lawyer says we cant pay you now.  B.S.!  I am expected to believe that within 20 minutes of her giving direction to her financial person, she was suddenly advised by her attorney not to pay me!  And if in fact Ms. Shilati is such an astute Chief Operating Officer, why was she so unaware of the limitations put on her company by her own lawyer?

The entity that filed bankruptcy was called Seaside Recovery, not Seasons, and in the bankruptcy hearing their lawyer went to great lengths to convince the judge that Seaside was a completely independent operation and had nothing to do with Seasons or Luxury Rehab, or any of their other rehab operations.  If that was the case, then why was I asked to make the $18,000 check out to Seaside and not Seasons when admitting my daughter?  When I questioned that I was told by Darrel, their intake person that oh they are all the same it is just for accounting purposes.  But get into court, and oh no they are completely different operations and have nothing to do with each other.  The scam goes on!  It appears that all the expenses went into one entity (Seaside) and all the profits into others (Seasons, Luxury, Serenity, etc), so when the time is right just file bankruptcy on the one that owes all the money, and walk away from your obligations. 

The sad part of all of this is that these places prey on poor families that will do anything they can to take care of their loved ones, and believe the promises they are made at the most vulnerable time of their lives, how despicable!  These people walk away (or drive away in there Mercedes Benz) laughing all the way to the bank.


I invite anyone who is considering help for themselves or a loved one to come and take a tour of our beautiful facilities, meet with the staff, ask any question they would like and then make their own decision if Seasons is right for them.  

I dont dispute that their facilities are beautiful (paid for by suckers like me!).  And I agree that you should ask all the questions you can, including: have any entities associated with Seasons or the owners of Seasons ever declared bankruptcy, or been parties to any lawsuit or claim of fraud or violation of any code related to the operation of those facilities.  Ask why, if your insurance company covers the treatment, they require you to pay cash up front in order to enroll yourself or your loved one.  What entities will bill your insurance company for the services rendered, and if more than one, why and what association does that operation have with Seasons (or their other operations). Too bad I was so trusting.


Seasons in Malibu and our sister facility Serenity Malibu are world-class rehabilitation centers and, unfortunately, this man is just trying to muddy our name because we did not get his overage back to him as fast as we would have liked.

You are correct Mr. Varden that you did not get my overage back to me as fast as I would have liked.  As a matter of fact you have continued to collect money from my insurance company as recently as three or four months ago.  Far over the $61,000 originally agree to, and yet have made no attempt to repay me a penny of the $18,000 owed.  I am not trying to muddy your name, but simply provide a little clarity for those poor souls that may continue to fall for your scam.

I continue to invite others that have had similar experiences to post them on this and other websites in order to get the word out.

All I want is for these people to live up to their obligations and repay what they owe, I dont think that is too much to ask.

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#2 REBUTTAL Owner of company

From the CEO

AUTHOR: Don Varden - (United States of America)

Seasons did have this mans daughter in for treatment and there was an agreement to pay back insurance proceeds over a certain amount, which has been acknowledged.  Almost everything else, however, about this complaint is either wrong, over-stated or just made up. 

The truth is this client received excellent one-on-one treatment from our top-notch team of professionals and she never claimed otherwise during her stay.  When I spoke to the father he admitted that his daughter thought the treatment was very good.

Further, there was not over-billing of her insurance company and Dr. Shilati is not the owner of any in-patient rehabilitation center and neither is her mother, who has nothing to do with either Seasons or Serenity Malibu.  To say otherwise without any evidence is a cheap shot.  

Dr. Shelia Shilati is a very well respected member of the addiction community of professionals and all these baseless allegations about taking advantage of people and pejorative words like scam could not be further from the truth and are insulting and shameful.

I invite anyone who is considering help for themselves or a loved one to come and take a tour of our beautiful facilities, meet with the staff, ask any question they would like and then make their own decision if Seasons is right for them.  

Seasons in Malibu and our sister facility Serenity Malibu are world-class rehabilitation centers and, unfortunately, this man is just trying to muddy our name because we did not get his overage back to him as fast as we would have liked.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Just sent you an e-mail

AUTHOR: shell - (United States of America)

Dear "Parent,"

I just saw your response to my post.  I sent you an e-mail with my information along with the link for my posting on this site.  Please feel free to contact me as I'd love to discuss this issue with you.

Sincerely,
"Shell"
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#4 Author of original report

Contact

AUTHOR: dwl - (United States of America)

Shell,

I could not find your original report, but would be very interested in speaking to you.  You can contact me at david@nastec.com
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#5 Consumer Comment

Postscript and correction

AUTHOR: shell - (United States of America)

My post was under Season's Malibu Rehab...
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#6 Consumer Comment

This Report is True - I had the same experience

AUTHOR: shell - (United States of America)

Dear "Parent,"

Please see my report on this same website under Season's Rehab.  My family suffered the same injustices, and more, at the hand of Season's.  We were bilked out of $70,000, and found out after we paid all cash that we were billing our insurance, and trying to collect duplicate payments when we had paid for the rehab in full.  Not only that, they also got a credit card number of our's and made charges which we disputed and prevailed against Season's.  Dr. Sheila Modir was the individual that fraudulently charged our credit card for services not rendered.  Please respond to my post as I would be more than willing to talk to you in private regarding a possible lawsuit against these criminals.  I already hired an attorney, and found that the ownder "Tony" has a large criminal history, and is quite adept at forming LLC's, bilking people of large sums of money, than filing bankruptcy and starting all over again.  At the time our child was at this horrific place, fighting for his life, the pseudo-CEO was a man named Christopher Bathum - check out his insane ramblings on the web where he talks about all of the parties involved in Season's fraudulent acts - Tony, Don, etc. - all of whom ended up being involved in multiple lawsuits.  Mr. Bathum's insane ramblings which will shed some light on this situation can be found at this link - http://christopherjamesbathum.com/wordpress/?page_id=50.  Quite a sick man, and truly evil.  I think his writings will give you a good laugh after you cry over the grave injustice these individuals have perpetrated against families suffering to heal their loved one's from addiction.  I offer you my sympathy and support.  If you respond to this site and give me some way to contact you I would be happy to discuss the matter in detail, and share the information that my attorney found out about these crooks.  Best of luck...another parent that was ripped off.
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