Report: #1059733

Complaint Review: American Addiction Centers

  • Submitted: Mon, June 17, 2013
  • Updated: Fri, April 25, 2014
  • Reported By: Elizabeth — Rancho Cucamonga California
  • American Addiction Centers
    2465 East Twain Avenue, Las Vegas, NV. 89121
    Las Vegas, Nevada

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I am writing to alert you to some very serious violations of personal safety and corporate policy occurring at the Desert Hope Rehabilitation facility in Las Vegas. I was an in-patient in the newly opened Desert Hope facility in Las Vegas. What was sold to me as a chance for recovery in a dual diagnosis facility turned into one of the most traumatic and abusive experiences I have had in my life. I entered Desert Hope on May 5, 2013, completely vulnerable, as I put myself in their care and guidance. My first impression as I walked into the facility seemed welcoming.

The next morning, I expected to receive a tour of the facility and an explanation of my patient rights. Instead of this activity, I was part of the Morning Town Hall meeting where we were scolded, like children, for some incident that occurred before I arrived. It was then announced that all cell phones would be prohibited, even after the five day waiting period. I had been promised access to my cell phone after five days by the consultant who planned my stay. I have two young children at home and it was important that I reach them and check on possibly urgent voice or text messages from them.

I was also under the impression that there was access to recreation, physical fitness activities and a chance to interact in a relaxed manner with other clients. In the Desert Hope Residential Client Handbook, on page 17, it states, “You will have numerous opportunities to enjoy spa amenities, fitness classes, interactive games and other structured activities as well as group art therapy, drawing, painting, music, writing, pottery, and drama talents, and process how said talents/expressions relate to recovery.” There are NO art supplies except paper and crayons and a dried-out lump of clay. There are no fitness classes, spas, or games. There is nothing whatsoever for any patient in the facility. The entire program is built on a house of cards that is about to collapse at any moment. Every aspect of the sales brochure, sales pitch, website, and even the Residential Client Handbook is a lie.

I will now point out my experience as it relates to the stated policy of the facility. 1. Client Rights – Page 4. It states, “You have the right to be provided treatment appropriate to your needs.” I had explained before making the commitment to coming to the facility that I had restricted dietary needs because I do not have a colon and cannot digest certain foods without severe complications. I was told that would not be a problem. When the food was not appropriate for me to eat I just asked for a simple grilled cheese which I know I can digest without a problem. That became a heated argument with two of your “5-star chefs” who argued vehemently that if I can eat a grilled cheese then I can eat what they were serving. More importantly, no one in the administration of the facility was able to help me to secure my right to eat appropriately, as promised. As I left the cafeteria upset and crying I spoke to a nurse and she wrote a two line letter that got me nowhere and was ignored by everyone. So, instead of eating what was offered when I knew I could not digest it properly, I would eat cold cereal. No one cared what I was eating. And that was after speaking with James, who indicated to me that he understood my need because his brother had a colotomy and that he was the right person to talk to and it would be taken care of. However, it only made matters worse and the chefs treated me like dirt. 2. Client Rights – Page 4. It states, “You have the right to be informed of our diagnosis, treatment plan, and prognosis.” This simply does not exist. 3. Client Rights – Page 5. It states, “You have the right to receive respectful and considerate care.” It also states, “You have the right to safe and healthful accommodations.” And, “You have the right to freedom from emotional, physical, intellectual or sexual harassment or abuse.” This is complete nonsense!

I was harassed on a daily basis by one of your clients because she thought she was part of the staff having been inside the facility for several months. I was told that this client, “Jennifer”, was like the Mayor of Desert Hope and nobody was able to control her. Even the staff walked around her “on eggshells”, as they stated in one group meeting. This seriously jeopardized the recovery of others as Jennifer and her “clique” were allowed to bully, curse (in and out of groups), and get into other client’s personal space in an aggressive, physically threatening and completely harassing manner. I was subjected to her bullying on a daily basis. My therapist, Stephanie, as well as all of the BHTs and nurses knew of Jennifer’s behavior and NOBODY did anything about it, ever. As a matter of fact she was rewarded for this behavior with outings, extended stays, and other privileges. I even had a BHT, Kristen, come to me and say, if you don’t want to be in Jennifer’s presence you can stay in your room and not come to group sessions”. Jennifer has a “gang” of girls, younger, as if this was Jr. High School. They constantly harassed me, on a daily basis.

There is no conflict resolution process in place at the facility. For example, another BHT, Jacqueline, who acted and spoke as if she just came off the street (“yo, yo, yo” – good role model!) went to Jennifer and the girls and told them that I had a problem with them. Obviously, all this accomplished was to make them more hostile to me and verbally abusive. This is a $30,000 facility not a city jail. NOBODY took ANY steps to help me until my husband and I were forced to make the decision, which I did not want to make, to leave the facility after two weeks. It was on my way out the door that an “emergency” meeting was held because of the evidence of harassment that I endured for two straight weeks. Sonia, another BHT, came to me and said, “You’re doing the right thing by leaving. Maybe you can be a voice for the recovery of others and the clients who need real recovery without the distraction of bad behavior.” She added, no matter what they do now, “it’s a day late and a dollar short”. 4. Client Rights – Page 9. It states, “It is a sober environment to facilitate a positive process of recovery.” NOT THE CASE! The women were high on a constant basis and the BHT’s would announce at the beginning of each group, “We know that drugs are coming into the facility but we won’t name names. I just advise you to stop.” This contradicts the guidelines on Page 9, which states, “Infractions that directly affect the health, safety and welfare of the program will result in discharge” No such thing! There is drug possession. There is sexual activity. And, there is daily harassment. 5. Client Rights – Page 10. It states, “The following behaviors impact the programs’ goal to offer a positive environment and will also be cause for determination of appropriate consequences: Missing groups without authorization, tardiness to scheduled activities, inappropriate interaction with peers, and entering a client’s room.” THERE ARE NO CONSEQUENCES! 6. Client Rights – Page 12. It is prohibited to chew tobacco, wear “short” shorts, halter tops, short skirts, revealing clothing…” This rule is not enforced. Women’s dress is highly suggestive, and inappropriate. Skirts are so short they barely cover the behind; cleavage is showing too much. And, nobody says anything. If rules are not to be followed then don’t pretend to have them.

Aside from the ongoing and ignored violations of the policy, there were other serious issues that I was the victim of and we are both fortunate that it did not lead to more serious problems. For example, I was given the wrong medication, from another Elizabeth, who is recovering from heroin and other serious substance addictions. I asked the nurse, “What is this medication, it seems like too much.” She said, “Vitamins”. Right after receiving them, I passed out in my room and nobody even noticed. That same evening, they gave me the wrong medications again, which left me completely knocked-out, like I was in another world. The next morning, when they gave the OTHER Elizabeth my medications, she said “What is this little pill?” They told her it was for her thyroid. She said, “There is nothing wrong with my thyroid”. That was when they noticed that the medications were mixed up. How could this happen? On Mother’s day, which was a week after I had come to Desert Hope, my children and my husband called the facility eight or nine times to wish me a happy Mother’s Day. I had given permission to release any information to my husband and to speak to me. There was signed permission for that. Not only was my husband told that they could not confirm whether there was an Elizabeth Baron in the facility, I did not receive one single message. However, I had a friend, Peggy Groom, also a client at the facility, whose HIPAA rights were violated in a serious manner. You may hear from her. There is no recognition of the privacy laws and each client’s directives and permissions. This causes great confusion and problems for clients and families. By the constant and purposeful violation of its own policies and procedures, Desert Hope is a disaster.

I can go on and on about my personal observations and experiences but I thought it most productive to highlight the direct violations of policy that occur recklessly on a daily basis. It seems clear to me that the most important thing is not recovery, client well-being or running a safe and wholesome facility. It is all about the money. Keeping patients inside as long as possible, regardless of their behavior and the welfare of others if the motive for existence. Getting past the lies of what takes place as part of recovery is difficult enough. The lack of activity, exercise, the relaxation of the spa facilities, and the other accoutrements marketed in the brochure and website is difficult enough. But the utter incompetence of staff, the lack of administrative involvement and oversight, the medical incompetence, the ignoring of illegal activity, the violation of HIPAA law, is just too much to bear. I left Desert Hope, feeling utterly hopeless on May 13th. Nothing was accomplished except for me to be more stressed, more traumatized and more emotionally distraught than ever before. I prepaid $500, plus $240 in round-trip airfare for abuse that I did not anticipate. To the owner, Mr. Cartwright, I read your book, cover to cover, and I know that you care. I hope and pray that you can personally see to it that the serious problems at Desert Hope can be corrected and staff put into place that respect your vision and care enough to enforce the rules and keep all clients healthy and safe for a lifetime of recovery.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/17/2013 10:52 AM and is a permanent record located here: 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. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

July 17, 2015

AUTHOR: Ashley - (USA)

After 4 other treatment facilities with-in the US. Desert Hope was the answer.

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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Desert Hope is just plain BAD

AUTHOR: Dont be fooled - ()

The advertising and damage control spent on Desert Hope is ASTRONOMICAL! There is a reason for this cover up approach! Do not waste time and for the love of god Money at this Deceptive Joke!

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#3 Consumer Comment

Desert Hope is a good place to have treatment !

AUTHOR: B.Bailey - ()

I have been here ,  the people try there best to treat your needs , if you are a person tbat dont want it .....then you will never get it . To the person that wrote this report , you are a person in ...........denile . You get what you put in it . Desert Hope thanks for my SOBRIETY !


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