• Report: #717589
Complaint Review:

Townsend Recovery of Louisiana

  • Submitted: Thu, April 14, 2011
  • Updated: Tue, October 02, 2012

  • Reported By: Greg C. — Baton Rouge Louisiana United States of America
Townsend Recovery of Louisiana
4540 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy Lafayette, Louisiana United States of America

Townsend Recovery of Louisiana Operates under Wetsman Forensic Medicine. CEO is Michael Handley Townsend Recovery of Louisiana is a complete RIP-OFF Lafayette, Louisiana

*Consumer Comment: Townsend--Scam

*Author of original report: Question about Townsends rebuttal

*UPDATE Employee: Opportunity to Make it Right

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Townsend Recovery of Louisiana was acquired under new management in 2008-2009. The CEO Michael Handley and Chief Medical Officer Dr Howard Wetsman are part owners in this new treatment facility. This treatment is Intensive Outpatient only and what that means is 4 night a weeks for 7 weeks for a total of 28 sessions. You are required to attend AA./NA meetings outside of the program and you are required to provide a urine sample during your treatment. Now this program Townsend Recovery of La offers involves, depending on your treatment, medication. In my case I was prescribed Suboxone because I had a problem with pain medication. Now when I went to sign up, the CEO Michael Handley along with some other people which included a counselor were there to sign me up. I told them that I had a fair amount of cash on me at the time so whatever my insurance does not cover, I want to pay for up front so I did not have to worry about being billed. It was laid out in front of me the total cost of the program was $5900.00. My insurance covered half and I paid the other half in cash. I asked all of them, before I left the office, " are there any other cost that I may receive during this treatment such as urine testing?". I was told by three different Townsend Recovery employees, including the CEO Michael Handley, that there would be no other cost involved. He only said that if there was a problem with the medication and I needed to get back in to see the doctor that there might be another doctor's charge but that is it. So not only did I hear that but my wife and mother heard the same thing.
So I went through the IOP program which was 7 weeks and completed the program. I noticed that I was being drug tested everyday I went in and there were other patients that were only being tested once a week. Now I never failed a drug test since I started the program so there was no reason for me to have no uring test then anyone else. Well I soon found out that Townsend Recovey was sending my urine test out to a company named Ameritox for testing. Ameritox started billing my insurance company for $1500.00 per drug test, which at first I was being tested 4 times a week. On top of that Townsend Recovery did a 10 panel on site test which they were charging my insurnance an additional $265.00 per test. Now remember I was told there were no other cost involved but I was clearly lied too by the CEO of Townsend Recovery Michael Handley. To make this long story a little shorter this $5900.00 7 week program turned into a program that billed my insurance company for over $22,000.00 for this 7 week program. Now half of the billing was from Townsend Recovery and the other half was from Ameritox. I talked with several people at Townsend Recovery and Ameritox and I was constantly told that it was a mistake and it would be corrected. But it never was and still has not and not only have they billed me this way, every patient that had insurance was billed the exact same way. Now the patients that paid cash still owe this company Ameritox $100.00 per test which all were tested at least twice a week which leaves them a balance of app $5000.00 that they had and have no idea they owe.
They are being investigated and keep your eyes peeled because this is going to make the news in Louisiana before the end of 2011. This CEO Michael Handley, before he came to Louisiana, just got finished running the same scam in Daphne, Alabama which when the city start to bring the heat he ran to Louisiana. So I ask the question, why Louisiana? It has been brought to my attention that Louisiana has the largest rate of addiction and relapse in the United States, by double. So this piece of s**t knows this and came hear to Louisiana to cash in. And guess what, he is doing just that. Anyone that would like to debate anything that I have said, please respond because I would love to hear an excuse.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/14/2011 12:57 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/townsend-recovery-of-louisiana/lafayette-louisiana-70508/townsend-recovery-of-louisiana-operates-under-wetsman-forensic-medicine-ceo-is-michael-ha-717589. 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.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: anonymous - (United States of America)

I have experienced in great detail upset with Townsend.  They are robbing patients with hidden costs well above the $10,000 range.  I have first-hand experience and still haven't resolved the addiction issue and as a matter of fact, it seems to me it was ignored and just may result to death of a patient.  I wonder how they would feel or respond after that.  So many complaints, I am sure something will be resolved legally.  This has to be considered fraud to the insurance companies being charged these ridiculous amounts as well as to their patients.
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#2 Author of original report

Question about Townsends rebuttal

AUTHOR: Greg C. - (United States of America)

I do appreciate your rebuttal to my comments but I have a few questions. First, again I have to go back and ask if Townsend knew that Ameritox would be charging something for the services and for anyone from Townsend to say not would be ridiculous. Also everyone knows what is billed to an insurance company and what is paid is different, and I understand the concept of contracted rates but Townsend Reps lied when directly asked if there were anyone other cost involved with the program. Now I understand if maybe one or two people may not have been told but I have spoken to numerous, past and current, patients and all say the same thing.
Now to address your outsourcing of drug testing, what is exactly the purpose for that. I was told, along with many other patients, that these test are run for the doctors liability. Point being I guess to make sure if someone died they were not taking other unauthorized medications. Now if that is the case, why does the patient have to pay for what the doctors medical malpractice insurance should be paying for?
The problem with alot of the things you are talking about does not dismiss the fact that Townsend Recovery's mistake using Ameritox has cost insurance companies and patients alot of money. My insurance increases every year because of mistakes like this. So what do you have to say about that?
Also are you saying that Ameritox misrepresented itself to Townsend Recovery? These are questions that need to be answered and will be answered. If Townsend Recovery is a innocent party hear why has it not made attempts to notifiy there past and present patients of exactly what happened. Also if Ameritox did misrepresent itself, is Townsend going to take legal action against them?
I understand that no one is perfect and Townsend is new to Louisiana but Michael Handley is not new to running an Outpatient Rehad Program so I appreciate the effort but it still does not jive with the facts. We will see who is right in the end because the same ones you wanted to help, have been put under alot of stress having to worry about constant billing problems when they should be working of there recovery.
One last thing, I spoke to two former patients of Townsend Recovery last week and both tell me that Townsend Recovery did not have proper doctor authorization to order the Ameritox test once they started there aftercare program. I asked what proof they had of this and one has an email from there aftercare doctor which says that the aftercare doctor did not order any urine or drug testing for there patients from Ameritox or any other company outside of Townsend Recovery. The letter also has the doctor asking about who the company was and what the charges were to the penny. So once again, pretty damming evidence and before you respond. They also have an email from Dr Wetsman and they ask Dr Wetsman if once the patient starts aftercare, can Dr Wetsman make or give any medical treatment of the patient in question. He response was only the patients aftercare doctor can treat the patient and that he could only consult.
Don't really know if you realize but Townsend Recovery has upset alot of there former patients and exactly how long do you think it would take before people would let this go?
A few of us have been lucky enough to stay sober through this and Townsend's program has a good basis for it's treatment but alot have gone back to using drug's because once they started asking question, Townsend turned there back on them.
Townsend Recovery may not like some of the people they are treating personally but they do have a medical and moral obligation to continue there efforts to treat everyone patient that paid, and Paid Dearly, for there program.
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#3 UPDATE Employee

Opportunity to Make it Right

AUTHOR: David - (United States of America)

I understand your concerns and appreciate that they have been raised. As I am sure you are already aware (but wanted to mention for those who may not be as informed as you), what you bill an insurance company versus what you actually
get paid are two very different things. Most healthcare providers actually have contracted rates with insurance companies, but still bill book rates. Its similar to when you are in a hotel and you look at the back of the hotel door it says the maximum rate for the room is $736 a night at the Motel Six. You and I both know that no one actually pays that; its just where the upper limit is set. In our case, it is not uncommon for us to bill an insurance company $10,000 for an entire course of treatment and based on our contracted rate, we may only receive $3,000 - $6,000 which is the cost of treatment described to the patient upon admission. Please dont let the charges to your insurance company confuse you with what we actually received as compensation for treating your terminal illness.

You have also raised the issue about Ameritox that is a great point. Quite frankly, I had an emotional reaction very similar to yours. We feel taken advantage of, but what angers me the most is that they took advantage of our patients it should never be this way. Unfortunately, in this case, what the vendor represented to us and what actually happened were two very different things. It took some diligence on the part of one or more of our patients who were able to get in
contact with the right people at Ameritox these people actually told the patients something entirely different than what Ameritox was telling us.

As soon as we found this out, we issued a letter directly to the Ameritox corporate office and issued a statement to all of our patients. We immediately suspended all operations with Ameritox until we could get some clear answers. Subsequent to that, we then used Ameritox as a reference lab on a very limited basis because, again, we are dealing with a life threatening situations with some patients and could not afford to go without a vendor. We quickly started working to identify a partner and get an agreement in place. As you can imagine, it is not an overnight process to roll out a new partner and a new lab testing system to multiple clinics across the state. We were able to get this done very quickly
and have completely severed our relationship with Ameritox and now have a relationship with Millennium Labs, which we have been very pleased with so far, as have our patients.

Unfortunately, lab testing is part of treatment. We are dealing with a chronic, biological illness, and just like blood work, it requires lab tests. We have to do this in order to most effectively treat you. As far as your specific concerns and your experiences, I cannot really address that because this is an anonymous forum and I certainly respect that. I can tell you
that no one on this team has been compensated or otherwise profited from any relationship with Ameritox or any other vendor. I would welcome anyone who wants to come and take a look at out internal documentation to do so; or if
anyone would like to come and sit down to discuss openly and frankly their concerns I would again welcome the opportunity. I hope that we have the opportunity to make it right with you and our doors are always open.
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