Fully Investigate Services and Read All Documents Carefully
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, on Friday, April 27, 2018, recommended that citizens be very careful in choosing out-of-state residential treatment services, including nursing homes, mental health treatment programs, and addiction treatment services. That recommendation comes in the wake of several complaints that the District Attorney has received from Orange County residents about inadequate care in out-of-state facilities that serve the elderly and those addicted to drugs. Although, at this point, none of those complaints has resulted in the filing of criminal charges, the District Attorney nonetheless warned citizens to be cautious in contracting for services of that type.
So that citizens may protect themselves and their loved ones against unscrupulous sellers of residential treatment services, District Attorney Hoovler recommended the following steps:
• Make sure to visit the location of the residential program. Consumers who have not visited the program they have purchased have sometimes been surprised to later learn that the conditions at the building are substandard.
• Thoroughly research the treatment program, to determine if there have ever been complaints made about it. Those research efforts should include, at a minimum:
o Contacting the Attorney General’s Office in the state where the program is located;
o Contacting the state agency that licenses facilities of that nature;
o Contacting the Better Business Bureau;
o Researching the facility on the Internet, to determine whether websites unaffiliated with the facility have recommended against using it.
• Thoroughly review all paperwork involved in the transaction. As in any complex transaction, understanding the documentation is important if consumers are to be sure that they are getting what they think they are paying for.
• Be especially careful when dealing with a broker selling services for multiple residential treatment facilities.
“Residential treatment services often involve major financial transactions and commitments,” said District Attorney Hoovler, “and it is in the best interest of every consumer to fully understand just what those transactions entail. Even when criminal activity is not afoot, unwary consumers can be misled with regard to the quality of the residential services that they are buying. I urge everyone to be a smart consumer, to make sure to thoroughly research the services that they are buying for their loved ones, and to thoroughly understand the transactions that they are entering into.”