The new gold rush. ‘It’s almost chic’ – Orange County Register

To fully appreciate the money flowing into addiction treatment, consider the size of the bill Tara Richards ran up during a five-month attempt to achieve sobriety at a rehab center in San Clemente —  $416,050.

Richards, of Maple Valley, Washington, came to Sovereign Health for help in July of 2014, according to court documents. She had private insurance – Regence Blue Shield – and signed forms agreeing to residential mental health treatment costing $3,410 per day. That care – plus 15 urine tests at $1,200 a pop – brought Richards’ bill to $123,000 for her first month of treatment.

Similar stays at well-appointed treatment centers can run from $30,000 to $65,000 per month. Richards stayed at Sovereign Health until November in varying levels of care, the cheapest of which was $1,980 per day, according to billing statements filed in a lawsuit Sovereign Health brought against her over reimbursement.

On Tuesday, Sovereign Health properties were raided by dozens of FBI agents as part of a criminal probe into alleged financial and other irregularities, according to company and federal officials. Sovereign Health characterized the raids as “retaliation from a bunch of jack-booted thugs” for its lawsuits against state officials challenging how regulators do business, and said the company remains committed to providing the highest quality care.

Two things are undisputed: Such care can be extremely expensive, and more people than ever need it.

Addiction treatment was a $21 billion business in 2003, and is expected to double to $42 billion by 2020 – a growth rate some three times faster than inflation, according to federal health and census data

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