15 Cornerstone Facilities Pass DHCS Inspection

1 Mar


Recently Cornerstone of Southern California was visited by our DHCS analyst who conducted the required biennial Site Inspection on 14 of our Residential Recovery Homes and our Intensive Outpatient Building. The analyst completed an in depth walkthrough of every home and office, room by room, ensuring client safety and overall cleanliness as well as checking our staff policies and procedures for adherence to the DHCS guidelines regarding medication practices, client’s rights, our admissions process and much more. We are proud to announce that we passed in all areas of inspection….again!

We are proud of all our staff and the expertise that they bring to our program, from our dedicated House Monitors who run our Residential Recovery Homes with care and compassion to our fearless CEO, James Neumann, who guides our entire company while always remembering our mission:  to provide a foundation for recovery, focusing on relapse prevention education and a commitment to excellence in the delivery of care and services to our customers.

Educating Families about Addiction

1 Mar

Here at Cornerstone of Southern California we have been helping addicts and their families recover from addictions for the past 31 years. Our approach centers around
Relapse Prevention Education and we have always strongly encouraged family involvement by offering a comprehensive Family Program. In this program we offer education on a broad range of topics from codependence, boundaries, enabling, and tough love over an 8 week time period.

Our Family Night Speakers have been given rave reviews from the family members of clients in our care. Some recent comments include:

“I had no idea I was sick also and this is a family disease.”

“The content of the lecture was meaningful and insightful and we truly learned a lot.”

“The information that they provided was relevant and up to date.”

“I was laughing out loud with everyone in the room.”

“I was impressed by Aaron’s ability to teach us the cold hard facts of this disease while keeping us laughing. He definitely had the rooms attention!“

“Learned that I can’t make them change.”

“Aaron brought it home. Realized that things have to change at home so it is not the same environment and to make things change.”

“Keep Aaron as a speaker he does a great job.”

“Very credible given their personal experience.”

“Appreciate his honesty.”

If you have a family member in treatment with us we hope that you take advantage of our Family Program.


Choosing a Drug Rehab: Close to home or far away?

24 Feb


There are many factors involved when deciding to choose a local or far away drug rehab facility.

If everywhere you go you are reminded of your drug addiction, the people you know are also addicts and even your family members are addicts too, you may need to move away from home if you want a real chance at lasting recovery and getting sober. This means making a geographic change and going someplace further from your local drug rehab facility in order to minimize the possibility of being susceptible to local triggers.

In other cases an addict who has attended drug rehab in the past should be aware they will need support after leaving an out of state facility and returning home. The return back home can be a very difficult transition. The best choice would be to continue drug rehab treatment and aftercare somewhere close to home.

Making the Right Choice

Both scenarios illustrated above demonstrate why the client’s needs must be considered when looking for the right location for effective drug treatment. There are, however, additional items you will want to consider before admitting yourself to any local or out of state treatment program:

What are your Family Dynamics?

Will your family be a needed source of support, or would they act as a distraction or trigger which would potentially lead you to relapsing?

How are your Surroundings?

Beyond family, do you have any additional influences that could positively or negatively impact you such as friends, local locations? Would it be better to move to a drug rehab facility in another city or state?

Is privacy a main concern?

Will there be a difference as a result of your privacy and if you remain local? If you see a familiar face at the drug rehab center will it make things tougher?

How accessible is the facility?

It is imperative to remain in contact and on a weekly basis and follow-up with your drug rehab facility for aftercare. Will being close to home make it easier to leave versus being out of state?

Do you need insurance to help pay for treatment?

Is getting insurance to cover your treatment a factor. Depending on what your insurance covers are you willing to leave your local area?

The Right Drug Rehab Depends On You

For some people in recovery, it may be best to attend a drug rehab program that’s far away from their hometown environment which can lead to distractions and possible setbacks in their recovery process. The distance can make it easier to focus solely on recovery. For others, having the local support of friends and family during the recovery process can be the key to success, making a facility that keeps them near these positive influences more appropriate.

You have to examine your own individual situation to determine whether a local or distant drug rehab facility will be a better fit for you.

Use of the “Devil’s Drug” Flakka is on the rise

22 Feb


α-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone – aka Flakka is a synthetic stimulant which is highly addictive and extremely inexpensive to buy on the street. For about $5 this imported drug from China can cause an immediate rush which quickly turns into rampant paranoia, hallucinations, abnormal strength and elevated vital signs.

In Florida it is quickly becoming an epidemic with some treatment facilities reporting up to 20% of their clients addicted to this new drug. Many, however, have been turned away from treatment due to the extremely high rate of relapse associated with its use. In Broward County at least 60 people have already died from causes directly linked to this drug within the last 14 months.

There have been numerous reports of addicts high on Flakka doing insane things like running through the streets naked , climbing then jumping off of high bridges in paranoid attempts to flee from imaginary followers.

We at Cornerstone of Southern California are very concerned about this new substance of abuse and the incredible damage it is already causing.

To learn more click here.

How do I know if I am addicted?

17 Feb


If you can’t stop taking a drug even if you want to, or if the urge to use drugs is too strong to control, even if you know the drug is causing harm, you might be addicted. The NIDA has put together some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you think about drugs a lot?
  2. Did you ever try to stop or cut down on your drug usage but couldn’t?
  3. Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without the use of drugs?
  4. Do you ever use drugs because you are upset or angry at other people?
  5. Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?
  6. Have you ever taken one drug to get over the effects of another?
  7. Have you ever made mistakes at a job or at school because you were using drugs?
  8. Does the thought of running out of drugs really scare you?
  9. Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen to pay for drugs?
  10. Have you ever been arrested or in the hospital because of your drug use?
  11. Have you ever overdosed on drugs?
  12. Has using drugs hurt your relationships with other people?

If the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, you might have an addiction. People from all backgrounds can get an addiction. Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young.  Read more HERE.

#addicted #drugtreatment #addictionhelp

Protect Your Organization and Provider Network from Insurance Fraud and Abuse in the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment Market

15 Feb



Ten years ago managed care organizations were primary and foremost referral agents for those seeking addiction treatment. This was a time when case-management and referrals were managed by real people in real time. Since that time, insured members find SUD treatment providers independently and often through misleading call-centers/ patient brokers on the internet. Head hunters get paid top dollar by out-of-network providers for PPO insured or well-funded candidates.

As some unscrupulous entrepreneurs build profitable businesses through unethical practices, their abundant marketing budgets have overtaken the market. Ethical, in-network, insurance contracted providers do not have comparable marketing capital to compete. They operate off of a highly discounted rate of reimbursement which result in meager marketing/ promotion budgets.

SUD providers are incentivized to drop or avoid insurance contracts. Reimbursement is too low and contractual restrictions are too high.

The entrepreneurs are being rewarded by the same PPO plans they abuse, by being paid a percentage of their indiscriminately escalated “usual and customary” rates. Rather than managing ASAM continuing care where the patient resides, the PPO carrier enable the continuation of long residential stays away from home. Insurance carriers willingly pay out-of-area residential programs to extend residential stays by using the day treatment and intensive outpatient treatment benefit while the patient continues to reside in residential, away from home care. No benefits are left to assist the patient integrate recovery back where the wreckage, triggers and real-life problems reside. “Institutionalization” is reinforced by today’s commercial healthcare market.

Following are increasingly common breaches in lawful or ethical practice allowed by an absence of regulation and oversight and willing reinforcement by third party payers:

1) Out of network providers pay for prospective patient premiums (new PPO policies and COBRA) for the duration of treatment then allow the policies to lapse.
2) Patients are induced to admit by out-of-network providers waiving co-pays and providing sober living to IOP patients.
3) “Usual and customary” services rates are overstated (X10) by out-of-network providers to enhance revenues.
4) Out of network providers escalate their retail “usual and customary rate” for PPO which differs from that offered to their self-pay clientele. Out of network PPO reimbursement is maximized.
5) Payment for referrals are exchanged between out-of-network providers and to “call centers posed as treatment programs” on the internet.
6) Patients are brokered to out-of-network providers from internet call-centers which gage the rate of kick-back based upon the quality and quantity of the caller’s insurance coverage or capacity to pay top-dollar out of pocket.
7) Revenues are enhanced by unnecessarily elaborate, costly and frequent urinalysis testing by out of network providers and laboratories.
8) Intensive outpatient program providers provide “sober living” residence to clientele through the combination of overstated “reasonable and customary” service rates and urinalysis over utilization.
9) UR and billing is contracted out by providers to specialty companies which overstate/ falsify acuity levels and “lethality” to heighten level of care need and length of stay.
10) Internet call-centers and corporate providers mislead viewers and callers about the level of care, type and location of services needed for their condition.
11) Patients are flown from state to state, across the country to engage in out-of-network residential treatment. Once the patient arrives, their choices for level of care and between service providers end.
12) Patients are misled about the amount that the insurance will pay and what will be their likely self-pay amount. “We take your insurance and whatever they don’t cover, we’ll put on a reasonable payment plan”. Residential treatment lengths of stay of thirty to ninety days are rarely medically necessary or covered by insurance.

Following are a few suggestions for third party payer oversight, investigation and enforcement:

1) Require that day treatment and intensive treatment benefits are paid when the patient returns to their residence to enable recovery to be integrated in real time to their real life circumstances.
2) Price up PPO options and replace with affordable EPO plans in benefit offerings.
3) Publicize to service providers and members ethical business standards.
4) Publicize investigations and prosecutions to provide warnings and precedents.
5) Verify acuity levels through second opinions provided by in-network providers.
6) Monitor new policy dates correlated by contemporaneous SUD treatment admission and investigate.
7) Call patients to verify acuity levels.
8) Investigate accuracy of contracted UR and billing.
9) Notify members or require authorized out-of-network providers to notify effected patients of their out of network coverage at the point of admission, including co-pay and deductible amounts and estimated length of authorized reimbursement in real time.
10) Notify or require authorized out-of-network providers to notify effected members and patients the ethical and legal requirements of the out of network provider to collect co-payment and notify them of lapsed level of care authorization.
11) Notify or require authorized providers to notify effected members and patients of in-network treatment providers and alternatives.
12) Deny out of state, out-of-network PPO authorization if in-state providers are available.
13) Deny authorization to providers who lack Joint Commission accreditation.

From Twin Town Treatment Centers – February 3, 2016/in Uncategorized /by idgadvertising

Acceptance: Facing REALITY without filters

15 Feb


This is one of the most difficult processes when trying to improve your life because often – it is painful.  Yet, there is often relief once the thin veil of self-imposed “head” thinking in the form of, analytical justifying, rationalizing and fantasizing gets to the point of tipping or exploding.  It would not be human to live without considering the “greener grass” ideal, yet that entire thought process, that the “grass” is, or could, or must be greener is centered in destructive and flawed “head” talk.  This thought system builds on itself as you falsely fantasize, rationalize, justify, that your present situation is less green….SANE people understand – there is no greener grass, just different grass.

When we reject reality we accept the flawed thought system and begin to resent, devalue, jeopardize, what is real and start to live in a skewed reality.  In this place there is no calm, no clarity, no comfort.  It is a constant battle between what is and what our minds want things to be like and there is no serenity in such a place.

When we accept reality as it is without filters (filters being untrue colors to enhance the “greener” grass or thoughts that perpetuate the skewed belief system) we can improve our lives through clear and meaningful steps. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first defined these steps as it related to death but it works the same with other forms of loss or change.  There are 5 steps:

  1. Denial – Not letting ourselves know what reality is; a state of confusion minimizing the situation, avoiding the situation, denying our feelings.
  2. Anger – Once we’ve come to the realization that accepting reality is attached to a genuine loss, we often have some form of anger associated.
  3. Bargaining – An attempt to avoid suffering the loss.
  4. Depression – When the bargain doesn’t work and we are too tired (mentally) to continue the battle to avoid the loss…surrendering to the loss and the hurt allows the process to continue to the final stage
  5. Acceptance – Numbness….peaceful, free but without fireworks or belly laughs, it is a state of resolve, being a kin to the feeling of meditation – accepting what is.

Life striving/searching for recovery is a continuous dance between these 5 stages.  They occur with all things we deal with in all aspects of our lives.  Sometimes they are worked through in seconds, sometimes hours, sadly the greater the event the greater the time we travel through these stages bounding back and forth between them as we try to balance emotionally and spiritually.  Coming to Accept life on life’s terms is anything but easy….if it was easy it wouldn’t be life.

After an Opioid Overdose patients still prescribed more medication

10 Feb


An alarming new study has shown that around 90% of patients who have had an opioid overdose on a prescribed medication are given more of the same medication by the same doctor even after the overdose. We at Cornerstone will advocate and hope for policy changes in the near future to help physicians in making informed decisions regarding the use and safety of the medications they prescribe.

Read the full article HERE.


Alternative Sentencing Program Lawyer Testimonial

8 Feb


I have been working for several years in the treatment and recovery field as a treatment professional, attorney and interventionist. I have worked closely for over seven (7) years with my trusted colleagues at Cornerstone toward lasting and meaningful client recovery and court case outcomes.

I refer families and clients to Cornerstone with the utmost confidence in their services and quality of care. Cornerstone has as dedicated, compassionate and skilled a team as you will ever find. The costs are always reasonable, they work well with insurance and complex cases, and the teamwork is always first rate. Their alternative sentencing expertise helps clients navigate through the criminal justice system with court and probation approval.

From 5 Star Yelp Review on 12/14/15

A Valentines Day Recovery Message

4 Feb


For many Valentine’s Day is a day filled with renewed vows and invigorated devotion to the one we love, but for others it can be a painful reminder of lost affections and love that ‘used to be’. These painful memories can become triggers for some addicts in recovery and can lead to opening the door to possible relapse. We understand the cycle of recovery and relapse and have watched our clients deal with these difficult memories and holiday dates for 31 years. We are here to support all of the recovered addicts that we have helped and those who have not asked for help yet in dealing with heartache and loss.

What can you do to help you through these trying times?

  1. Get a sponsor and call them.
  2. Do not isolate yourself from others – get out and do something you enjoy or try something new. Surround yourself with family or friends or engage in an activity to ‘stay out of your head’.
  3. Remember that you are not alone in feeling this way – open up to family or friends and you will find that almost everyone goes through these types of feelings. It is not about having them, it is about how you deal with them in a healthy way without using drugs or alcohol to numb the pain.
  4. Go to a meeting and discuss your feelings with others who understand.

These are just a few alternatives and coping skills that you can use to see you through tough times. Remember the old saying, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

If you are struggling during the holidays – reach out.