Michael Stone, MD, FAAFP, ABAM, FASAM
Founder and President
I have worked in the addictions field since 1969. Working in drug and alcohol treatment centers and psychiatric hospitals prior to opening Cornerstone, allowed me to see exactly how not to run a treatment center. My biggest motivator for opening Cornerstone was seeing patients in the hospital where I had previously been employed, having to let patients go before I believed they were ready to go. Addiction impacts the mind, body as well as the spirit, so although the body may present itself as physically fit, the mind and spirit will take much longer to heal.
I built Cornerstone of Southern California on this premise – that addicts would be given a safe, non-judgmental space where they would be able to take all the time they needed to heal these three important components of self. Thus my dream of expanding, from what was originally just one sober living home, we are now able to care for an addict through all stages of their recovery journey. From detox, to primary rehabilitation, our extended care program, outpatient treatment, and 16 fully licensed and certified recovery homes, we are able to care for our clients until they feel they have all the necessary foundations to fully heal their minds, bodies and spirits.
I am extremely hands on with my work. My own family has grown alongside Cornerstone and together we embrace it as an extension of our own family unit, each member of my family working with me to ensure that we continue to promote ethical treatment practices and effective treatment programs where the focus is on our sense of community and respect for each other.
During the 50 plus years I have worked in the industry, I have seen countless developments and progress made in the field of addiction and behavioral disorders. I strive to ensure that both myself and the staff that work beside me at Cornerstone are up-to-date and implementing all the most innovative and effective practices available. I believe in constant personal and professional growth and believe that is reflected in Cornerstone’s own developments and extensions over the years.
I am honored to be able to do the work I do, and grateful to have been part of the recovery journey of over 80,000 people. I look forward to helping many, many more.
The Heart & Soul of Cornerstone of Southern California
It’s Beginning, Development and Growth over 35 plus Years
In 1967 Michael Stone MD graduated from Sheffield University School of Medicine, England. Towards the end of his schooling he took a position with the Peace Corps in Uganda, East Africa. His time in Uganda was spent helping people at a mission hospital, including two weeks when he helped at a leper colony while the remainder of the colony’s medical team took a vacation. Post-graduation, Dr. Stone did 2 years of residency which included general medicine, surgery, obstetrics, gynecology and orthopedics. He was married to his wife, Jessica, in 1967. In 1969, following the birth of their first son Simon, they emigrated to Canada where Dr. Stone worked as a family physician and at the age of 26, became the medical director of the first alcohol and drug treatment center in a med-surg hospital in Canada; St. Joseph’s in Estevan, Saskatchewan. This was the beginning of what has become Michael Stone’s life’s work – caring for individuals suffering from the disease of addiction.
While running the St. Joseph’s addiction unit, Dr. Stone was asked to be a Clinical Instructor in Family Medicine for the University of Saskatchewan. In 1975 Southern California became his focus. Dr. Stone completed the examinations needed to enter the United States, and at the same time became Board Certified in Family Medicine in Canada. He secured a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of California, Irvine campus. After 3 years Dr. Stone became an Associate Professor, a position he held at the University for 7 years.
During his years at UCI, Dr. Stone began moonlighting at The Care Unit Hospital of Orange in Orange County, California where he helped with detox and medical management of the hospital’s psychiatric patients. Soon thereafter, realizing he wanted to commit his full time to the practice of addiction medicine, he left UCI and joined the Care Unit as its Medical Director (at the time, The Care Unit was one of the premier Addiction Treatment & Psychiatric facilities in the United States). While at The Care Unit Dr. Stone worked with Joseph Pursch, M.D. (Betty Ford’s psychiatrist and at the time the nationally recognized leader in the field of alcohol and drug abuse) helping him with his patients, many of whom were sports professionals and celebrities. Dr. Stone assisted in training the first and the second Medical Directors of the Betty Ford Center. Dr. Stone’s team also trained Betty Ford’s staff in family therapy when it first opened (the renowned Betty Ford Family Program).
It was during his time at The Care Unit Hospital that Dr. Stone recognized the need for a “step-down” level of care – post inpatient acute treatment, and in 1984 he founded Recovery Homes of America, Inc; dba Cornerstone of Southern California. Cornerstone was founded as a residential treatment program that provided safe living and structure for those suffering from addiction and who were not able to immediately return to their homes. Over the past 52 years, it is conservatively estimated that Dr. Stone has treated over 50,000 patients suffering from addiction, either directly or with the clinical teams he directed. Over 25,000 of these patients have been treated by Dr. Stone at Cornerstone since he founded the company in 1984.
Soon after its founding, Cornerstone rapidly obtained State licensure followed by Joint Commission national accreditation. Today Cornerstone maintains the highest care standards in the treatment industry and prides itself on providing excellent substance use disorder and mental health care to all its patients. Dr. Stone and his associate physician are both full-time and Board Certified, and are assisted by their full-time Nurse Practitioner. As a 24/7 facility Cornerstone has full-time nurses on every shift. Cornerstone obtained I.M.S (Incidental Medical Services) designation by the State of California Department of Health Care Services and provides Medication Assisted Treatment (M.A.T.) as needed.
Since May 2020 Cornerstone has had its own mental health intensive outpatient program which is in-network with most commercial insurance companies. While previously part of Cornerstones dual diagnosis/substance abuse program, the sole focus of this program provides patients elevated levels of mental health services and attention.
Cornerstone is presently contracted with:
Blue Shield HMO/PPO
Anthem Blue Cross
Blue Shield HMO/PPO
Oscar Health Plan
Kaiser (app in process)
Cornerstone is a family run business under the continued leadership of its Founder, Chairman and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Stone. Family members Samantha, Simon and Tim Stone have all worked for the company full time for over 20 years and are members of the executive committee. Cornerstone’s leadership team is lucky to have been joined in the last few years by Phil Kosanovich, MBA as our CEO, and the team is additionally strengthened by Tami Campbell, who continues as Director of Operations. Both Tami and Phil are in long-term recovery.
Cornerstone prides itself on being a family directed company having no outside investors, and dedicated to working and striving with its staff to deliver compassionate care and clinical excellence every day to patients and their loved ones.
Respected throughout the addiction treatment industry for providing excellence of care and having the highest of standards, it remains obvious that the heart and soul of Cornerstone is made up of the caring, dedication and hard work of its staff.