How Recovery Centers of America is working to overcome negative publicity

Posted12/9/2019 5:30 AM

Recovery Centers of America is bound by the court cases surrounding the Glenwood School to take a number of actions that may help soothe any unease about the addiction treatment center the company plans to open just outside of Campton Hills.

But to become actually welcomed, Recovery Centers of America may first have to overcome some negative publicity.


In 2017, an investigation by the science and health website STAT and The Boston Globe led Recovery Centers of America to surrender its license and shut down admissions at its facility in Danvers, Massachusetts. The investigation "uncovered evidence of shoddy care and turmoil," including employee complaints that patients were having sex with each other and not being kept safe. There also were two deaths at the then 72-bed facility.

Three months earlier, Massachusetts officials visited a Recovery Centers of America treatment facility in Westminster and found problems with understaffing and patients not properly supervised. The company submitted correct action plans for both facilities and has had no trouble since.

Dr. Deni Carise, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Recovery Centers of America, said the company learned important lessons at that time.

"We voluntarily surrendered our license," Carise said. "Then we got it back from the state. We were able to open in a smaller capacity. Then we added more (patients). We've never been turned down by the state to increase that license."

Company officials also point to a recent ranking by an outside not-for-profit group that listed the Danvers facility as one of the top rehab centers in the Boston area.

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In keeping with the wishes of the community and the judicial consent decree, the facility will have a fence. It also will have indoor and outdoor security cameras.

The facility will not accept Medicare (as it does not cover residential addiction treatment) or Medicaid (because the amount it pays for residential addiction treatment is too low). Patients who can't afford treatment will have the option of interest-free payment plans.

More than 90% of patients will come from within 50 miles of the facility, and there are no current plans for major infrastructure changes or expansions.

Carise said treatment works best when local patients are supported by family, friends and employers. The company also maintains local alumni groups for ongoing connections.

There will be 24-hour nursing care at the facility. A medical director will be on site for at least 30 hours every week. Only patients who participated in the inpatient program can receive outpatient services.

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