Are 12-step programs the only way to recover from drugs and alcohol? (part 1)

This commentary was inspired by a comment on a Facebook post by The Addict’s Mom asking the question “Do you believe that recovery can only happen in a 12 step program?” My response got so long, that I decided to post it to my blog instead.

There is no one “right” thing that works for everyone. There needs to be more attention paid to alternatives. One reason 12-step is “pushed” is because it is free. Treatment plans, motivated by $$, include connection clients with community (read free) resources for post treatment support. Insurance has shaped the current treatment models, and even the legal system has bought into this notion that 12 step is the answer.  It is good that the legal system is recognizing that treatment is essential, but again, 12-step and 12-step based program as not the only effective treatment modalities. [Read more…]

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Who’s the problem with your healthcare?

Probably that would be the insurance company. I have been on hold for 10 minutes now, 10 minutes that I could be doing something else productive; 10 minutes that I could be doing some research or treatment planning for you. But no, I have to stay on the phone to beg for 6 or 8 sessions from the insurance company to help you.  And this is when you opt to use your out of network benefits, which you pay more for: you have a higher co-payment every session.

The insurance company will do it ‘s best to get information from me to justify your treatment; meaning, they don’t trust the therapist who is sitting right across from you to judge what might help you best. I know this, I worked for CIGNA a number of years ago. I finally got so appalled by what I had to ask, and how I was unable to authorize treatment that I had to leave. And take a pretty big pay cut. That should tell you something. (PS, I have been on hold for 17 that’s SEVENTEEN minutes now).

So here’s the point: Members need to speak up to the insurance companies and to their Human Services Departments. Probably a little more calmly than I did to Rosa, who took my clinical information and was somewhat insulted that I asked what her credentials were.  The price of your coverage goes up at whatever rate the insurance companies deem; oh, and your co-pays usually go up as the price of your coverage goes up, and often, covered services decrease.

I heard on NPR  a few weeks ago some excerpts from hearing about Blue Cross Blue Shield in CA. I was so shocked that the insurance company representative speaking could report with a straight face that her salary with in the millions, with just her bonuses in the $750,000 range. Is it the actual health care that costs, or the administration of it?

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Just can’t stay mute on this one

Okay, that’s it! I have spent my entire professional career as an addictions counselor and therapist being very politically neutral in public.  I just can’t do it anymore. Maybe I will change the name of the blog to Rouge Therapist Conversations, or The Politically Incorrect Counselor.

Here’s what got me fired up enough to run to the computer with my hair still in a towel from the shower. I have been, like most of us, listening to the debates and reports and evaluations of the Health Care Bill and Reforms with interest and usually, confusion. What the Hell is it really? How will it affect me personally, as a direct purchaser of my own health insurance? How will it affect my clients? How will it affect my business?  How is Mental Health coverage affected? And what idiot thinks that Medicare actually works so well that we should model everyone’s coverage after it?

Ok, quick digression: I heard a program on NPR that talked about Medicare fraud. I was shocked and appalled. I suspect if they could manage the $64 BILLION in fraud yearly, of which last year ONLY  $4 Billion was recovered, I’m thinking they could pay the providers a living reimbursement. Here is an opportunity to develop a program of client advocacy, to help those covered by medicare who are most susceptible to fraudulent use of their information to understand what it means.  To help clients take an active interest in their health care and really know what is happening to and for them. To help them monitor their care and navigate the Medicare and Health Care System maze.  How about that for a good use of AARP lobbying and money. I think I will suggest it to them, as a members (you get your invitation at age 50, but that is another digression).

Ok, back to today. I am listening to NPR’s program “Tell Me More.”  Yet another discussion about Health Care Reform and how it is and could play out in the Senate is the late Ted Kennedy’s seat is not won by a democrat. And here’s what blew me away: the abortion coverage issue.   Clearly I need to read up some more on this , but apparently some anti-abortion senator from  somewhere in the mid-west wants to separate out the abortion coverage. In other words, if you want the abortion coverage, you have to write a separate check for it. HUH????????

Who the heck thinks a woman PLANS to have an unplanned  pregnancy and get an abortion. What misogynist thought that one up? That has got to be one of the most absurd things I have ever heard.

Oh, I’d better pay for this coverage just in case  I need it?  Better to use your money to pay your bills, or save it , or purchase birth control. Better to put the government money toward compassionate education about sex, sexuality, family planning and birth control.

I would truly hope this absurdity doesn’t actually pass; I’m just floored that a discussion like this would actually come up.

All righty then, my blood pressure is back to normal, and the hair dryer is plugged in.

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