Over 23 million adults in the U.S. struggle with substance abuse issues. Dealing with this kind of life-altering addiction can be an intense and terrifying process. Addiction has the power to shatter people at their core. The vulnerable decision to work towards healing and hope has a tremendous impact on every aspect of an addict’s life.
But what if your guide on that challenging journey shattered your fragile sense of self?
Rehab Fraud Impacts Sexual Assault Victims
That’s what happened to at least nine female victims of “Rehab Mogul” Christopher Bathum, the CEO of Community Recovery of Los Angeles (CRLA); for these women, the rehab journey became a cat and mouse game of mental manipulation and sexual abuse. Bathum sexually assaulted and raped these female patients in their 20s and 30s.
Earlier this year, several of these former patients came forward. Among them was Amanda Jester, who stated that she was molested by Bathum during a guided meditation. “I felt like I had no choice,” stated Jester to sources. Many of the victims were coerced by Bathum in exchange for drugs.
That’s not all: healthcare fraud also played a huge part in Bathum’s case.
Bathum’s Healthcare Fraud
Bathum was recently arrested for conspiring to defraud patients and insurers out of an astounding $175 million. He allegedly stole the identities of the vulnerable patients with whom he worked, illegally purchased health insurance policies in the patients’ names, and committed phantom billing by either billing the insurance companies after the treatment had been completed or billing for services that had never been rendered. He defrauded major insurance companies, including Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and Humana. The companies actually paid out approximately $44 million to Bathum’s scheme.
Rehab Fraud Victims
Healthcare fraud impacts payers and providers, but the impact felt on the victims is perhaps the most extreme. While the rehab victims of Bathum’s sexual assault don’t seem to have been victims of the rehab fraud aspect of this heinous crime, it’s worth nothing that there are major similarities between victims of sexual assault and victims of healthcare fraud. In fact, according to the ACFE, fraud victims go through similar emotions as those who have survived a violent crime.
Not only did Bathum sexually assault several innocent, vulnerable women who were reliant on his help, but he also violated the identities of his rehab fraud victims. No matter how you look at this case, people have been brutally victimized by one man’s dysfunction and greed. While Bathum’s phantom billing is a slap in the face to the healthcare system, the heinous abuse of these women showcase the worst parts of humanity. There is no excuse for this kind of crime.
MedicFP’s fraud prevention solution is driven by prevention, not recovery. We prevent phantom billing by verifying identity and presence. However, in the case of Bathum’s heartless scheme, we could have prevented the financial and sexual abuse of a vulnerable population. This is absolutely unacceptable. Enough is enough.