Reporters for STAT and the Boston Globe teamed up for an investigation of the Recovery Institute of South Florida, an addiction treatment center that catered to union members. They found that many of the patients were given inadequate treatment in shoddy facilities, apparently in an effort to maximize insurance payments.
They explain how the scam worked:
In pursuit of union workers, treatment providers and brokers frequently wine and dine labor officials and those who work in union employee assistance programs, creating an environment where referrals can go to operators more interested in getting rich than helping workers get better. Brokers and consultants are also often paid to send union members to particular centers; and some treatment centers hire family members of union workers to ensure referrals.
Many of the patients were referred by the New Jersey Education Association to a consultant from Health Care Assistance with Member Support (HCAMS), who is supposed to help them choose the proper facility and services for their needs. They weren’t told that the CEO of HCAMS also owned the Recovery Institute of South Florida.
The reporters noted that union members were made to feel at ease because the HCAMS director of member services was “the former chief lobbyist of the New Jersey Education Association.”
Although he is not mentioned by name in the article, that person is Wayne Dibofsky, who had a previous stint in the media spotlight as the subject of one of Project Veritas’ “Teachers Union Gone Wild” videos.
Dibofsky was surreptitiously recorded in 2010 describing voter fraud that allegedly occurred during the 1997 Jersey City mayoral race.
Sometime after the video, Dibofsky left NJEA to join HCAMS. He also became chief of staff to NJ Assemblyman Joe Danielsen.
NJEA distanced itself from HCAMS.
“NJEA does not have a business relationship with HCAMS and HCAMS was never an endorsed NJEA service provider,” an NJEA spokesman told NJ Advance Media. “In the past, HCAMS served as one of several companies that offered referral services to members in need of certain types of care.”