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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
4:36 AM Tue, Nov. 20th

Editorial: End of group home flood?

An insurance investigator, backed up by Prescott officials, feels that about 100 homes have shuttered since the insurance company got suspicious of outrageous claims and came to town to see for themselves.

There have been stories of insane billing, like the $2,000 daily drug tests, so it’s definitely a plus to see the insurance agency stop rubber-stamping payments and taking to the field to stop the corruption.

Many residents are asking how many homes does Prescott now have open? Well, that’s not an easy number to determine. Officials say the only accurate way to determine that number will be when the business license program goes into effect.

Right now, the code enforcement officer must basically “stake out” suspected homes in order to identify one. Watching for the tell-tale white vans, itinerant residents, etc.

Definitely not an efficient way to handle the counting, but really the only way.

The insurance investigators are giving Prescott a better understanding of those numbers, though, and that’s important.

Kudos to the industry for cracking down. However, as the investigator told the mayor’s Ad Hoc Committee on Structured Sober Living Homes Wednesday, the fact that the company stopped payment until the investigations are complete is hurting the homes that are “doing it right.”

This has led to the court filing on today’s front page. This crackdown is hurting the legitimate businesses.

Some Prescott-area companies are suing for those payments and they should.

As we report, “The lawsuit claims that although Health Net appears to have divided the treatment centers into two categories – those that were ‘boldly assumed (to be involved in) wrongdoing,’ and those that were being asked to verify that they had not been involved in wrongdoing – all of the centers were treated the same.”

The investigator said this week that the new company had since resumed payment, under a new “Medicare-based payment structure.”

Cleaning up and regulating the plethora of group homes in Prescott is happening, but it’s a painful process for everyone involved.

Having Prescott known as a place of recovery won’t have the stigma it does now when the homes are vetted and regulated.

Residents of the homes will be assured the care they came for and insurance companies will

be assured the care they are paying for is