Sunday, February 9, 2014

You can't choose your treatment unless you are rich.

I'm doing this. So here goes.

I've recently been put into a position where I needed to find treatment that would do an assessment for a 15 year old.  This young person has insurance, the kind of insurance you get when your parent or parents are disabled  veterans. 

Unfortunately, if I'm reading it correctly, that insurance, called ChampVA, only allows 21-day inpatient stays. It allows THREE in your lifetime. Nine weeks of treatment for substance use issues on your life. Your whole life.

In Minnesota, each county has Rule 25 funding, if you are poor enough to qualify, that will cover the extra week, and maybe more stays. This would also fund group residential for sober living, but only if you are poor enough.  These are for adults, I've never checked for youth. 

Some private insurance might help with the extra week too,if you are lucky enough to have that kind of job. But if you need (and most do) transitional living (sober or halfway house) it is going to be self-pay. Insurance doesn't think alcoholics or addicts are worth it. You are on your own

Back to the young person who needs an assessment. Her family has ChampVA, AND qualifies for Rule 25. Her family wants her to go to the Hazelden's adolescent program, in Plymouth, MN. 

Hazelden is the beloved Mecca in Minnesota for treatment services. Well...for many people in recovery. Not everyone. 

Her family has had experiences at Hazelden, that have changed their lives. So why wouldn't they want to share that experience with their loving child, if she needs it?

Guess what? Hazelden's adolescent program not only won't accept the insurances that cover families of disabled veterans, they also won't accept Rule 25 funds for their young clients. 


So people without money or good insurance? You don't get to go to Hazelden. And families of disabled veterans?  You're not welcome at Hazelden either. 

For a non-profit, that sure seems like a bunch of horrific bullshit. 

Hazelden has done a lot for me personally. I had great insurance when I needed to go there and it was almost completely covered. I have enjoyed their retreats, their speakers, their second-Sundays, their music festival last summer (for which my tickets were complimentary), their help in our community for advocacy, their research, their publications. But this seems to go against their vision of "all who seek recovery will find it."

They make a shit-ton of money. But they don't serve the poor, or maybe even the middle class. And that sucks for people who need help. It's right here in our state, but not for everyone in our state. 

Shame on ChampVA, and shame on Hazelden. Everyone deserves treatment, right?  Clearly not so. 

They wanted their daughter have the assessment at Hazelden.  But Hazelden doesn't help families like theirs.  Which breaks my heart. And scares the shit out of me. 

As you can probably guess, this family is mine.  I have taught my family not to be ashamed to ask for help. And that is what is happening.  I've never been more proud of them.

I, of course have permission to discuss this. This shit is real, and we are not ashamed.  The more we talk, the more can be changed. The more choices we will be given to recover.  I won't be quiet. We, as a family, won't be quiet. 

We have other choices.  But we don't have many.


  1. Stay strong and persevere. Sometimes the squeaky wheel DOES get the grease.

  2. That is upsetting that they don't accept these types of insurance or Route 25 payments. In my mind, substance-abuse treatment for a teenager could be considered a life-saving treatment, and it is definitely not right for them to deny that to children whose families don't have the best insurance. They are well-known across the country. They could at least have some sort of sliding scale program or something!

  3. CRAP!! Betsey, i know you will find the way to get the best help meant for her. Stay strong. Write letters- reach out! Be Loud!!!

  4. Wow, I actually didn't reazlize you were talking about your daughter. I am so sorry. Stay strong.

  5. Even though its hard to understand, all the stupid red tape.....Its not that Hazelden wont take the insurance. Its that the insurance wont work with Hazelden. In many cases with the insurance because Hazelden is not hospital based.
    Just a little insight with insurance....
    Hazelden also offers to work with insurance, where many other locations wont....Just a little bit more insight, even though it doesnt help much.

    1. I should delete this post because you are absolutely right. Our insurance only pays TEN cents on the dollar. So it wasn't Hazelden's fault. We got my kid into Hazelden with the help of some friends and a scholarship. I have been meaning to write about that.

    2. When I have time, I'll update this post:) Hazelden is an AMAZING place.

    3. They should still accept Rule 25 funding though. Just saying.