Thursday, October 26, 2006

(and is it really alcohol treatment?)

So here's what we're paying for:

Former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley is being treated for alcoholism at a facility in Arizona, his attorneys said Wednesday.

Foley has been in a 30-day treatment program at the Sierra Tucson treatment center in Catalina, Ariz., near Tucson, since Oct. 1, according to a joint statement released by his attorneys in West Palm Beach and Washington, D.C....

As I noted a few days ago, the House clerk's office has confirmed that this is being covered by Foley's taxpayer-funded congressional health plan, under the COBRA provision.

So how much does this cost? Sierra Tucson's Web site says the base rate for its addictions program is $1175 per day -- that's $35,250 for 30 days. However:

...The average cost for a patient ranges from $41,000 to $64,855. This includes an average two-day stay in MAS and an estimate of average separately billed services/ancillary charges....

Separately billed services not included in the estimate of ancillary charges: Additional laboratory testing, additional psychological testing, acupuncture (ear lobe $35; full-body $110), and psychiatric technician services (if necessary).

Off-site Services: Services provided by third parties that are billed directly to patients include any off-site testing, additional off-site laboratory work, emergency room visits, and dental visits.

So this could add up.

But is Foley really in treatment just for alcoholism (which, of course, many doubt he has)? I can't help noting that Sierra Tucson has a Program for Sexual and Trauma Recovery, which

provides integrated treatment for individuals suffering from the effects of abuse and trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or sexual addiction/compulsivity. These individuals may also be chemically dependent and/or have coexisting psychiatric diagnoses.

(That, by the way, is slightly more expensive -- it has a base cost of $1285 per day.)

All this sounds about as pleasant as this sort of thing can be -- the alcohol program "may include ... Equine-Assisted Therapy [and] Adventure Therapy," while the sexual and trauma recovery program includes "A weekly Therapeutic Group, which is facilitated with Equine-Assisted Therapy, Climbing Wall, or Challenge Course."

(Click for a larger version of a photo collage from the Sierra Tucson site.)

I should note that the federal health plan has mental health parity, which means the deductibles for this aren't higher than they deductibles for other kinds of care. My company plan, which is very good in most respects, doesn't have parity, and I bet yours doesn't, either -- if you have a health care plan at all.

(Via Democratic Underground.)

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