Wednesday, July 13, 2005

LIA/R breaks one of G-d's pesky commandments

Depending on what religion you are and the bible you read, the folks at LIA/R broke that commandment G-d had against lying. You see, LIA/R executive director John Smid is now claiming the group doesn't provide psychological, drug or alcohol counseling but it does help people "overcome homosexuality through faith in Jesus Christ." A quick check to the group's web-site and the language under "Basics" certainly implies a clinical/therapeutic program steeped in a faith-based enviroment [emphasis added]
Refuge is a ministry designed to be a safe place for young people and their families to find true freedom from addictions through the power of Jesus Christ. At this time Refuge is an outpatient program for young men and women ages 13-18. Refuge is designed to minister to adolescents struggling with broken and addictive behaviors such as…
-Drugs and alcohol
-Sexual Promescuity

Refuge promotes change among clients through the use of theraputic groups, individual counseling and family support. The effectivness of Refuge is greatly increased when the participants are willing to work with their counselor and parents, follow the program structure, study the materials, and build relationships.
The implication of a clinical program is heightened by the description of how Refuge was started
Refuge was developed by a variety of professional and lay counselors as well as youth workers and ministers. The tools that have proven to be successful from the various experiences of these individuals are combined into one treatment program for adolescents.
in conjunction with web site statements indicating that LIA/R
"has licensed counselors and provides services related to alcohol and drug addiction on site."
The new claim they are simply a faith-based ministry was something I fully expected when word leak that the state of Tennessee was investigating them for operating a mental health facility without a license. I certainly hope that part of the ongoing investigation includes a check of their accounting and financials to evaluate submission and/or reimbursement for services from any health insurance company. According to former LIA/R administrator Tommy Corman

Corman said that he has helped clients convince insurance companies to cover the costs of the program.

I believe Smid has made similar statements, which not only undermines their claim they provide only religious services and shows they are not appropriately licensed, it shows they've committed insurance fraud (the costs of which get passed on to consumers).

On a disconcerting front, Zach's father has decided to take a swing back at those criticizing the LIA/R program at CBN, where he is identified by first and last name. More info from Terence & EJ.

click here to search all DF posts related to Zach/LIA

UPDATE: The state of Tennessee doesn't seem to have a state insurance fraud bureau, so I sent an email to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud to find out if a claim can be paid for mental health treatment without a clinical diagnosis and/or for religious ministery services, and if LIA/R's assistance in obtaining reimbursement for their services constitutes fraud.

State of TN Insurance Division web-site

UPDATE 14Jul05 (6:53pm): I just received the following response from the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.
If this group is unlicensed and is billing as a licensed medical provider, it likely would be violating state fraud laws. Unfortunately Tennessee does not have a fraud bureau to report such crimes to.
Regardless of what you think about their ministering to correct gay teens in the error of their way, insurance fraud hurts all law abiding consumers.

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