Seasons of Hope, a mental health care facility in Southeast Idaho, was closed down by the Department of Health and Welfare due to allegations concerning over 400 hundred thousand dollars in Medicaid fraud. Monday Dr. Heath Sommer, the owner of Seasons of Hope, gave an official response to the media regarding these allegations. Summer Joy was there and has more.
Dr. Sommer says that since being closed down one week ago, Seasons of Hope's staff and volunteers made up of former employees have worked around the clock to help secure participant files and coordinate referrals.
"My first reaction was I saw my little four year old sitting there on a chair and I thought about my family because the company is getting wiped out. It was a big shock, we knew things were getting looked out and as far as I know we were told that we would have been given a chance to respond to it. But we just found out that it was frozen and it was shut down immediately," said Jon Shaffer, an Employee with Seasons of Hope.
Both previous employees and the owner feel like this allegation is unfounded.
"I will say, however, that the last week of work and research has only strengthened our resolve that we are and were an ethical company, with hard working emplyees who tried their best to provide services to the indigent, underinsured, and chronically ill," said Dr. Heath Sommer, the Owner of Seasons of Hope.
"I 100 percent don't believe the allegations are true. The fact that they put the word fraud in there blows my mind. I have been here almost since the beginning and I know these guys and they would openly talk about taking the ethical road even though it wouild cost more money. It just blows my mind that these guys would have that kinds of allegation put on them," added Shaffer.
On Tuesday, April 9th, Carter's Clubhouse facility in Chubbuck will be open for former clients to utilize for free over the next three weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
"Many former clients suffer from illnesses where abrupt change is emotionally and physically traumatic, and we hope this will offer them a sense of stability and comfort as they transition toward new treatment at a different facility," added Dr. Sommer.
The clinical psychologists are also offering their time, free of charge to offer support and referrals on April 9 from 10:00am to 12:00pm and April 11 from 3:00 to 5:00. In addition Seasons of Hope is offering a food package for their displaced employees on April 11 from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
"We wish to express our appreciation to the hundreds of citizens, patients, families, and friends who have flooded our phones and emails with support. We also wish to thank the good business citizens of Idaho townships who have worked with us in such a kindhearted manner during this time of crisi. We wil continue to work on the defense of our cause and look forward to being heard on this matter," said Dr. Sommer.
If you have questions you can call their corporate headquarters and if you have a request for patient files send it to the Seasons of Hope office.