Seasons of Hope, a mental health care provider based out of Chubbuck, recently had its provider status restored. The company was essentially shut after allegations of fraud arose in March. The Idaho department of health and welfare alleged that Seasons of Hope had committed fraud. Overpayments and civil penalties added up to $550,000 due to be paid to the government. This left the company in shambles.
CEO Dr. Heath Sommer had this to say, “We want to look forward and be optimistic. We know that we need to look closer at how this occurred and why this occurred. We need to make sure that there is feedback for the people who represent us in the state, so that other providers have a healthy relationship with the state and so that the department itself can learn from this.”
Dr. Sommer acknowledged that his reputation as well as that of seasons of hope was under attack during this investigation. That makes him appreciate that much more the support that he did receive.
He noted that, “For every 1 or 2 people that you could classify as more disgruntled, there were at least 7 or 8 who have come forward and said, we’re behind you and we believe in you. Overall our resolve and appreciation of human nature has increased. There are so many good people out there who silently all along the way said good luck, we’re cheering for you.”
Dr. Sommer feels that a lot of the challenges that were faced on both sides could have easily been avoided.
“Why could we have not discussed this, why would you not take time to pick up the phone and ask a few questions. I think that government should be about supporting business and supporting people to know what to do, not surprising business,” Sommer said.
Dr. Sommer added that getting his business going again will be easier said than done.
“The reality is that even though we are very grateful for the outcome that we have, this has been a devastating thing so we have to learn bill by bill and month by month and see what we can do to regrow again,” Sommer added.
Ultimately Dr. Sommer is walking away from this with more direction for his business and his family.
“Were a good business, just like we thought that we were and I think that we were pretty open from the beginning that this was something that the department got wrong. As far as the business there’s always quality assurance and stuff like that that we're gonna look at but at the family level its having longer hugs and longer prayers.