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December 1976

About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment

Eye on Private Facilities

Many of these items are contrary to AA philosophy. Their publication here does not mean that the Grapevine endorses or approves them; they are offered solely for your information.

Dr. William D. Lerner, director of the Alcoholism Department at Meyer Hospital [Buffalo, N.Y.] warned, "The field of alcoholism is in a state similar to nursing-home care in the 1960's. The demand for services is high, and the regulations and ability to check on the operations are extremely low.

"Third-party money is available (from Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and other insurance programs). This makes an extremely fertile area for those in search of the fast buck. There are few mandated regulations for these facilities, and the possibility of abuses exists."

William T. Tyrell, director of inspection and certification in the (New York State] Mental Hygiene Department's Office of Evaluation & Inspection, [said,] "We rely on voluntary compliance," rioting the department's shortage of manpower to police alcoholism units, both public and private. "We can obtain cease-and-desist orders and pull their license for abuses. We do need an intermediate penalty, short of dosing them down."

He said he doubted that private interests will flock to this field, as they did to the nursing-home field, where Medicaid money covered all costs.

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