Mike Corthell

Mike Corthell
Editor & Publisher at Fryeburg Free Press MEDIA

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What's next for Lakeview Neurorehab?

December 25, 2012

The following opinion piece was written by me and published yesterday, December 24, 2012 in The Conway Daily Sun. It is blunt and it is condemning. Why did I write it? To sound the alarm, to brighten the spotlight, to inform the public and our politicians - to make change happen at a neurological rehabilitation hospital that can quite honestly be, if it was managed and operated properly, the premier center for the care and rehabilitation of the brain injured  It could be the best of the best. It could be but why isn't it? Read on after my op/ed...

What I found at Lakeview Neurorehab was a nightmare 

To the editor, In the fall of 2010 I needed a job after my business failed. I had a background in human services. I also had an interest in brain injury. Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center and Specialty Hospital in Effingham, was hiring rehabilitation specialists. I applied and was hired on Dec. 27, 2010. I went there to learn about how to care for brain injured people. What I found was a nightmare — a ‘Stephen King’ like horror show.
Fueled by the love of money.A for-profit health care center that on a regular basis cannot or will not protect, defend or rehabilitate its patients.
As they so glibly advertise: ‘It’s About Life! But it is not. It is about money. It is about treating patients like ‘assets’, banks of money they can keep embedded in their “health care” system. Granted, many patients at Lakeview are difficult patients — the patients many other facilities would rather not have but, these are people who are loved by their families. They are people who are damaged, who are struggling to recover.They want help. They want to live. They want to leave Lakeview in better condition than when the were admitted. Many do not and some die there.

I spent the last two years documenting their plight. I have written a book celebrating their lives and exposing their pain and suffering but I also write about their spirit — the hopes they have and their sense of humor, a sense of humor that is surprising in it’s pathos.

I have always had a deep and abiding love for humanity. This experience has deepened it further, much further than I thought possible.

I love all of my patients. I will not allow a single patient at Lakeview to be mistreated again without justice. I stand up for them ... I am their voice.
Mike Corthell Fryeburg, Maine 

Lakeview is privately owned corporation. It is a for-profit business. I will say, right off the bat, that it needs to have no profit motive what-so-ever. The mind of money should not enter into any treatment plan for any of my patients. I've seen patients who are well moneyed either by family wealth or insurance settlement, be treated better - given more privileges than say a fellow patient funded by Mainecare.

I have witnessed corporate greed during my time at Lakeview. Several therapists have been observed allegedly filling out paperwork to charge 'group time' out to insurance companies, including Mainecare for services not actually delivered. And for instance, a clinician or therapist will have a group of say sixteen clients watch a movie (this is a 'movie group') The clinician can only write four reports (Notes) used to charge the insurance company, therefore three other staff members are needed to write a report detailing the patients participation in the 'movie group'. Oftentimes the clinician will enlist a staff person that wasn't even there for the 'movie group'! The clinician will say, ''Here are four patients (hands the staff person a paper with four names) write a report for each client.'' 

I have also seen a clinician take a large binder with blank reports home over the weekend. We can only wonder if the therapist took proper notes to complete the paperwork that is essentially a bill for services.

The preceding is just a snapshot of what is wrong with a for-profit Lakeview. There is so much more detail I can add about the mismanagement there, from a non existent employee retention policy/program to poor facility maintenance and building code violations. 

The greatest problem I see is not just the low staffing levels but the very real consequences for said low staffing - the danger to patients if there should ever be a major fire in 'Main House', a thirty-three bed institution at 244 Hihgwatch Road in Effingham New Hampshire.  Many patients are bedridden, unable to help themselves. Others are in wheelchairs and need help getting into their wheelchairs. Still others do not have the cognitive ability to remove themselves from the building.

If any of these issues concern you as a citizen, as a caring human being, join me and voice your concern. Call, email your local and state representatives.  Call or write the attorney general, the department of health and human services in Concord New Hampshire. But above all discuss this with your friends and family. Brain injury either traumatic or acquired is all too common. Would you like your mom, dad, sister, brother or child treated in the way I've described here? I think not. 

Now is the time to speak up and speak out. Lakeview has to change and changing to a non-profit company is a good first step.


Jww said...

I would like to contact you for a personal matter. Is your email address online

Jww said...

I would like to contact you for a personal matter. Is your email address online

Anonymous said...

I just brought my fiance there, he is the highest functioning adult there. Then I stumbled upon your article, and now blog. It is 2014 has much changed there? Some of the people there are very physical. Upon arrival we watched as a counselor attempted to calm a patient, as the patient continually slapped her in
the face, and then fell to the floor to try to take her clothes off (the patient). So far it seems that there is some good and some bad. I did not know it was a for profit facility. Now, knowing that is a game changer for me. I also stumbled (okay procrastinating) help wanted ads...the turn over must be high. Do you have an email, I really would like to talk with you. Please. My fiance has been through so much Thank y ou

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Insurance fraud...rape....neglect...and abuse. What about the constant unreported issues? Hell, a full syringe of heroin and cotton was found in a staff bathroom in one of the cabins a few weeks ago?? Shockingly it was swept under the rug quickly because the state investigation is going on. No one was charged or drug tested from that cabin. HOW DISGUSTING!!
There are MANY wonderful staff....unfortunately there are also some bad ones.
I too have been cocerned about signing "contact notes" to bill for things already paid for ,or made up therapy. Needless to say...my services are no longer needed. The head of HR was more than happy to tell me so ;-)
You can be a junkie and work here, but God forbid you voice your opinions or show up late because you are overworked and under appreciated.
This is my opinion....and I do plan to share it as often as possible.

Anonymous said...

↑↑↑ concerned* ↑↑↑ Oops
Btw, Mike...thanks for getting the word out.

Anonymous said...

I also agree with Mike. The owners of Lakeview do not care about the clients or staff, they only care about how much money they can put in their pockets. The Maine Care billing is a scam. They do have the staff make up groups to bill for. Most of the groups are just clients sitting there and they are being billed for this. Maine Care should do a "real' audit of the contact notes and see what they are paying for. They have to put "Wellness Group" in the group name and all that means is they are billing for toileting, bathing and giving them meals, all which they pay for anyway. They are being double billed. They even bill for taking them to the doctors and writing that it was a "community outing". This place should be closed down. Now that there are no more inspectors there checking things out, the staffing levels have dropped down to unsafe levels. No one should admit their loved ones there. Please find a safer place for them.

Anonymous said...

Lakeview also would lie on their "is docs" The intensive supervision documentation. RS would fill in peoples names who clearly were not on the specific resident. From my knowledge, that's one of the ways lakeview was getting paid too