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Sovereign Health Palm Desert Defends Itself Against Allegations

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Palm Desert, CA -

Today Sovereign Health Palm Desert spoke out allegations of insurance fraud by former employees is one big misunderstanding and a current patient agrees.

"I was terrible. This is my ninth rehab," said John Devenny, a current patient at Sovereign Health. "I was in and out of jail, just a mess," he added.

Related: Former Sovereign Health Employees Speak Out

Devenny said he was addicted to heroin for eight years, and Sovereign Health changed his life.

"I'm not using anymore. I'm 6 months clean. I have a job. I'm not out there committing crimes," he explained. 

Several former patients told KMIR they believe the company is committing insurance fraud. However, Sovereign Health Palm Desert said they have nothing to hide.

"We're not committing any fraud here. I think what's been bothering us is we wake up every morning and we really want to help all these people," said Leonard Kienzle, the senior manager of operations at the Palm Desert location.

Several former patients said Sovereign Health made empty promises. But Kienzle said the allegations aren't true. 

"You hear that often from unhappy, unsatisfied patients, and disgruntled workers," Kienzle said.

Jessa Huber, a Next Step counselor at Sovereign Health, said treatment is a two-way street.

"When you come into treatment, it's what you do for yourself," she explained. "So if they left and they didn't think that they didn't get enough, maybe they just didn't try for themselves," she said.

Some former patients feel they were being overcharged. One says they were being charged over $3,500 dollars a day for urine analysis. 

But Kienzle said the Palm Desert location does not handle billing.

"Those are administrative or billing or insurance type issues that are sent to our corporate office," he said.

After the raids, the company's CEO referred to the FBI as "jack-booted thugs." Kienzle defended the statement.

"Our CEO takes this very, very seriously, how we treat out patients, what their perspective, what their perception, what their experience is, and I think he vocalized that," Kienzle said about the statement.

Devenny wants people to know that Sovereign Health helped pull him out of his darkest moments.

"It makes me feel better. I don't have to count on anybody for anything," he said.

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