Nessel warns residents about potential substance abuse patient brokering scheme

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel warns those seeking treatment for substance abuse disorder that the contact phone number for Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services they find online may not actually connect them to that facility. An attorney for Pine Rest has notified the Department of Attorney General that patients have been improperly diverted to out-of-state facilities by contacts reached at phone numbers purported online to be for Pine Rest. Pine Rest has issued its own press release alerting the public to the ruse. 

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services is a mental health care service provider located in West Michigan. The facility provides an array of mental health services, including outpatient counseling, inpatient mental health care, and inpatient detoxification services.

Administrators at Pine Rest believe third-party patient brokers and/or other mental health care service providers, either separately or in conspiracy with each other, have created fraudulent internet web advertisements that falsely identify themselves as Pine Rest with a non-Pine Rest telephone number. When patients or prospective patients search the internet for Pine Rest, usually on their cell phones, the fake advertisement appears in the search results. The prospective patients call the associated number and instead make contact with a “patient broker.”

The brokers on the other end of the line falsely identify themselves as being affiliated with Pine Rest, declare that Pine Rest has no beds or appointments available, and then attempt to divert the patients to another mental health service provider, often out-of-state and sometimes as far as California, to receive services.

The Department of Attorney General is investigating the situation. 

“This appears to be a cruel scheme targeting those suffering from substance abuse disorder, striking treatment-seeking victims in a moment of courage, when they’ve finally sought professional help,” said Nessel. “This scam heaps fake hurdles to mental health assistance upon already vulnerable individuals and could further burden them with significant unnecessary costs if they can afford to get the recommended out-of-state help. For those who could afford treatment close to home but not expensive out-of-state options, they may be deterred from treatment permanently.

That is especially egregious and cruel when the treatment they seek is potentially lifesaving substance abuse services. My office will investigate these allegations thoroughly and bring all appropriate charges if laws have been broken.”

The real Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services contact phone number is 800-678-5500. More information about Pine Rest’s services can be found on its website at 

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