March 22, 2024 – Lawmakers are working to tighten the reins on fraudulent sober living homes after bad actors defrauded Arizona’s Medicaid agency out of billions of dollars. But one such bill was voted down Thursday evening in the House, while a less expansive version advanced. Over the past few years, people have been taken into sober living homes and held there while enrolled in the American Indian Health Program under the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. 

Though the facilities didn’t treat the patients, they collected many thousands of dollars a day in federal funds. 

Sen. Teresa Hatathlie (D-Coal Mine Mesa) is the Legislature’s subject-matter expert on this crisis. She sponsored the voted down bill that would have imposed stringent requirements on the licensing and regulation of behavioral health facilities, and raised the monetary penalty for violations.