This is a  staff list for Outback Therapeutic Expeditions in Lehi, UT

(we are working to acquire the complete records for ALL years)

 

We advise current and/or former staff to report any abuses you may have witnessed while working at the Outback Therapeutic Expeditions.  For information on your rights and how to take action, visit www.heal-online.org/blowthewhistle.htm.  If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, you have the right to take action. 

 

If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, please contact info@heal-online.org if you remember the long-term employees and from which years.  This will help!   Also, if you recognize any of these staff as having worked at another program, please send in any information about their past or present employment at other facilities and/or cults.

 

Please do not place your loved one in this program and remove them if they are there now.

 

Name

Unit/Position

Additional Information
Erin Peeples Finance Manager Erin Peeples holds no professional licenses in Utah.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Stevie Rice Office Asst. Rice holds no professional licenses in Utah.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Jeannie Thalman Office Manager Thalman holds no professional licenses in Utah.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Arwynn Harris-Jensen Admissions Harris-Jensen holds no professional licenses in Utah.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Paul Spallino Intake Coordinator Spallino holds no professional licenses in Utah.  He is not a licensed therapist, psychologist, social worker, nor counselor.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Richard Meeves Executive Director Meeves is no longer with Outback and is now Director of Clinical Services for CRC Health, Outback's parent company.  Meeves is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Utah and has been since 1997. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
McKay Deveraux Field Director Deveraux holds no professional licenses in Utah.  Deveraux is not a licensed therapist, psychologist, social worker, nor counselor.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Andrew Powell Executive Director Formerly Field Director.  Executive Director as of September 27th, 2011.  Powell is not a licensed therapist, psychologist, social worker, nor counselor.  Powell holds no mental health or therapeutic professional licenses in Utah.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Conor Powell Assoc. Field Director Powell holds no professional licenses in Utah.  Powell is not a licensed therapist, psychologist, social worker, nor counselor.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Ryan Anderson Field Therapist There are too many Ryan Anderson's registered under various professions including burglar alarm installation, plumbing, engineering, and accounting in Utah to determine whether or not this particular Anderson is licensed in any profession.  HEAL would require Anderson's middle name/initial to narrow down the search for results.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Neal Christensen Clinical Director Neal Eric Christensen (may be a different person) is a licensed psychologist in Utah and has been only since September, 2009.  Christensen earned his degree at the University of Kansas in 2008.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Tim Lowe Field Therapist Timothy Allen Lowe (may be a different person) is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Utah and has been since 1997.  He earned his degrees at Brigham Young University and Loma Linda University.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html 
Sandy Smith Field Therapist Sandy Jo Smith (may be a different person) is a licensed clinical social worker in Utah and has been since October, 2008.  The licensed Smith earned degree at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Tracy Schrunk Therapist Tracy Rae Schrunk (may be a different person) is a licensed clinical social worker in Utah and has been since March, 2002.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Brandon Park Therapist Brandon Birg Park (may be a different person) is a licensed medical doctor in UT and has been since April, 2012.  But, he is not a licensed Ph.D., psychologist, or in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
*(Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices.  Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience.  Thank you for your help.)
This program uses the same Positive Control Systems' model as Eagle Ranch Academy and WWASPS.
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is an Aspen Education Group program.  Thomas J. Croke, Educational Consultant, has denounced Aspen Education Group for putting profits over the safety and care of children in Aspen programs.
HEAL Review: Outback Therapeutic Expeditions Enrollment Packet

(This review does not constitute legal advice and is for information purposes only.  If you need legal assistance, please contact an attorney.)

We have provided the entire enrollment packet linked above and here for those who desire further contextualization.  In this review, we will be quoting from Outback Therapeutic Expeditions' enrollment documents followed by our review of those quotes.  We will not be linking to the enrollment packet throughout the remainder of the review and advise those who desire further contextualization to open the packet in a separate window while reading through the review.

Enrollment Packet Page 1 Quotes

"Once you have submitted the application (whether online or faxed), we will review the information to ensure that Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is an appropriate placement for your child.  This process can be accomplished within 24 hours."

"Keep in mind the average stay at Outback is 6-8 weeks."

"Outback will provide all clothing and gear necessary during your child's stay.  The only items needed from you are:"

"Prescription Eyewear...Glasses are required.  Contacts are not appropriate because of dust, smoke, etc.  Please send the glasses in a protective case.  Talk to your admissions counselor with any concerns."

"Two (2) disposable cameras"

"Please leave all items such as jewelry, electronics, cell phones, etc...at home"  [Quotes end on page 2]

HEAL Questions/Concerns

It is inappropriate for any program to accept a child without having met the child and evaluated the child and family.  It is highly likely that the only review of information being accomplished in 24 hours is a credit check to make sure the program will be paid.

HEAL included the average length of stay in order to address the expected costs of the program.  This will be addressed below.

Some wilderness programs claim they "rent" things such as toothbrushes and toothpaste.  Children should be allowed to bring their own hygiene supplies as sharing or re-using such supplies is disgusting and contrary to proper hygiene standards.  This is also true regarding underwear.  Does Outback re-use toothbrushes and/or underwear?

If dust and smoke are common irritants to which children are exposed, are sunglasses or other protective eye-gear provided by Outback?  What about bandanas or face-protection from breathing in toxins/irritants? 

Do children own the photos they take or does Outback order prints and keep the photos for its own purposes?  If Outback keeps the photos or retains rights to photos taken with a child's own property, this is a concern.

Jewelry and other expensive/sentimental items are often stolen or found to be missing after staff have searched an enrolled child.  It is a good idea not to send your child, or any other items, you wish to be kept in good condition and returned by this program.

Enrollment Packet Page 2 Quotes

"Outback works on a daily rate of $465.00/day with $2000 one time enrollment fee.  Payment for the initial 42 days along with the enrollment feed is due upon your student's arrival to Outback."

"If your child requires an inhaler, you must send two (2) inhalers.  If your child requires more than one kind of inhaler, please send two (2) of each."

"If the therapist is unavailable he/she will return your call within 24 hours.  During this call you will schedule your weekly update calls, discuss specific expectations and begin the therapeutic process."

"Please purchase and read the book "Leadership and Self Deception" by the Arbinger Institute."

"When writing this letter, please keep in mind some of the principles discussed in Leadership and Self Deception.  List the specific behaviors that led to your placement decision, and include a brief paragraph at the end of the letter that contains a list of your child's strengths.  Your Outback therapist will assist you with the final crafting of the Placement Letter once your child arrives at Outback.  Please discuss this project during your first scheduled parent/therapist phone call."  [Quotes end on page 3]

HEAL Questions/Concerns

An 8-week stay at this program is $26,040 + the $2000 enrollment fee.  That makes the total for an 8-week stay in the program $28,040.  This would make the annual cost, if a child were enrolled for one year, $156,240 + the $2000 enrollment fee.  That would make the cost of one year $158,240.  That is more than three times the cost of Harvard tuition with room and board for one year.  "Harvard University will increase tuition next school year by 3.8 percent, the school announced yesterday, bringing the annual cost of a Harvard education, including room and board, to $50,724." (Source: boston.com, March 19th, 2010)  Harvard University tuition includes counseling services, room, board, and an Ivy League education.  It also includes costs for campus security, dorm monitors, and more.  As we go through this review, you will see that all of the liability for any injuries or deaths is placed on the family and that Outback accepts no responsibility nor liability, even for its own misconduct.  This means that the extraordinary cost is not to cover extraordinary insurance costs associated with the program.  It does not carry such insurance and does not assume any responsibility for the children enrolled in its program. 

In addition, Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is owned by Bain Capital which donates millions of dollars to Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns.  So, if you do not support Mitt Romney as a candidate, you should certainly avoid giving over $100,000 to his company and by way, inadvertently finance his campaigns.

It is unlikely that a wilderness program is appropriate for children with allergies and/or asthma.  HEAL would advise against placing any child with allergies or asthma in a wilderness program.  And, we find it somewhat unconscionable that Outback would accept children with such health issues.

Make sure you check with the department of licensing to make sure your "therapist" is a licensed mental health provider.  We have found that many programs, including those run by Aspen, mislead the public with the titles and claims made about their staff and staff qualifications.  We do our best to keep the staff information up-to-date on our site.  But, you should still be aware that this is an ongoing issue.

What is the "Leadership and Self Deception" book?  What is the Arbinger Institute?  "Leadership and Self Deception" is intended for executive management professionals as a way of dealing with their staff.  This is not the way one should run their family and it raises serious concerns that Outback sees the family as a corporation and not a community inter-dependent individuals with varying responsibilities, some which are legal requirements depending on age and role in the family.  For a critique of "Leadership and Self Deception", click here.  We have also included some excerpts from the aforementioned critique below as written by R. Preston McAfee: (Source: http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/LDS.html)

"It is peculiar that the book is written not by a person but by an institute. One expects a book by an institute to be akin to a design not just by a committee, but a very large committee. Anyone who has read a European Union report knows how dreadful institutional writing can be. Length is proportional to the number of contributing authors, thoughtfulness inversely proportional. A camel is a duck designed by an institute. So either The Arbinger Institute is a very small institute or, more plausibly, there is a Mr. The A. Institute. Perhaps The is an abbreviation of Theodore..."

"There are a number of points where the book’s story strains credibility. Tom eventually recognizes that he has contributed to the problems in his family which leads him to bring home barbecue. Improbably, this simple act spawns his best family night in decades. Either the problems weren't as deep as portrayed or he's deluding himself about the success. And that is the problem with delusions – just when you think you have finally woken up from a nightmare, you find yourself naked in your elementary school classroom, or bringing home barbecue."

"Self-justification is referred to as being "in the box," a somewhat unfortunate choice of phrase owing to several alternate meanings. It would have been better to use Jimi Hendrix's term, "a room full of mirrors," which better captures the fact that the box is focused on the self, and that the outside world has been caricatured into cartoons."

"At this point it is worth asking, which the book just assumes, whether people who have removed the blinders of convenient beliefs and self-justification, and who see people as they really are, actually make better managers. Unfortunately, with this question we slam into research that strongly suggests that depressed people have a more accurate view of the world than the rest of us. Indeed, seeing the world the way it really is may be a recipe for depression. Thus, while this question is not settled, seeing the world clearly may not be the business boon assumed in the book.  For a really nice summary with references, see this site."

"The book contains few actionable insights. Indeed, it says it is about thinking differently, not necessarily behaving differently. Behavior may change as you think differently, but need not. The emphasis on thinking differently, with no implications for behavior, is frustrating and glib. It is a lot easier to fire the underperforming operator of workstation 6 than Bill, whose son has cystic fibrosis. It may be true that when you fire #6, you have fired Bill, but it is a lot easier to fire #6. Doctors are lampooned for the way they refer to patients – the appendix in room 117 – but it may actually help them do their jobs clearly and impartially. To say that a manager can resist excuses equally well after appreciating the humanity of the workforce is at best misleading and probably a self-justifying whopper on the authors’ part."

After reviewing the above review of the recommended book, HEAL recommends against it.  It is not a parenting manual.  It is not a therapeutic device to aid struggling families.  And, even with its intended purpose of helping executives become better managers it appears to miss the mark.  So, HEAL would advise against using this book as a tool in developing appropriate parenting and communication skills for dealing with family members.

Now, we will take a closer look at The Arbinger Institute.  It was referenced in the above quotes from the critique of the book.  But, a further examination is in order.  It appears to be a self-help scam.  If you visit their website at arbingerinstitute.com, you will see they do not list any staff or founders on their "About Us" page.  They claim to offer worldwide training and education regarding "self-deception", but, do not provide rudimentary information regarding their own staff or credentials.  On their "contact us" page they do list a number of individuals to contact and show they are headquartered in Utah.  The listed names found throughout their website are as follows:

C. Terry Warner (Founder):  C. Terry Warner is not a licensed professional in Utah.  Warner is not a licensed therapist, counselor, social worker, nor psychologist.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html

Heather Fullmer (Contact for Arbinger HQ):  Fullmer is not a licensed professional in Utah.  Fullmer is not a licensed therapist, counselor, social worker, nor psychologist.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html

Michael Lazan (Organizations Training & Consulting):  Lazan is not a licensed professional in Utah.  Lazan is not a licensed therapist, counselor, social worker, nor psychologist.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html

Jon Benfer (Executive Education & Coaching):  Benfer is not a licensed professional in Utah.  Benfer is not a licensed therapist, counselor, social worker, nor psychologist.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html

Jon Memmott (Conflict Resolution & Mediation): Memmott is not a licensed therapist, counselor, social worker, nor psychologist.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html  Memmott is legal counsel for The Arbinger Institute.  And, he is an active member of the Utah State Bar Association and has been since 1977.

Nancy Smyth (Parenting Program, Coach-by-Phone): Smyth is not a licensed professional in Utah.  Smyth is not a licensed therapist, counselor, social worker, nor psychologist.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html

Based on the above, HEAL strongly recommends you do not get taken by these fools who want to take your money, not help your family.  And, we suggest you do not take parenting advice based on executive training seminars.  Your family is not a corporation.  And, your children are not your employees. 

Enrollment Packet Page 3 Quotes

"Each week you can send letters to your child via FAX (877)303-8458, or email, mail@outbacktreatment.com ...Any letters your child may have written to you will be faxed to you on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday mornings."

"In addition to your weekly phone calls, Outback offers a parent workshop seminar you will be asked to attend once during your child's stay...Although it is not required, Outback strongly recommends you attend this workshop.  Please discuss the details of the seminar and your visit with your therapist."

"Your therapist is available to you via e-mail.  However, because of field time and additional time away from the office, there may be delays in response time."

"The gear provided by Outback is the student's to keep.  This will be shipped home within 1 week of completing the program."

HEAL Questions/Concerns

It is a serious concern that Outback censors and monitors all communications between children and their parents.  This is a red flag of an abusive program and one of our primary warning signs listed at www.heal-online.org/warn.htm

HEAL advises parents to scrutinize any seminars you may attend.  These seminars are often run in a "Large Group Awareness Training" format and use sleep deprivation, intimidation, and/or other tools to create suggestibility in those subjected to the "process".  This is a serious concern.

HEAL had difficulty verifying the professional licensing of any of the "therapists" working at Outback.  It has been our experience in researching similar programs that most "therapists" are not properly licensed.  This is a serious concern. 

Given the extraordinary costs associated with the program, keeping the gear may seem like a "fair" exchange.  However, this is really not the case and since Outback is not insured to cover negligent or intentional harm caused by its program or staff, the costs do not appear to be reasonable.  This is an additional concern.

Enrollment Packet Page 4 Quotes

"This agreement ("Agreement") is entered into by and between Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (hereinafter "Outback"), operating Outback, an outdoor adolescent therapy program, which is described in the program materials that Sponsor has received previously and which is made a part of this Agreement by reference (the "Program") and the parent(s) and/or guardian(s) of the Student (herein after the "Sponsors")__________(names).  Sponsor's address is _____________ and phone is: __________________.  In consideration of the mutual promises set forth in this Agreement, Outback and Sponsor (hereinafter the "Parties") mutually agree as follows:"

"Sponsor acknowledges and agrees that Outback's conditional acceptance of the Student is subject to the personal evaluation and screening process conducted by Outback prior to completion of the Assessment phase of the Program.  If the Student satisfies Outback's screening criteria, Outback shall accept the Student and, except as otherwise provided herein, permit the Student to complete the Program.  If the Student fails to satisfy Outback's screening criteria, the Student will be returned promptly to Sponsor.  Outback will refund Sponsor the unused prepaid tuition fee less (1) the pro-rated daily rate through the date of return, (2) a $500 evaluation/screening fee, and (3) a deduction for all reasonable expenses, including gear, incurred by Outback on behalf of the Student and/or the Sponsor prior to the Student's return."

"Assuming the Student is accepted into the Program, the term of this Agreement shall be for the student's entire stay (a minimum length of stay is at least 28 days), beginning with the Student's arrival in Salt Lake City, or Lehi, Utah, as the case may be, now anticipated on __________(the "Arrival Date").  On the Arrival Date, Sponsor shall transfer, by a Power of Attorney in the form received and executed by Sponsor, temporary custody of the Student to Outback for the duration of the Agreement, unless either party terminates this Agreement prior thereto by giving written notice to the other party pursuant to the terms of this Agreement or until the Student attains the age of eighteen (18)."

"The Student is accepted with the expectation that the Student will complete the entire Program.  The Program fee is four hundred sixty-five dollars and no cents ($465.00) per day and a nonrefundable Two Thousand Dollar and no cents ($2000.00) enrollment fee."

"Sponsors are liable for the entire Program fees and any other amounts due under this Agreement.  Sponsors utilizing insurance shall remain liable for any portion of the Program fee and any other amounts due under this Agreement not paid in full by Sponsor's or Student's insurers.  Any unused portion of the student expense fee shall be refunded to Sponsor upon Student's discharge from the Program.  A cancellation received less than (7) days prior to the arrival date will result in a 50% refund.  The amount retained by Outback may, if deemed appropriate by Outback, be used as credit against any future enrollment of the Student." [Quote ends on page 5]

HEAL Questions/Concerns

Outback Therapeutic Expeditions claims to be nothing more than a limited liability company at the beginning of the contract.  It is licensed through the Utah Department of Human Services, Office of Licensing.  It is licensed as "Outdoor Youth Treatment".  Utah admits that it is difficult to provide oversight and monitor outdoor programs. 

"R501-8-23. Non-Compliance With Rules.  Due to the difficulty of monitoring outdoor programs and the inherent dangers of the wilderness, a single violation of the foregoing life and safety rules may result in immediate revocation of the license and removal of consumers from programs pursuant to General Provisions as found in R501-1."  (Source: http://www.hslic.utah.gov/docs/checklist%20-%20outdoor%20youth.pdf

The rules established by the Office of Licensing are disclaimed and responsibility for meeting the requirements of licensure are disclaimed throughout the Outback contract itself.  This is something that would appear to violate the compliance requirements and should subject Outback to revocation of its licensing.  However, it has been HEAL's experiences that many of the authorities and individuals involved in leadership at the Office of Licensing are themselves invested in the programs they are charged with monitoring.  This is a clear conflict of interest and continues to raise concerns for us at HEAL.  This is why we have created our page regarding issues with Utah at www.heal-online.org/utah.htm

Since the enrollment fee is non-refundable, why doesn't that cover the so-called "assessment/evaluation fee"?  The vague costs associated with "discharge" or removal of the child from the program raise additional concerns.

The minimum stay claimed in this section is 28 days.  This is contradicted by the 42 day stay that parents are required to pre-pay provided on page 2 of the contract (see above).  In addition, Outback reserves the right to "discharge" the child at any time (see page 7) while requiring parents to provide seven days written notice.  These terms also contradict each other.  And, it raises serious concerns regarding the legitimacy of the contract.  It appears to be an illusory and/or unconscionable contract.

Outback is a component of a larger system of programs that will seek to extend a child's wilderness or residential placement for the benefit of the parent company's bottom line.  This raises serious ethical concerns.  We bring this up because Outback requires the program be completed and only accepts children with the understanding that the program will be completed.  Should a child be removed early, it will mean Outback, and thereby Aspen Education Group, will lose a potential ongoing financial opportunity by losing the opportunity to recommend "after-care" at one of their other facilities.  A child's readiness or ability to return home should be determined by his/her parents and him/herself.  The family members are in the best position to determine the needs of the family if they communicate honestly and openly with each other and show all family members mutual respect, including children. 

It does appear to be a punitive clause to only refund 50% if a family chooses not to enroll a child and to cancel their agreement prior to arrival date.  Programs like Outback push for immediate decisions and enrollment within 24 hours of initial contact.  They claim they can accept children at any time.  And, claiming that there is a significant risk of loss for short-notice cancellations and taking a $11,765 ( 42 days @ $465/day +$2000 enrollment fee) windfall after using high pressure sales and immediate enrollment as a tactic seems unconscionable and not in-line with fair business practices.

Enrollment Packet Page 5 Quotes

"If Sponsor withdraws Student before expiration of the minimum period of enrollment (28-days) without the recommendations of the Program Director, Sponsor forfeits the remaining balance of the 28-day minimum stay plus a $2000 enrollment fee.  Any pre-payments above and beyond the minimum stay will be reimbursed to Sponsor.  Student transcripts and other documentation will not be released until all financial obligations have been met."

"In addition to the Program fee, Sponsor agrees to pay for the following expenses of the Student: transportation from the Student's current residence to Salt Lake City, or Lehi, Utah, as the case may be, and return transportation to the Student's current residence; food and lodging expenses for any holding period before commencement of the Program and/or after completion of the Program; all medical, dental, hospital, and related expenses incurred by or for the Student and all required personal items specified in the Student Clothing/Equipment List.  Sponsors are also responsible for any additional escort fees required for transporting Student to and/or from the Program to another location (i.e. airport, doctor's appointment or special event).  Sponsors are responsible for the cost of any psychiatric evaluations performed by a psychiatrist."

"Sponsor agrees to accept full responsibility for (1) the repair or replacement of any property damaged, defaced, or destroyed by the Student, whether owned, leased, or controlled by outback or any third party, and (2) any personal injury to any Outback personnel, other students or third parties caused, in whole or in part, by the Student; and to promptly reimburse Outback for any costs and expenses, including legal fees, it may incur in connection therewith."

"In the event the Student runs away from the Program, Outback will make every reasonable effort to find the Student and return the Student to the Program or to the Sponsor.  An accounting of the expenses incurred by Outback in finding and returning the Student will be made to the Sponsor who agrees to accept full responsibility for any and all such costs and expenses, and to pay the same within seven (7) days of the Sponsor's receipt of said accounting."

"Outback is not liable for any loss of or damage to any of the Student's property.  The Student is fully responsible for the same at all times."

"Sponsor agrees and consents to Outback's subcontracting certain services to be rendered under this Agreement to persons or entities deemed by Outback to be properly qualified to provide said services, at no additional cost to Sponsor unless otherwise agreed to by both parties.  Outback is not responsible for the services provided by such third-party contractors and is hereby released from any liability arising from such services.  All clinicians furnishing services to the Student, including any psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health professionals, or internists or the like, are independent contractors with the client and are not employees of Outback.  The Student is under the care and supervision of his/her attending clinician and it is the responsibility of the Student's clinician to obtain the Sponsor's informed consent, when required, for medical, surgical, or psychiatric treatment, special diagnostic or therapeutic procedures, or other services rendered the Student under the general and special instructions of the clinician."

"Sponsor acknowledges serous hazards and dangers, known and unknown, inherent in the Program, including but not limited to agricultural and vocational activities, emotional and physical injuries, illness or death that may arise from strenuous hiking, climbing and camping in a natural environment, exposure to the elements, plants and animals, running away from the Program, "acts of God" (nature), the ropes course, kayaking, water sports, stress, involvement with other students, self-inflicted injuries, and transportation to and from the Program's field location(s).  Sponsor understands that in participating in the Program Student will be in locations and using facilities where may hazards exist and is aware and appreciates the risks which may result.  Sponsor understands that accidents occur during such activities due to the negligence of others which may result in death or serious injury.  Sponsor and Student are voluntarily participating in the Programs with Knowledge of the dangers involved and agree to accept any and all risks.  In consideration for being permitted to participate in the Programs, Sponsor agrees to not sue, to assume all risks and to release, hold harmless and indemnify Outback and any and all of its predecessors, successors, officers, directors, trustees, insurers, employees, managers, agents, volunteers, community organizations, administrators, heirs, attorneys, executors, assigns and/or related or affiliated business entities including, but not limited to, Outback and Aspen Education Group (collectively all of the above persons and entities shall be referred to as the "Released Parties" hereafter) who, through negligence, carelessness or any other cause, might otherwise be liable to Sponsor or Student under theories of contract or tort law." [quote ends on page 6]

HEAL Questions/Concerns

If you change your mind about Outback after already signing the agreement, you can get 50% of your money back if you let them know at least seven days prior to the scheduled start date of your child.  But, if you remove your child from the program, you forfeit $15,020.  This agreement puts families in an awkward position and increases the risk to children by creating a circumstance in which parents would be less likely to make the wise choice of early termination of the agreement.  The best decision being not to enroll a child in the first place. 

It is a concern that the "therapeutic" services of the program are optional and appear to come at an additional cost.  This too is contradicted.  In the 2nd segment above, Outback states that Sponsor will be charged additional fees for psychiatric and psychological testing and services.  But, in the 6th segment, Outback says it will cover costs of those services included in the agreement.  This is confusing language and contradictory. 

The third segment is reasonable, or would be reasonable, if Outback's program did not intentionally provoke or cause violent or extreme outbursts by the very nature of their methods.  It is reasonable for Outback to demand parents accept liability for their child's actions resulting in damage to people or property.  But, only with the caveat that Outback is providing a nurturing environment and not provoking angry outbursts through humiliation or physical assault of the children.  Since it has been reported that such outbursts are intentionally provoked by Outback staff at times, this clause may raise concern for families.  Outback should insure against such incidents through good business practice and proper insurance that would be required of any licensed childcare program or facility.  It is wrong to solely place liability with the parents who are entrusting the supervision and care of their child to the program.  And, families should require an investigation into any incidents of this nature to insure that they are not being stuck with a bill that is not their own or their child's.

Even though Outback demands full power of attorney and custody of your child, they do not accept any responsibility in the event your child escapes the program.  Programs like Anasazi Foundation at least assume 50% of the financial responsibility in such events.  Anasazi is troublesome too and this is not an endorsement, just a comparison of fact.  Anasazi's practices in regards to such responsibility seems more appropriate or fair given the circumstances.  And, Outback's practices seem weighted primarily on financial gain with no risk for Outback and likely nothing but debt and heartache for families.

Outback is free to steal from your child as a result of the clause freeing them of liability for lost or damaged property.  Theft of personal property at programs is fairly common.  Theft of personal property at elderly-care facilities are equally as common.  It is always a good idea to keep any items of pecuniary or sentimental value safe at home, this includes your children.

In addition, Outback demands control of what "independent contractors" will be utilized and granted the fees charged for their services.  However, Outback does not take responsibility for the care provided by the contractors they deem "properly qualified".  And, since they are asking you trust their judgment in regards to choosing said independent contractors, they would arguably be liable for faults found with their judgment in the event harm or other violations occur.  But, they demand you hold them harmless if there is a problem with the subcontractor.  And, they put full responsibility on the outside or "subcontracted" clinician for the supervision and care of your child which rights/responsibilities you transferred to Aspen with the Power of Attorney, and, they likely give permission in your stead with your permission protecting everyone else from any liability for any and all harms done to your child while in Outback's program.  This seems to be an unconscionable contract with many unconscionable terms.

The above also states that risks of emotional (i.e. psychological) and physical harm are inherent to the program.  This may be true of physical harm given that exploring wilderness with limited supplies and/or improper supplies for warmth/hydration/etc. is likely to result in physical harm and is a semi-reasonable assumed risk when adventuring in such conditions.  However, psychological and emotional harm should not be an inherent risk and stating that it is reveals the harmful nature of the Outback program. 

Stating that the child is voluntarily participating in the program is an open lie and contradicted by the sections on running away/recapture and restraint covered above in the review of this page and below in review of page 7.  Again, we remind parents that they have the right to sign away their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children.  This is discussed further at www.heal-online.org/legalarguments.htm

And, repeatedly stated is that the parents waive their rights to pursue legal action even in the event of serious injury or death.  These appear to be unconscionable terms given the inherent harm in participating in the program.

Enrollment Packet Page 6 Quotes

"Sponsor intends by this Waiver and Release to release, in advance, and to waive his or her rights and discharge each and every one of the Released Parties, from any and all claims for damages for death, personal injury or property damage which Sponsor may have, or which may hereafter accrue as a result of Student's participation in any aspect of the Programs, even though that liability may arise from negligence, carelessness on the part of the persons or entities being released, from dangerous or defective property or equipment owned, maintained or controlled by them or because of their possible liability without fault.  Additionally, Sponsor covenants not to sue any of the Released Parties based upon their breach of any duty owed to Sponsor or Student as a result of their participation in any aspect of the Programs.  Sponsor understands and agrees that this Waiver and Release is binding on his or her heirs, assigns and legal representatives and that the Released Parties shall be exempt from liability to Sponsor, his or her heirs, assigns and legal representatives."

"Sponsor acknowledges that Sponsor, and Sponsor alone, is solely responsible for Student's personal health and safety, and the personal property Student brings with him or her.  Sponsor acknowledges that the medical insurance information Sponsor has provided on the Medical Form is current and complete and that Sponsor is solely responsible for procuring and maintaining all medical insurance Sponsor deems necessary and that the Released Parties have recommended that Sponsor procures and/or maintains medical insurance.  Sponsor accepts full responsibility for any cost incurred for medical treatment due to failure to procure or maintain insurance, or providing outdated or falsified insurance information.  Sponsor understands that it is ultimately Sponsor's responsibility to provide payment to any hospital/emergency response technicians/emergency transport company that may provide services to Student as a result of injury/illness during the Programs."

"Sponsor agrees that this Release extends to all claims of every nature and kind whatsoever, and hereby expressly waives all rights..."

"Sponsor agrees to indemnify the Released Parties from any and all actions, causes of action, claims, demands, damages, costs (including attorneys' fees), expenses, liabilities and charges, known or unknown (the "Liabilities") arising out of or in connection with claims and/or actions relating to or brought by or on behalf of Student, including, without limitation, claims related to or arising out of the Minor's participation in the Program."

HEAL Questions/Concerns

HEAL thinks it is important for families to understand the indemnity clauses placing them in the position to take full responsibility in the event of serious injury or death of their child in the program.  Many families have lost their children in programs similar to Outback and some of these deaths occurred in Aspen programs.  At least two children died at Aspen's SageWalk program in Oregon before it "voluntarily" suspended operations as the death(s) are investigated by authorities.  These risks are very real and parents should think if the worst happens and Outback's methods are responsible, how they will feel with nowhere to turn for justice.  Be careful and always seriously consider what you are agreeing to in signing any contract.  Again, this is not legal advice.  If you would like legal help, please consult an attorney.

Enrollment Packet Page 7 Quotes

"In the event of an accident, injury, illness, or other medical necessity, Sponsor hereby authorizes Outback to: (a) provide emergency first aid to the Student in the field and enroute to any hospital or clinic, (b) arrange for any medical, dental, psychiatric, hospital, ambulance or other health-related care for the Student deemed necessary by Outback's staff; and (c) authorize a physician, dentist or other health-care professional(s) to perform any procedure(s) that the health-care professional(s) deems necessary for the well-being of the Student.  All costs and expenses incurred for these services shall be the sole responsibility of the Sponsor.  Sponsor also authorizes Outback to arrange for a physical examination (including a drug screen urine/blood test, at Outback's option) and any psychological assessments of the Student deemed necessary by Outback prior to the Student's beginning the Program.  Sponsor also authorizes any and all medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and treatment centers that have treated or counseled the Student, and whose names Sponsor shall provide to Outback, to release all information regarding the Student's medical and/or psychological history, diagnoses and treatments to Outback upon request.  Outback shall handle all such protected health information (also "PHI") pursuant to the guidelines promulgated in the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act ("HIPAA") of 1996."

"Sponsor hereby authorizes Outback personnel to search the person and personal effects of the Student at any time, including a "strip search".  In connection with such search, Outback may, in its discretion, require Student to remove all of his or her clothing and may search Student's entire person, including body cavities in which contraband may be hidden."

"Sponsor hereby authorizes Outback personnel to physically restrain, control and detain the Student by the exercise of necessary passive restraints when deemed necessary by Outback, for purposes including but not limited to escorting the Student to and from the Program's location, returning the Student to the Program if the Student runs away, or preventing the Student from jeopardizing the Student's own safety or the safety of others."

"Sponsor hereby authorizes Outback to take and utilize the name, voice, photographs and/or videotapes or audiotapes of the Student during the Program, without any compensation to Sponsor or the Student.  Sponsor understands and agrees that these photographs and tapes of Student's acts, poses, plays, faces, person, likeness and appearance of any and all kinds and/or recording of voices (with the right to "dub" the voice of another in place of Student's) may be used in preparing promotional literature or publicity and tapes for Outback in any medium, together with instrumental, musical, and other sound effects provided by Outback.  Sponsor waives his or her and Student's rights of publicity in connection therewith."

"Sponsor hereby authorizes Outback to use data from the Students' records, tests, and assessments for purposes of ongoing research, provided that the Student's name and identity will be kept confidential and not used in any published materials."

"Outback reserves the right to terminate this Agreement at any time due to: (i) failure of Sponsor to pay any amounts due under paragraph 4; (ii) illegal, uncontrollable, or dangerous behavior by the Student; (iii) discovery of any unprompted or previously unknown physical, medical, mental, or emotional problem(s) of the Student; or (iv) for any other reason if Outback deems it necessary for the protection of the Student, any other student(s) or the integrity of Outback's Program.  In the event of any such termination by Outback after the Student has been accepted into the Program, neither Sponsor nor Student's insurer shall be entitled to a refund of any part of the Program fee or tuition." [quote ends on page 8]

HEAL Questions/Concerns

Outback is not licensed by the Department of Health in Utah.  The Utah Department of Health is charged with enforcing HIPAA.  That enforcement applies to services licensed by the Department of Health.  By implying that Outback is governed by HIPAA, Aspen Ranch appears to be misleading consumers.

Strip-searching without probable cause is a violation of the civil rights of the child.  Assuming every child, with or without a history of drug use, is in need of a strip-search is unreasonable.  Searching children at "any time" suggests such searches are used as a form of humiliation as opposed to being done for any legitimate purpose.  And, this is a serious concern.

Using restraint to detain and control the child while in the program also shows that the program is not "voluntary" for the child and that the child is forced to participate in the program through physical force.  Congress is working on legislation (i.e. HR 4247, the "Keeping All Students Safe Act of 2010") to stop these misuses of restraint in programs and schools that often result in serious injury and death.

Parents do not have the right to waive their child's right to privacy and control of the use of their photos, videos, audio-recordings.  Please see www.heal-online.org/legalarguments.htm for more information on this issue.

Outback references the use of your child and/or your child's data in "ongoing research".  What is this research and will you be made privy to all studies in which your or your child's private information will be used?  If not, why not?  Informed consent to participate in any research includes knowing the purpose of the research and the projected risks involved in participating.  This suggests possible violations of the Nuremberg Code (International Human Rights Laws) and is a serious concern.

And, of course, if for some reason Outback terminates the agreement and/or you decide it was a bad decision (with which HEAL would heartily agree) to place your child in Outback and remove him/her from the program, you lose all the money you paid to Outback.  Now, if Outback isn't, which they don't appear to be, open about the "environment" they create for the children which reportedly includes both physical abuse and humiliating verbal attacks, then you should be due a refund.  The comparison between the claims made in promotional materials and the "agreed to terms" of the contract may mean the difference between proving fraudulent inducement (i.e. misleading advertising and/or oral assurances of the programs safety/success rate) and assumption of risk (i.e. the terms of the enrollment agreement).  If you pulled your child from the program and believe you are due a refund, you should consult an attorney.

Enrollment Packet Page 8 Quotes

"In the event Sponsor or any authorized third party, after the Student's arrival date, withdraws the Student for any reason prior to the end of the 28-day minimum stay, neither Sponsor nor the Student's insurer shall be entitled to a refund of any part of the first 28 days of the Program."

"Outback's entitlement to and retention of the entire Program fee payable under this Agreement in the event of an early termination or withdrawal is not considered by either of the Parties to be a penalty for early withdrawal of the Student."

"Sponsor agrees to attend seminar for parents and guardians of the students conducted by Outback at the end of the Program, and to give Sponsor's full cooperation to Outback personnel throughout the Program, in order to maximize the benefits of the Program for the Student and the Sponsor.  Sponsor also agrees to read any educational materials and watch any video programs sent to Sponsor by Outback, and to fill out and return to Outback any interactive educational materials, while the Student is in the Program."

"If an escort is required to bring the Student to Utah for the Program, Sponsor agrees that any escort or escort service used by Sponsor, whether or not Sponsor is referred to the escort by Outback, is in all respects an independent contractor contracting directly with Sponsor.  Sponsor agrees that Outback bears no responsibility of any kind for any such escort service or the negligence or failure thereof."

"Sponsor warrants that the Student is a minor, both by age and as a matter of law, that the Student does not qualify under the law as an "emancipated minor," and that the laws of the Student's state of residence permit Sponsor to place the Student in the Program without the Student's consent."

"Except for the obligation to make payments when due here un-der, all other obligations under this Agreement shall be suspended for so long as one or both parties hereto are prevented from performing hereunder by acts of God/nature, the elements, acts of federal, state or local governments, agencies or courts, damage to or destruction or unavoidable shut-down of necessary facilities, or other matters beyond their reasonable control; provided, however, that any party so prevented from complying with its obligations hereunder shall promptly notify the other party thereof and shall exercise due diligence to remove and overcome the cause of such inability to perform as soon as practicable." [quote ends on page 9]

HEAL Questions/Concerns

And, of course, if for some reason Outback terminates the agreement (page 7) and/or you decide it was a bad decision (with which HEAL would heartily agree) to place your child in Outback and remove him/her from the program, you lose all the money you paid to Outback.  Now, if Outback isn't, which they don't appear to be, open about the "environment" they create for the children which reportedly includes both physical abuse and humiliating verbal attacks, then you should be due a refund.  The comparison between the claims made in promotional materials and the "agreed to terms" of the contract may mean the difference between proving fraudulent inducement (i.e. misleading advertising and/or oral assurances of the programs safety/success rate) and assumption of risk (i.e. the terms of the enrollment agreement).  If you pulled your child from the program and believe you are due a refund, you should consult an attorney.

Outback again refuses to take any responsibility for "independent contractors" to whom they refer or subject your child.  Since they are holding themselves out to families as being experts who can best govern the "treatment" of a child, they would be considered responsible, at least in part, for any harm resulting from those "expert" recommendations.  Also, does Outback receive any benefit whether financial or promotional by referring and subcontracting with those to whom they refer?  If so, why is it all benefits for Outback and all risks for families?  This contract seems to be an illusory contract with contrary and unconscionable terms throughout.  This is not the way honest people do business.

In the fifth segment above, Outback again reiterates how the program is not voluntary for the child.  So, this directly contradicts page 5 that states the child has "voluntarily" agreed to participate in the program.  This is clearly not the case.

Federal and State legislators are working to strengthen laws and impose regulations on programs like Outback.  Some States, such as New Jersey, currently have laws that make institutionalization of children without just cause in programs like Outback a criminal child abuse offense.  See www.heal-online.org/teenrights.htm for more information.  It is very possible that your State would not permit your sending your child to Outback under State laws and that by doing so you are violating the laws of your State.  Beyond this, new legislation is being introduced and considered that may outlaw programs like Outback.  This may be the purpose of including the last paragraph quoted above. 

Enrollment Packet Page 9 Quotes

"In the event that either party is found in default or material breach of any specific promise, term or condition expressly set forth in this Agreement by an arbitrator(s) or a court of competent jurisdiction, said party shall be liable to pay all reasonable attorneys' fee, court costs and other related collection costs and expenses incurred by the other party in enforcing its contractual rights hereunder in said arbitration and/or court proceeding(s).  In addition, Sponsor agrees to compensate Outback for all reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred by Outback in connection with those matters concerning which Sponsor has agreed to pay or indemnify Outback hereunder..."

"This Agreement, and all matters relating hereto, including any matter or dispute arising between the parties out of this Agreement, tort or otherwise, shall be interpreted, governed, and enforced according to the laws of the State of California; and the Parties consent and submit to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the California Courts in Los Angeles County, California, and any qualified (American Arbitration Association-approved) arbitration service in the State of California, County of Los Angeles, to enforce this Agreement.  The parties acknowledge that this agreement constitutes a business transaction within the State of California."

HEAL Questions/Concerns

The first segment above seems more a tool of intimidation to frighten you from pursuing legal action by having you agree to pay for Outback's attorneys' fees regardless of the legitimacy of your claims.  This seems unconscionable.

Also, why are disputes regarding a program in Utah being limited to California?  Since Outback chooses to conduct business in and enroll children from other states, including Utah, they should be able to be sued from the home-state of their dissatisfied clients.  If they do not wish to assume the risk of litigation outside of the state of their choice, then they shouldn't accept children from other states. 

Enrollment Packet Page 10 Quotes

"Sponsor hereby acknowledges that Sponsor has read this Agreement and that Sponsor understands and consents to all of its provisions; that this Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties hereto with respect to the subject matter hereof; and that all other prior agreements, promises, expectations and conditions, oral or written, between the parties are incorporated herein.  Other than the express commitments set forth in this Agreement and the Program description, Outback gives no warranties of any kind, express or implied, to either the Sponsor or the Student concerning the Program; and Sponsor acknowledges that Sponsor is not relying on any warranties or representations of any kind other than the express commitments of Outback set forth herein."

"The parties authorize the release of the Student's information via E-mail, fax, Internet technology, voice mail or US mail.  While every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality, Outback accepts no responsibility for the mis-transmission that could result in information becoming available to someone other than the intended receiver.  Outback shall handle all such protected health information (also "PHI") pursuant to the guidelines promulgated in the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act ("HIPAA") of 1996."

HEAL Questions/Concerns

We included the first segment above to highlight that the contract is the entire agreement.  Outback has agreed to do nothing but keep a child confined/detained until their eighteenth birthday or until the program decides they are ready to "graduate" the program.  On page 6 of the agreement, Outback allows itself freedom to breach the duties it may owe under the contract without penalty or repercussion.  And, the parents are to absolve the program and indemnify the program from any and all tort liability.  Outback guarantees nothing and offers no warranties or other consideration for the extraordinary fees they charge.  It is truly outrageous.

Also, we again see that Outback will not be liable for your private/protected health information being disclosed to unintended parties.  This again suggests that they are not regulated by HIPAA as Outback suggests in other areas of the contract.  This suggests deceptive practices.

Enrollment Packet Page 11 Quotes

"Multiply total number of days by the tuition amount of $465.00 per day, add enrollment fee of $2000.00, plus a physical examination fee ($167 for males/$182 for females), and a gear shipment fee of $50.00"

"Payment of initial 42 days is due upon enrollment, as well as a $2000 one time enrollment fee, physical examination feel and a $50 shipment of gear fee."

"Outback is unable to directly bill insurance companies and therefore requires parents to assume this responsibility independent of tuition payment.  Upon completion of your child's stay at Outback, and payment in full, you may request a therapeutic breakdown of costs for you to turn in to your Insurance Company for reimbursement purposes.  Outback does not guarantee reimbursement for expenses related to your child's stay."

HEAL Questions/Concerns

HEAL has discussed the issues with the excessive costs of this program above and throughout this review.  We will not repeat those concerns again here.  We have included the first two segments to make clear the total costs of the program upon enrollment.  These costs do not include the excluded costs of legitimate mental health care/assessments, medical care, etc.  And, it is truly excessive.  This is especially so when the contract itself appears to be unconscionable and/or illusory.

It is very likely that most insurance providers do not cover programs like Outback.  And, this is why Outback doesn't bill providers directly.  They leave it up to the families who have been misled by Outback to argue with the insurance companies over reimbursement.  "Buyer beware!"

Enrollment Packet Page 12 Quotes

"Name of Insured"

"Date of Birth"

"Social Security Number"

HEAL Questions/Concerns

Outback and/or anyone who has access to your full name, date of birth, and social security number can wreak havoc on your life and credit.  Please think seriously about whether or not Outback is a scam and whether or not you should entrust such data to them or anyone else.

Enrollment Packet Page 13 Quotes

"I understand that errors sometimes occur in the transmission of personal communications between children and parents.  I release Outback Therapeutic Expeditions from any and all liability for errors in transmission of personal communications between my child and myself."

HEAL Questions/Concerns

The concern here is that it appears to suggest that Outback, like many programs in the industry, may withhold or fail to deliver messages from a child to his/her parents and vice versa.  This is a serious concern as a child may report abuses that need immediate attention from parents.  This was also discussed above in regards to the use of fax and e-mail as the source of transmitting all communications between family members.  It creates an atmosphere where abuse will go unreported for long periods of time.  See our warning signs list at www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for additional information.

Enrollment Packet Page 14 Quotes

"Persons/Organizations authorized to send or receive the information (Please give name, address, phone and fax numbers of Educational Consultants, Clinical Professionals, Transport Agencies, and Therapeutic Schools and Programs that will be involved with you and your child during his/her stay at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions"

"All health information pertaining to any medical history, mental or physical condition and treatment received."

HEAL Questions/Concerns

Page 14 is the release form used by Outback to obtain private/health-related documents and permission to share those documents with authorized third-parties.  HEAL would like to alert you to the fact that most of the listed authorized recipients are not regulated by HIPAA and therefore not required to respect your privacy in the event such protected health information is disclosed to them.  This is a serious concern.

Enrollment Packet Page 16 Quotes

"Psychological Testing (Recommended but Optional)"

"These tests are given at an additional fee  -- billed through Psychological Testing Services."

HEAL Questions/Concerns

Outback Therapeutic Expeditions charges extra for all legitimate psychiatric and psychological assessments and treatment.  Its name suggests that it is a "therapeutic" program.  But, legitimate therapy is not included in the extraordinary costs of the program.  This is a serious concern and provides additional reason for HEAL to believe that it is nothing more than a scam.

Enrollment Packet Pages 17 and 18 Quotes

"The interstate compact on the placement of children was developed in the 1950's to ensure protection and services to children who are placed across state lines.  The Compact is uniform law that has been enacted by all fifty states.  It establishes orderly procedures for the interstate placement of children and fixes responsibilities for those involved in placing the child.  The basic intent of the law is to protect children, parents and placement facilities from the possibilities of being abandoned or placed out of state with no support of funding in place."

"Type of Care Requested"

"Other: OUTDOOR TREATMENT PROGRAM"

HEAL Questions/Concerns

HEAL does not believe that Outback Therapeutic Expeditions qualifies as a Residential Treatment Center according to laws defining "Residential Treatment Center".  Here is how the law defines "Residential Treatment Center" in relation to Interstate Compact Placement Request forms:

"Residential Treatment Center: a group care facility which provides a specific treatment program outside the realm of a medical hospital, psychiatric hospital or institution for the mentally retarded or mentally ill; e.g., a residential program for the treatment of alcohol/drug abuse. The receiving state is not obligated to supervise this type of placement made by the sending state." (Taken from ocfs.state.ny.us on September 20th, 2010)

Regardless, Outback is a wilderness program and utilizes the Interstate Compact.  Based on the above, this contradicts the statements made by Outback Therapeutic Expeditions that Utah will supervise and agrees to provide such supervision by receiving/recording the ICPC form.  This is a blatantly false statement as Utah has made no such agreement and/or no such agreement could reasonably be implied given that the above statement that "The receiving state is not obligated to supervise this type of placement" openly contradicts the statement made by Outback that the receiving state (Utah) is agreeing to ensure protection and services for the child.  Misleading statements, deception, and more await those looking to do business with Outback.

Enrollment Packet Pages 19-26 Quotes

"Information disclosed pursuant to this authorization could be re-disclosed by the recipient and might no longer be protected by federal confidentiality law...However, California law prohibits the person receiving my health information from making further disclosure of it unless another authorization for such disclosure is obtained from me or unless disclosure is specifically required or permitted by law." [page 25]

"If you have authorized the disclosure of your health information to someone who is not legally required to keep it confidential, it may be redisclosed and may no longer be protected.  California law prohibits recipients of your health information from redisclosing such information except with your written authorization or as specifically required or permitted by law."

HEAL Questions/Concerns

Pages 19 through 23 include Outback's alleged "Notice of Privacy Practices".  On page 24 is the signature page to acknowledge receipt of the privacy notice.  On page 23, Outback reserves the right to change its policies at any time.  And, this all seems well and good unless you've been paying attention to the release forms, waivers, and other disclaimers.

The first quote above comes from the release of information form and the second is an acknowledgement form of the terms of the release.  Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is not a licensed healthcare provider and therefore is not regulated by the Utah Department of Health which is charged with enforcing HIPAA in Utah.  This means that any promises or suggestions that Outback follows HIPAA are illusory as they are not regulated by HIPAA/Department of Health licensing agencies.  This is a serious concern and appears to be more "double-talk" on the part of Outback.

Enrollment Packet Pages 27-28 Quotes

"Omnicare"

HEAL Questions/Concerns

Outback uses Omnicare as an emergency medical care provider.  Omnicare lost a lawsuit filed by the United States of America for fraud and violating the false claims act.  Omnicare also received illegal kickbacks.  (see: US District Court, District of Massachusetts, Civil Action # 06-10149-RGS, United States of America v. Omnicare, Inc. http://www.phillipsandcohen.com/CM/NewsSettlements/United%20States%20v%20%20Omnicare%20Mariner%20et%20al%20%20complaint.pdf)  Omnicare is in trouble again (January 15th, 2010) for accepting kickbacks.

Enrollment Packet Page 29 Quotes

"Broad overview of the possible next steps and resources available to you and your child following the wilderness program."

"Information disclosed pursuant to this authorization could be re-disclosed by the recipient and might no longer be protected by federal confidentiality law (HIPAA)."

"I understand that the information to be released or disclosed may include those relating to sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS or HIV, alcohol/drug/substance abuse under 42 CFR 2.31.  I authorize the release or disclosure of this information after having specifically considering and expressly waiving those federal consent requirements and restrictions."

HEAL Questions/Concerns

This page is a jumping off point to keep your cash rolling into Aspen and/or other residential programs for which they may receive referral fees/kickbacks.  This issue was addressed above as well and it is a serious concern.  Families (including children/minor family members) should work together to decide what is best for everyone involved.  This is not a decision that should be left to those who solely seek to keep sucking money out of the family bank.  Keep this in mind.

Again, Outback disclaims that it adheres to HIPAA and specifically asks families to acknowledge that it does not or will not protect their protected health information.  This is a serious concern.

Based on the above review, HEAL advises against placing any child in Outback Therapeutic Expeditions and recommends families remove any children currently enrolled.

 

 Last Updated: May 24th, 2012

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