Treatment Facility Employees Continue to Leave after Lack of Pay

Treatment Facility Employees Continue to Leave after Lack of Pay

Max Rodriguez

The Sovereign Health administration offices in Palm Desert sit mostly empty after 150 of its employees left the job from lack of pay.

Richard Noble is a drug addiction behavior counselor and he said he is going into eight weeks without pay.

Noble said, “My dad helped me out yesterday, I needed to pay rent, today is rent day it is also payday, I don’t have a paycheck.”

But this is not the first time KMIR News learns about the paycheck discrepancies, last month a handful of employees claimed they had been working without pay. KMIR News contacted the Sovereign Health corporate office in May and a spokesperson said the paycheck delays are due to a transition of a third party Billing and Collection vendor. They said the transition would delay payroll for a week, but that was a month ago and Noble has not received a paycheck.

He said all he has heard from corporate is, “They’re just like hold on, hold on it’s going to be next week.” 

The manager for the local Sovereign Health Office said the branch lost about 80 percent of its employee, but he said the problem traces back to the FBI raid in June over claims of insurance fraud.

The manager wished to remain unnamed but he said on-going litigation between Sovereign Health and Health-net insurance have left employees without pay.

Noble said, “Unfortunately those measures take a little bit longer than my bills coming up.”

But he said this is not only a problem for the company, he said it is an issue that affects the entire rehabilitation industry.

Noble said, “I think it is time to unionize labor for treatment industry, clinicians do not have a labor union and we don’t have people fighting for us and I think it is time and if companies don’t want to treat their labor force right, then we strike.”

Noble said he filled a wage claim from the state but that could take months, and as for his pending paychecks, he has not been able to get a direct answer from upper management.

The Sovereign Health’s corporate offices did not respond to KMIR New’s multiple interview requests for this story.