Sovereign Health Group

By The Fix staff 08/07/14

Though Sovereign's two locations may not be as aesthetically pleasing as some of the higher-end rehabs out there, each offers clients lots of choices.

Sovereign Health Group
Choose the right kind of treatment for you.
Location : San Clemente, CA
Phone : (866) 805-8780
Price : $25,000 for 30 days $2500 a day for NAD (Natural Assisted Detox)
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : Yes
Detox : Yes

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Like several other rehabs these days, Sovereign Health Group operates four locations: their flagship center in San Clemente in Orange County, CA, a newer facility in Culver City in West Lost Angeles, CA, a detox, mental health and dual diagnosis center in Palm Springs and an adolescent, dual diagnosis facility in San Diego. Each offers two treatment tracks for prospective clients—one for dual diagnosis and another for mental health—and they offer residential, PHP and outpatient.

Between their in- and outpatient programs, Sovereign Health treats between 35 and 40 patients at a time at each location. Though inpatient programs are said to last between 30 and 90 days, several alumni report that they stayed as few as 10. According to clients, Sovereign treats just as many people for addiction as they do for depression and other mental health issues. They accept residents of all ages, but most clients are reportedly between 18 and 25, with "an even mix of male and female, and a mix of races." Various income levels are represented, as are different sexual orientations.

Sovereign Health's Culver City location is composed of a corporate medical space in an office building where daily treatment takes place and a San Clemente center that’s a bit more inviting; each have several nearby homes which are gender and program-segregated. Both treatment spaces and accommodations are fairly basic—most houses accommodate six people in only two bedrooms, each with three twin beds. Houses also have two living room areas apiece and two bathrooms, which are adequate but not very big. Still, each house boasts a sufficient backyard (where residents can smoke), a volleyball net and a grill.

Each residence also has a sizable kitchen, where chefs cook lunch, which they then bring to the treatment center. While grads rate the cafeteria-style lunch as mediocre at best, they’re able to cook the other two meals (which are paid for by the center) themselves. Some noted that "meals were varied” and snacks readily available. Of course, what one likes, another dislikes so the comfort food pleased some while others complained "the food was frozen and ready-to-eat," and often less than healthy. That was reflected in alum’s list of favorites, which included pizza, Mexican food and teriyaki chicken. Least favorite for everyone were the lunch sandwiches—as one grad says, "[Would've been] nice if there was coffee here. [Would've been] nice if we had sandwiches only once per week."

Residents are responsible for making their beds and keeping communal areas clean and tidy. While one grad reported that days were "relaxed once [they] got back to the house" and  weren't too bad, disciplinary measures had mixed reactions ("There were rules?" one joked). Still, the overall consensus is that misbehavior was handled well. Sovereign Health works on a three-strike policy and establishes behavioral contracts with all clients. Each rule violation is one strike, while a relapse means being automatically phased to zero and put back in detox. Still, one alumni says, "The staff was very professional and considerate" in dealing with these instances, which were few and far between.

Treatment options include detox, frequent gym time (residents are granted temporary off-site memberships), CBT, art therapy and group yoga while San Clemente residents are also able to do equine therapy. Sovereign also offers an unorthodox NTR detox, which means saturating the brain and body with niacin and other nutrients through an IV drip (for extra money). 

Overall, Sovereign Health definitely values treatment over recreation: Days begin with a 6:30-7:30 am wake-up, gym time, breakfast and morning chores before treatment sessions begin at 10:00 am and continue for four hours. Those sessions consist of individual appointments with doctors and therapists as well as group therapy, with lunch in the middle. After that, residents return to the houses at 5:30 pm for dinner, evening 12-step groups (which must be attended at least three times a week), and then free time until lights out at 11 pm.

Sovereign Health is reportedly fairly loose on the use of electronics; Internet, TV and cell phones are all allowed, though privileges vary from patient to patient depending on their behavioral contracts. Though some reported "[using their] cell phone every day," others said they were only allowed to watch television. Still, some of these allowances were simply a function of time spent in treatment.

Former residents are split on the availability of medical care. While there are no doctors in residence, they visit several times a week and there are several nurses on site who are reportedly "very friendly, and helped out a lot.” The doctor visits left some clients clamoring for more: "I only saw Dr. Cervantes twice in 45 days," one alum says, while another notes, “They really need more than two doctors" spread across their comparably large clientele base.

Former clients rave about the DBT sessions, the interactions they had with other clients and also about therapist Kosta Condous. Case managers also receive high marks though clients criticized other staff members. Sovereign's atmosphere is reportedly a mix of tough love and permissiveness, largely depending on which house manager is working. 

One grad reports that he thought clients leave Sovereign Health with "the right tools" to stay away from addiction in the future, but others were unsure whether they'd be able to stay sober (a reality no matter which treatment center is in discussion). Still, clients say they strongly believe the facility "meant well," though the staff members could communicate better. Notably Sovereign Health takes most private insurance.

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