“Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Lord of the Rings”
On March 12, 2018, the North Texas eating disorder community said a tearful good-bye to the eating disorder program at Texas Health – Presbyterian Hospital. Presby announced that it was discontinuing and closing its eating disorder program after being in existence for over 20 years. Presby is a not-for-profit hospital and accepted Medicaid, Medicare and Tri-Care. However, it is well known that these government-subsidized insurance programs do not pay sufficiently to sustain an eating disorder program and without sufficient, additional financial resources, this valuable member of the community closed.
As we close out “National Eating Disorder Awareness Week,” we had to say Auf Wiedersehen to another long-standing eating disorder stalwart in the North Texas community. This time, Renfrew Center of Dallas announced it was closing. [Note that it is only the Renfrew Center of Dallas closing and not its other locations]. In 2016, Renfrew celebrated its 30th year in business under the steady hand of its Founder and President, Sam Menaged. Renfrew Dallas was located on the first floor of an office building in North Dallas from where it conducted its eating disorder treatment, IOP and counseling programs. In the last few years, it counted Kiersten Rapstein and Sharon Watts as two of its key employees. There are very few people in the eating disorder industry whom I respect more than Ms. Rapstein and Ms. Watts. They led the program with strength, humor and gentle grace. And Renfrew Dallas will be missed.
I understand that Renfrew has been proactive in finding positions for employees. Ms. Watts is still retained in a business development capacity. Ms. Rapstein is running a virtual therapist led outpatient support group for Renfrew. And Renfrew Dallas will be missed.
So, to them, we say, “Auf Wiedersehen” which in German does not mean good-bye, but “Until We Meet Again.” We hope to see you in North Texas again some day Sam. You are needed.
Keep Your Resume Updated
Most people have heard of the phrase, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” Well sometimes, when God closes a door the window that is opened leads straight to the sub-basement.
With that, we acknowledge that the Eating Disorder Solutions treatment center (“EDS”) is attempting to open in Dallas, Texas.
EDS is owned by Niznik Behavioral Health based out of Miami Gardens, Florida. To begin our review of EDS, let us first go to their website, eatingdisordersolutions.com. At first glance, to say their home page looks rather parochial would be charitable. Nonetheless, upon scrolling down the page, we see the very recognizable gold seal designating that EDS has been accredited by the Joint Commission! Good for them. That is very commendable to obtain such recognition even before its residential home is even open for business. But wait …
Anyone can verify accreditation by the Joint Commission by simply going to qualitycheck.org. And upon doing so, and typing in the name “Eating Disorder Solutions,” 24 separate entities appear in the State of Texas. And strangely enough, NONE pertain to EDS. So, then when one does a search on Niznik, a number of different entities appear. And some of them are accredited by the Joint Commission. And yet again, strangely enough, none of these accredited entities is EDS. A search of Niznik on LinkedIn reveals the following representation: “All NBH facilities are fully accredited by the Joint Commission and collectively offer the full continuum of care for our clients.” Well, not so fast my friends.
Dear Niznik d/b/a Eating Disorder Solutions … EDS is in fact NOT accredited by the Joint Commission. You are making material misrepresentations of a material fact to the general public! You are using accreditation on your website that you do not have and that you are not entitled to use to falsely misrepresent your credentials. Your violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practice Act are open and notorious … and yet, we are just beginning.
On its homepage, EDS has a scrolling five (5) picture montage of a house in Dallas, Texas purporting to be its “residential treatment” house. This house is located in Northeast Dallas in a strictly residential area. When Niznik purchased the house, it was being used as a senior citizens residential group home. Again, the area in that part of Dallas is zoned as residential only. Next to hospitalization, a residential treatment facility is the highest, most intensive treatment regiment available for a person suffering from an eating disorder. It entails medical monitoring. It requires the attention of a medical doctor and/or psychiatrist to monitor and assist the patient suffering from eating disorders. Daily individual counseling. Group counseling. Blood testing. Medical services being administered. A patient’s life hangs in the balance. Strict requirements over access to bathrooms, kitchens, access to rooms must be enforced. And EDS has? None of these things in this senior citizens home. No controlled locks on the bathroom doors. No oversight over the kitchen. No medical staff living in this “residential” home.
Niznik bought a home. A home in a residential area of Dallas. And they are naively hoping that no one will take notice and object to their bastardization of the zoning laws. And yet, their incredulous arrogance does not end there. According to anonymous sources:
EDS does not employ a psychiatrist on a full time or part time basis.
EDS does not employ a medical doctor on a full time or part time basis.
EDS does not employ any certified eating disorder specialists on staff.
ESD employs a therapist and a dietician. That is it.
When you review EDS’s website, it lists ZERO, NADA, NO medical professionals. It does not list any counselors. No doctors. No nurses. No certified eating disorder specialists. No staff at all. And that is because, they have no doctors, no certified eating disorder specialists on staff. And yet, on its website, it states: “Under clinical supervision and with the guidance of experienced and certified eating disorder specialists, our clients gain the knowledge and tools necessary to redress harmful thought and behavioral patterns regain control of one’s eating habits.”
First, YOU DO NOT EMPLOY ANY CERTIFIED EATING DISORDER SPECIALISTS! Second, the people whose lives are entrusted to your care are not CLIENTS. They are patients. They are people suffering from a mental disease that has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. These tortured souls are NOT clients! They are patients. And they are suffering. They are not assets upon which you can rely to make money.
EDS is owned by Niznik Behavioral Healthcare. The entity is named after Robert Niznik. In 2018, the United States Congress, through the House Committee on Energy and Commerce turned its attention to the substance abuse industry. One of the main purposes of this subcommittee was to investigate the predatory marketing and advertising practices in the substance abuse industry. This subcommittee cited the realization that there were many “bad actors” who preyed upon vulnerable families and addicts. Robert Niznik was called upon to testify before Congress about his company’s illicit marketing and advertising practices.
EDS also relies upon Eric Brandman as the Chief Marketing Officer for Niznik Behavioral Health. Mr. Brandman is a 26 year old boy. In 2013, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Financial Mathematics from Baruch College. [I will buy a martini for those who can, without any research, enlighten us as to where and what a Baruch College may be.] On the other hand, he does list that he was Treasurer of the Handball Club! When the Mental Health Parity Act of 2008 was passed, Mr. Brandman was a sophomore in high school. On the other hand, on his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Brandman lists under his Skills and Endorsements, “Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and … Powerpoint! Who would not entrust their child suffering from this insidious disease to a person barely out of puberty who collected two dollar apiece from his fellow handball aficionados?
When you call their toll-free line and are seeking help for your loved one who is suffering, you must talk with one of their marketing employees. You will first be asked about how you can pay for treatment. Can you pay cash? That is because they are not in-network with any insurance company! But, they do know that for residential treatment in their illegal residential home, they can try to charge up to $30,000 per month if they are successful in obtaining a single case agreement. (Assuming they even know what that is.)
To call this entity aggressive and predatory would be underestimating the reality of this operation. EDS represents everything wrong with the eating disorder industry. It represents the absolute worst that can happen in an unregulated industry. And while reputable, experienced entities like Renfrew Dallas are forced to shutter its doors, assclowns like EDS rear its ugly head.
Messrs. Niznik and Brandman, just know this … pray, to whatever God to whom you may pray, that your predatory practices do not harm even one family suffering from eating disorders. For if you hurt one person … one family, if you worsen one person’s life, if you harm one person suffering from this insidious disease … and they find me, I will be relentless. I will hunt you in the court system. I have 35 years of courtroom experience. Messrs. Niznik and Brandman, I was obtaining justice in the courts of the United States 10 years before you were even born. And I will never stop.
I will be coming for you. And an Army of Warrior Angels will be coming with me.