A month after regulators kicked a Milwaukee, Wisconsin drug treatment clinic out of the Medicaid program, another clinic opened in the same location. According to a new report from Milkwaukee television station FOX 6, both are owned by neighbors from the faraway Satmar Hasidic enclave of Kiryas Joel, New York.
“I don’t see how the state could have approved them and not see what is going on,” a employee of the first clinic told FOX 6. “At the end of the day these people are being taken advantage of and the taxpayers are paying for it.”
The first clinic, called Acacia Mental Health, is currently being sued by both the state of Wisoonsin and the federal government for filing false Medicaid claims. “He saw the clients as dollar signs,” a former employee of Acacia said of Abe Freund, the company’s owner.
After Acacia shut down in May, a new clinic opened at the same site the next month. FOX 6 reports that it shares much of its staff with Acacia. The new clinic is itself owned by a man named Netanel Friedman, who lives blocks from Freund in Kiryas Joel, according to FOX 6.
“Literally, they just posted a new banner on the building,” the former employee told the station.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.
Kiryas Joel Man Owns Suspect Milwaukee Drug Clinic