Colorado cited this drug rehab center operator 50 times in 3 years and it’s still in business. Iowa shut it down in two months.

Iowa regulators blocked Nathan Hardage from treating drug addicts in 2014 amid allegations he assaulted a patient, allowed others to drink alcohol and let recovering drug abusers watch people smoke marijuana while in treatment.

Nathan Hardage, President and CEO of ...

Video still courtesy of Nathan Hardage

Nathan Hardage, President and CEO of CoreVision Network

But the self-described “wounded healer” found a more lenient regulatory environment in Colorado. He owns two addiction rehab clinics in Colorado Springs and Aurora and 16 sober-living homes in Colorado despite a growing list of allegations against him, including sexual harassment, abuse of patients and inappropriate billing practices at his CoreVision program.

“It’s very unprofessional at the least and dangerous at the worst,” said Dawna Stevens, who said her 24-year-old son received little or no treatment when he was a CoreVision patient. “We were afraid he was going to end up in the emergency room.”

Colorado’s permissive approach to regulating more than 700 licensed residential and outpatient drug treatment centers in the state got the attention of a congressional subcommittee investigating the drug rehab industry last year. State officials told congressional investigators that Colorado works to bring violators into compliance as opposed to the no-nonsense approach Iowa took when confronted with complaints about Hardage.

Operators in Colorado get up to 180 days to correct licensing deficiencies under a licensing regimen that allows them to maintain their license on a probationary status, Colorado officials said. Typically, about 20 percent of the more than 700 licensed residential and outpatient drug treatment sites are on probation, according to data Colorado submitted to Congress. Even if the state moves to revoke a license, rehab providers can appeal through an administrative court system that can take months, if not years, to resolve cases.

Those that lose their licenses don’t necessarily go out of business in Colorado. They can remain open simply by shifting their billing to private insurers instead of the Medicaid program and by no longer accepting criminal justice referrals.

Colorado licenses operators that bill Medicaid for services, as CoreVision does, or that accept referrals from the state’s department of corrections, which the company did until recently. Residential and outpatient treatment center operators that bill private insurers or clients directly do not need to be licensed. The Denver Post recently exposed how one unlicensed Colorado rehab operator, Chris Bathum, was convicted of sexually assaulting patients and faces additional charges of engaging in $176 million insurance fraud scheme.

Less than 2 months

It took officials in Iowa less than two months to block Hardage from treating addicts in that state after he was accused of misconduct there. They also referred Hardage to the FBI, which declined to pursue criminal charges. In Colorado, complaints about Hardage have piled up for three years.

“The pattern of complaints has to do with clients or loved ones, family members, contacting me about feeling like they were not getting treatment that was helpful, that they felt misled, taken advantage of, and some were concerned for the safety or well-being of the clients there,” Christine Flavia, a manager in the Office of Behavioral Health in the Colorado Department of Human Services, testified at a recent deposition.

Colorado’s Office of Behavioral Health in the human services department has cited CoreVision more than 50 times for noncompliance with licensing rules since Hardage moved to the state in early 2015. State records show that one of his former clinical directors in January 2017 warned behavioral health officials of CoreVision “having possibly inappropriate business activities and illegal activities.”

In an interview, Hardage said he’s aware of the allegations but denied any wrongdoing. Although three former clients died from drug overdoses after exiting CoreVision, Hardage said he has no culpability. “A lot of stuff is being said,” he said. “It is stuff being said over and over. It’s just rumors.” He also allowed a reporter to visit a treatment center and a sober-living home in Colorado Springs to talk to patients, who said CoreVision had helped them.

Colorado has placed CoreVision’s license on probationary status three times. In August, Colorado officials rejected Hardage’s application for a two-year renewal. His license, still on probation, remains active while he appeals.

“Part of the department’s role as a licensing entity is to provide technical assistance to facilities to ensure their success,” Robert Werthwein, the director of the behavioral health office, said in a statement. “The department has worked closely with CoreVision to try to bring them into compliance. When it became evident that additional measures were needed, CDHS denied CoreVision’s request to renew its license and began the process to terminate it permanently. We are attempting to move this process to terminate CoreVision’s license as expeditiously as possible within the due process established by state law.”

A June hearing is scheduled on Hardage’s appeal. Administrative Law Judge Hollyce Farrell issued a protective order blocking public view of the case.

Meanwhile, Hardage continues to promote CoreVision on its website, calling it a “light in dark places” for desperate drug addicts. Those who enroll are promised state-of-the art drug therapy recovery plans near the Rocky Mountains. There are photos of a client retreat in Estes Park. But Hardage’s program is in disarray, according to interviews with people familiar with CoreVision and a review of state regulatory records and police reports.

Multiple allegations

The state listed a series of allegations against Hardage from former patients, their families and staffers in a letter to him last March. The claims included reports that he allowed patients to sleep at his own home, sexually harassed female clients, verbally abused them, eavesdropped on private therapy sessions, used patient medical information to threaten them and failed to provide adequate rehabilitation services.

CoreVision’s former clinical director, Dawn Halliburton-Rudy, told officials that she found suggestive texts from Hardage on the cellphone of a CoreVision client, in which he asked the woman to send him revealing photos and sent her photos of himself, according to documents in his case file.

Hardage denied that and allegations that he had sex with clients. “There’s never been a proper investigation of any of this by the state,” he said.

The state has alleged “inconsistencies in billing, including non-qualified staff making diagnoses, staff being asked to provide a diagnosis when they did not see a client, or complete/sign forms for services they did not render,” according to a state licensing report. State officials warned Hardage that high staff turnover made it difficult for them to determine “what actual services are provided by whom, and what qualifications staff possess to provide those services.”

Cheryl Stewart, the director of El Paso County’s detoxification program, said several female clients of CoreVision told her they had sex with Hardage while under his care. She also said clients have told her that Hardage has sent patients to the program for free services that he later billed for. One of Stewart’s clients told her that Hardage gave him money so he could buy drugs and get high before enrolling him in CoreVision, she said.


Police found fraud, sex crimes in a Colorado sober-living home empire. The state doesn’t regulate the industry.

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  • Dawna Stevens said her son ran out of his psychiatric medications one weekend while living in a CoreVision sober-living home. He often complained about a lack of food, and eventually was kicked out for bringing his dog to the home. Addicts struggling to maintain their sobriety were leading therapy programs, she said.

    Since getting kicked out of the program, her son, now 24, has started using drugs again.

    “This was his first treatment attempt. He could have succeeded. He was young enough, and he did very well at the start of program, but then everything crashed he slipped and relapsed, and he’s out there again,” she said. “We had very high hopes. But because the program wasn’t really a program, we had one shot at that deal, and it evaporated.”

    Records show state regulators knew of concerns about Hardage shortly after he arrived in Colorado. In February 2015, Hardage traveled to South Carolina to convince a woman that he could help her son overcome his addictions. She gave him a check for $11,000 to enroll her son, she reported to the state.

    Hardage said he was licensed in Colorado, according to her account, but in reality, he was not. The mother reported that when she visited her son at CoreVision in Colorado Springs, she found her son had not received the promised therapy. State officials noted the woman’s complaints in a letter to Hardage and warned that his “clinical documentation was seriously deficient.”

    Ultimately, however, the state noted Hardage had since obtained the license, and they allowed him to keep it.

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