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Monday, April 8, 2013


A "Glistening, Quivering Underbelly" Exclusive!

Waiver, schmaiver!

On a sticky summer day in 2009, Per Wickstrom was sweating in the lobby of his Battle Creek, Michigan, drug rehabilitation center, A Forever Recovery. But it wasn’t the heat radiating through the lobby windows in the town made famous by cereal king W. K. Kellogg making Wickstrom schvitz like a painted whore in church.

Nope, the snap, crackle and pop happened as Wickstrom and his staffers were negotiating the release of a patient, an out-of-state woman who'd checked in less than three days before.

The woman was leaving after a stay in a “detox center” she described to Glistening, Quivering, Underbelly as a "bug-infested shack".  Alone in Michigan, and fighting to get away from what she said was a “total scam”, she signed an “against medical advice” (AMA) agreement before she was unceremoniously dumped in a local hotel room. Using the personal cell phone returned only after she’d signed the AMA, she called a friend who’d helped pay for her stay at AFR and let her know that she was arranging her own transportation back home.

In order to get a $2,500 partial refund, AFR required the woman’s friend to sign a “non-disclosure agreement”.

The patient’s friend signed, and the stay ended up costing well over $5,000—for less than three days’ treatment.

The refund waiver and indemnification agreement, whose enforceability may be suspect, prevents either signatory from publishing any “information concerning treatment, contract and this agreement.” And the AMA waiver states “I sign this waiver of my own free will and with no duress from any outside sources.”

OK, what about “inside” sources?

There’s no duress when you’re waiting in a lobby by yourself, with your clothes and other personal belongings virtually being held hostage until you sign?

But the most ironic fact about this so-called “refund waiver”? The friend signed it, but the patient never did!

And just how is the “friend” supposed to keep the former patient from talking about her experience?

Gag her and dump her body in a river?

I’m not an attorney, but I played one on TV (OK, it was a grad student film school project). The former patient never signed the waiver agreement, so I guess Per Wickstrom and his not-so-merry gang of pranksters cannot legally prevent her from saying anything she wants to.

The waiver was signed by AFR staffers Stephen P. Anderson, CFO, and Corey J. Leuffgen—more about them (and AFR Senior Case Manager Paul Lawson) later.

Here are the official documents:


  1. Wow! I can't believe they make people sign away all these rights....

    Good catch on this!

  2. Good catch! How ridiculous they made her "friend" sign this, not considering that the actual patient can now say whatever he/she wants without legal repercussions! Great job on your blog as well! I'm browsing away this morning!

  3. Thank you! I'm working on another article that will break news--come back later today.