Methadone Meltdown

Dr. Amos and Cecilia Ozumba ran Houston Maintenance Clinic for four years. Have they finally run it into the ground?

She went on to say that TCADA's stated reason for the termination of HMC's contract was "more bureaucratic than what they're stating. It's just that they found a loophole, but there's no such thing. That's not the truth. That's not the truth at all." She won't elaborate on what she means by "loophole."

Presented with a partial list of client, employee and regulatory allegations, Ozumba offers a blanket denial.

"I think all these are made-up stories. I'm not available to speak to you at this point, and what I want you to know is that all of that is made-up stories. You got this off what the instigators are making up for the clients to say. People have been after closing this program, and there's been instigating on the clients to claim everything."

Asked if she knows who the instigators might be, Ozumba says, "Yes, I know who. A competitor has been wanting to close this program."

Asked if that competitor is Steve Tapscott, who operates Texas Treatment Center and inherited the state contract after TCADA shut off HMC's money, she says, "It could be him, yes. He's been claiming that he wants to close this program and he will do it by all means. He's been trying to sabotage it by all means."

Tapscott thinks that's absurd.

"I helped them start. I gave them everything to get started. All my forms, policy and procedure manuals. So I can't see how I've done anything but been up-front. And I have no idea why TCADA took her funds. I just know that TCADA did. We were on the board of the Texas Methadone Treatment Association up until November of last year together, so I don't know where that's coming from. All I've ever done is report what I believed, at the request of a patient, was Medicare fraud."

Before terminating the phone call, Cecilia Ozumba promised to provide contacts for several former and current HMC clients who, she implied, would counter the allegations with a balanced version of events. She then asked that a written questionnaire be faxed to her so that she might respond in particular to specific questions. The promised contacts were not provided, and the questionnaire was not returned, but perhaps Ozumba felt that her reply was not, in the long run, necessary.

"God will know what is right," she had said. "The right information, the Lord knows. Whatever they tell has happened, let God judge them."

E-mail Brad Tyer at brad.tyer@houstonpress.com.

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