America has seen an epidemic not only of substance abuse, but of shady recovery centers stealing patients from reputable centers. They entice patients to leave one recovery center to get better stuff so the shady center can over bill private insurance. While bad, the worst part is many patients relapse or die in these centers because they are not designed to help people recover. They are designed to milk the system for as much money as possible, at the risk of the patient’s life. South Florida is cracking down on these practices. But you still need to ask, is your child a victim of patient brokering?
What is Patient Brokering?
Patient brokering is the act of referring patients to recovery centers, sober homes, or rehab facilities in exchange for a kickback or compensation of any kind. This is illegal activity as defined by Chapter 6 of the Florida Patient Brokering Act.
This act states:
Anyone engaged in patient brokering faces criminal penalties. This practice is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Real Life Application: Patient Brokering Practices
While it feels good to believe everyone in the addiction recovery field is there to help, it is just not the truth. Many people receive kickbacks of $500 to thousands of dollars to get your child to move from one sober house to another. But the change is often bad for your child as he or she may move to an unsupervised environment and are often encouraged back into risky behaviors. Those behaviors may lead to relapse, providing the sober house even bigger commissions from insurance companies.
The nightmare is worse for some families as there are overdose deaths happening in some of the suspected shady sober homes who have no accreditation and are not advertised. These sober homes have allegedly provided the drugs that the victim used to overdosed.
Don’t take chances with your child’s life. Watch for the signs of patient brokering to keep your child safe and on the road to sobriety.
Florida Patient Brokering Statute: Florida Statutes Section 817.505
(1) It is unlawful for any person, including any health care provider or health care facility, to:
(a) Offer or pay any commission, bonus, rebate, kickback, or bribe, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, or engage in any split-fee arrangement, in any form whatsoever, to induce the referral of patients or patronage to or from a health care provider or health care facility;
(b) Solicit or receive any commission, bonus, rebate, kickback, or bribe, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, or engage in any split-fee arrangement, in any form whatsoever, in return for referring patients or patronage to or from a health care provider or health care facility;
(c) Solicit or receive any commission, bonus, rebate, kickback, or bribe, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, or engage in any split-fee arrangement, in any form whatsoever, in return for the acceptance or acknowledgement of treatment from a health care provider or health care facility; or
(d) Aid, abet, advise, or otherwise participate in the conduct prohibited under paragraph (a), paragraph (b), or paragraph (c).
Call Signs: Is Your Child a Victim of Patient Brokering?
If your child calls home saying he or she is moving to another facility, ask lots of questions. Find out the reason for the move. Did someone offer your child incentive to move? Patient brokers (often called body snatchers) offer clothes, money, free or reduced rent, big televisions, game rooms, and other gifts to get patients to move. If your child talks about what he or she can get for moving and it does not include better healthcare or more group meetings, you should stop the move.
Should your child want to move to be with a friend in another home, find out where he or she met the friend. If it was someone hanging out by the local grocery store, movie theater, or Walmart, call your child’s current recovery center to ask about the friend. These are places that a patient broker will hang out to discreetly talk to unsuspecting people in recovery. Often, a reputable recovery center will already know about the “friends” in the area (patient brokers) and can stop the body snatching of your child.
While some children may call home to talk about recovery, the truth is many will make the change without talking to their parents. That is why you must keep an eye on your insurance bills for a change in service provider or unusual charges on your bill.
Insurance Signs: Is Your Child a Victim of Patient Brokering?
Each month, check your insurance bill while your child is in recovery. If you see suspicious activity on your bill, contact your child to make sure he or she is safe. Suspicious activity can include:
- Multiple recovery centers charging for services
- A new recovery center billing your insurance without notifying you first
- Multiple expensive drug tests during the same week
- Increasing case management fees
Marketing Practices: Is Your Child a Victim of Patient Brokering?
While most patient brokers work in secret to persuade your child to move to a shady recovery center, some are more blatant. There are reports of patient brokers calling the victim’s family to convince the family the move is better for the child. If you did not ask for the call, the call is illegal. Do not agree to allow your child to switch facilities.
What If Your Child is Already a Victim of Patient Brokering?
- If you suspect your child is already the victim of patient brokering, submit a tip to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- Then call the Florida Sober Homes Task Force Toll Free Tip Line at 1-844-324-5463. Ask for directions how to rescue your son or daughter from a shady recovery center.
- If you have reason to believe your child is in immediate danger, call the police department closest to the recovery center where your child is staying.
Worry-Free Addiction Recovery Treatment
If your child is struggling with substance abuse he or she will need quality care in a supervised environment to get on the road to recovery. Parents worry enough about the child gaining sobriety. They need not worry if the child is safe while in rehab too. To find a worry-free addiction recovery center, ask for proof the program is accredited. To be accredited a program will go through on-site evaluations, assessment of standardized care, and past clients will be interviewed.
Northlake Recovery in Southern Florida has been evaluated by the Joint Commission of Behavioral Health Care. We proudly display the Golden Seal of Approval and are one of only 17 recovery centers included in the 2016 National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Facilities for Delray Beach.
Does Your Child Need Addiction Recovery Support in a Safe and Affordable Environment?
Don’t spend your time worrying, is your child a victim of patient brokering. Call Northlake Recovery in Southern Florida to enroll your child in quality recovery treatment in an accredited center. Addiction specialists will help you choose the best treatment at affordable prices for your family. They will help you verify insurance coverage and make sure your insurance is not billed for extra or overpriced services. We stand by our commitment to supervising your child and helping him or her on the road to sobriety.
Call Northlake Recovery at (561)-770-6616.