A BOOMING INDUSTRY
Selling Recovery and Hope to the Most Vulnerable
WHAT IS PATIENT BROKERING?
Patient brokering is an illegal practice in which a program or facility pays addict recruiters or junkie hunters a referral fee to recruit patients. Addict recruiters are paid for every person they sign up. Once signed up, the program or facility will charge the patient's insurance company for a multitude of tests (such as urine screens), procedures, accommodation, or other services, most of which are unnecessary or not offered at all (fraud).
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 a health care provider or health care facility
WHAT FACILITIES, PROVIDERS, AND PROGRAMS ENGAGE IN PATIENT BROKERS?
Any facility, program, or provider may engage in patient brokering, including a rehab center, detox, crisis stabilization unit, residential facility, treatment program, sober house, half-way house, methadone clinic, medication-assisted treatment (Suboxone) doctor, or other provider.
WHERE DO PATIENT BROKERS RECRUIT?
Patient brokers, also known an addict recruiters or junkie hunters, can recruit addicts anywhere, even right off of the street. Most often, they will recruit at group meetings, peer support groups, or at transitions in care when a patient is most vulnerable. Recruiting a patient to a specific sober home or medication-assisted treatment clinic (methadone, Suboxone) is most common. Addicts are easy marks, just look for the group gathered in front of a 12-step meeting on a cigarette break.
WHAT DO PATIENT BROKERS SAY? HOW DO THEY RECRUIT?
Patient brokers offer the promise of hope--essentially, selling the patient his/her recovery. Recruiters also offer incentives for enrolling in a facility or program, including cash, prepaid debit cards, cellphones, low rent/free stay, free transportation or plane flight to the treatment facility, free gym membership, or other material items.
HOW LUCRATIVE IS PATIENT BROKERING?
Patient brokers typically receive $500 for each patient they enroll. Bronwyn Finnegan and her boyfriend Scott Gillis were arrested for receiving at least $9,000.00 between August and October 2016 from Daniel Kandler for referring patients to Kandler's Chapters Recovery sober homes in Florida.
HOW DOES PATIENT BROKERING IMPACT ADDICTION TREATMENT?
The negative impact is far reaching. As fraud continues, insurance companies have begun to withdraw coverage for tests and legitimate treatment program. Addicts also refuse to seek treatment to avoid being scammed.