Amid a new public awareness campaign launched in New York, the state’s public health officials have issued a warning against addiction treatment fraud targeting the residents. Launched in December 2017 by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the campaign aims at cracking down on brokers, also called body brokers or junkie hunters, and protecting patients from being sent out-of-state for overpriced and unregulated treatment and other comforts.
The collaboration between Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and the New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers is aimed at controlling the fraudulent practice of providing “inadequate and ineffective treatments at outrageous costs.” The campaign urges New Yorkers to report such incidents by calling at the helpline number 1-800-553-5790 or emailing at StopTreatmentFraud@oasas.ny.gov for availing appropriate treatment required to reclaim their lives.
Ensuring quality and cost-effective addiction treatment
The unscrupulous workers connect with the targets on social media or via emails and text messages. According to Gov. Cuomo, the fraudulent practice “involves someone struggling with addiction” being recruited by a patient or a body broker who, in turn, “collects payments from treatment providers” for each patient referred. In the face of the opioid epidemic ravaging the entire country, vulnerable citizens were “being targeted and falsely promised life-saving treatment services.”
As per a directive issued by the OASAS, patient referrals in the state need to be delivered by certified professionals who are prohibited from receiving referral fees. According to an agency spokesperson, the campaign will ensure that those in need of treatment are not sent to out-of-state providers who lack adequate facilities or do not provide the same levels of care regulated by the OASAS in New York. Supporting public interest, Massachusetts government officials have also released an advisory to make people aware of such scams.
Unethical and illegal practice
An unethical and illegal practice, patient brokering can be termed as an act of trading a patient in exchange for money and/or perks. By offering or receiving commission, rebate or a bonus in cash or in kind, a health care provider is encouraged to offer patient referrals to a health care facility.
Considered to be a form of human trafficking, the activity can occur in different ways. At times, an individual can approach a sober home or a rehab center with a prospective client in exchange for a fee or a kickback, or else a sober home itself recruits people — sometimes their own patients — to offer additional patients for a kickback or fee. Regardless of the mode, patient brokering hurts the recovery community and affects honest treatment programs.
Threat to recovery
Regarded as the first step in getting treated, taking the decision to seek professional treatment for any form of an addiction is a critical step for many people with substance use disorders. The false promises and illegal practices like brokering not only denies a person adequate treatment but further poisons his or her mind who is already struggling with so many problems. The person might eventually be deterred from seeking support again in future.
As the bad sober homes are only concerned with insurance money, patients struggling with substance use disorders are often shuffled across such places without any concern for their health or lives where recovery may seem impossible and relapse becomes quite a possibility.
Need of evidence-based, genuine treatment
A leading addiction treatment provider, Sovereign Health provides all its patients comprehensive, personalized and evidence-based treatment along with aftercare facilities. Offering residential and outpatient addiction treatment programs to both adolescents and adults, all our patients are treated in a safe and secure environment, keeping in mind their specific needs.
Depending on one’s symptoms, treatment for drug abuse at our state-of-the-art drug addiction treatment centers may include detoxification, behavioral therapies and experiential therapies, such as yoga, meditation, equine therapy, music therapy and art therapy. For more information on our various drug addiction treatment programs, you can call our live admission specialist at the 24/7 helpline number or chat online with a representative for further assistance.