Sen. Marco Rubio announced last week that he is preparing to introduce a bill to Congress that would prohibit middleman drug addiction call centers from making money off of patient referrals to rehabilitation services (i.e., “patient brokering”) without verifying that the treatment provider is reputable.
Call centers are notorious for late-night television ads that urge people with drug addiction to call for help. When a potential patient calls in, the call center can refer them to a treatment provider who pays a commission for the referral, regardless of whether the caller ends up in treatment or gets sober. Rubio said in a statement that the current system exploits those who need help by enabling illicit actors to make a profit from addiction.
This bill follows the Sober Homes Fraud Detection Act which was introduced back in May by Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson to help combat health care fraud by identifying potentially illicit sober home providers through red flags like high levels of recidivism and giving local law enforcement the ability to investigate and shut down homes that don’t provide a safe recovery environment for addicts.