Recently we got a post on our Facebook account from someone that was raising a red flag about rehab centers, sober living homes, half-way houses, and pretty much every place and organization with any connection to the drug rehab industry in the whole state of Florida. Yes, every drug rehab related place in the entire state of Florida. If this may sound a bit overreaching and irrational, it is exactly that. This might be the classical definition of the rhetorical statement “painting with a wide brush”.
The person making the statement had got her information from the national media which has been portraying Florida, specifically Palm Beach County, as the place for “on-going patient brokering and fraud”.
The truth of the matter is that yes there have been many facilities in Florida that have been involved in various fraudulent activities and there have been, rightly so we may add, exposed, prosecuted and their owners and operators have ended up with jail terms. The truth is that the spotlight has shined the light on the criminal acts of the few and has resulted in a new law against patient brokering which has put forward guidelines that describes unethical behavior in the rehab industry. The Florida Law is the step forward in regulating an industry that for many years, many ethical players of the industry have been asking for. The Florida law statutes cover any rehab center in any state that has an organization in the state of Florida which will go a long way in protecting the consumers of the addiction treatment providers against unethical and irresponsible addiction treatment providers.
According to a 2015 article in Forbes, the addiction treatment industry generates 35 billion dollars a year. Florida’s yearly share is reported by ABC News to be $1 billion dollars. There is money and competition for it. Wherever there is money, there are bound to be bad actors trying to enrich themselves. This industry is no exception.
Patient brokering is not a Florida phenomenon. Various forms of patient brokering such as paying for a client’s travel expenses to reward them for coming to the facility has been going on in many other states as well. There are other states with heavy concentration of rehab related facilities, such as California, Texas, Arizona, and New York that will benefit from Florida’s experience in cleaning up this very much needed industry. Sooner rather than later, the Florida law will have the intended positive effect in those states as well. This should be the good news or better yet the silver lining that the clients and the ethical operators of this industry should be looking at.
We are losing close to 150 lives a day due to the heroin/opioid epidemic in the United States. We need more than ever, facilities that provide effective treatment that saves lives. The unfair negative publicity has left many good, honest operators of addiction rehab facilities with no choice to close their doors or at best, struggling to financially survive.
The Florida Legislature’s Patient Brokering Act, CHAPTER 2017-173, provides jurisdiction on all hospitals, mental health, addiction treatment centers, and sober livings and allows prosecution against patient brokering.
Chapter 2017-173, makes providing any remuneration to any health care provider or facility for referrals a criminal act.
Our treatment facility, Florida Center For Recovery, has been operating as an ethical addiction treatment facility for 16 years. We welcome the scrutiny on the bad actors and the punishment for the operators of unethical facilities, in hope of ridding the industry of the existing black mark. We are certain that we are not the only facility that supports the closures of fraudulent facilities.