Patient Brokering is affecting drug and treatment center owners, detox center owners, sober home operators, and all addiction professionals. This hurricane hit Florida in full force and is becoming a category 5 in California with other states following soon. Florida was irresponsibly labeled by the media with the “Florida shuffle”. Now, California is being labeled the “rehab Riveria”. California drug rehabilitation centers need to be prepared because this irresponsible journalism will deter many from attending treatment there. Florida has been experiencing this for over a year with many ethical operators closing their doors.
What is Patient Brokering for Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Centers?
Patient brokering is when individuals or companies lure in potential treatment center clients for monetary compensation. This compensation can be from $500-$5,000 per individual. Individuals with good insurance can potentially be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Patient brokering also occurs when drug rehabilitation centers lure in clients with discounts and incentives. The boots on the ground strategy of buying and selling of clients by unethical drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers are happening all across the nation.
The Florida law pertaining to patient brokering for addiction treatment centers and sober homes in under Chapter 817.505. This hurricane is directed towards patient brokers, drug dealers, prescribing doctors, and hospitals (collection of OD data). However, it has drastically affected many addiction treatment centers in South Florida. It requires them to operate quite differently facing severe penalties, felony charges, and jail time. The old “Laissez-faire” operating mentality is gone and being replaced because of abuse, irresponsibility, and the loss of many lives. The patient brokering laws passed in Florida affect the nation. All addiction professionals must be aware of the new Florida patient brokering laws as of July 1, 2017.
BHNR Educates on Ethical Business Practices Fighting Patient Brokering
This is the first time our industry we have regulations designed to get rid of the large underground network of patient brokers. The new laws are ultimately designed to address the heroin epidemic and save lives. If you do not completely understand all the legislation that has come and is coming you will not be operating soon.
At Behavioral Health Network Resources October 27, 2016 event where we were honored to have the Riviera Beach Civil Drug Court. We raised over $400,000 worth of treatment scholarships (services not monies). At that event, we said there was a hurricane coming to South Florida. We were preparing the addiction professionals for the upcoming changes. We host addiction conferences (14 events total) educating Executives on the ethical business side of addiction. Behavioral Health Network Resources knew it was their responsibility to fight against patient brokering. To use our loud voice in the professional community, and on social media educating on these complex changes.
Patient Brokering Florida Understanding the Landscape
Early in 2017, we were attending the Sober Homes Task Force and the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition (PBCSAC) meetings. We did this to try and understand the legislative process and the changes that are coming from some of the industry’s addiction professionals. We sat quietly, listening, getting educated, and took in all the information that we could to get an understanding to educate the professional community and the Executives attending our events.
We sat in meetings and tried to get an understanding on these changes. We noticed that there are only about 40-50 organizations participating with these organizations. These organizations have formed the landscape for the legislative changes. Any organization that has not been present or decided not to participate could have helped mold the new regulated addiction treatment industry.
Educating the Behavioral Health Industry for Clarity
In our current journey, there are still areas where we are confused. The legal jargon that the laws and bills are written can be extremely difficult to understand. Trying to completely understand some areas where there are loopholes. We have spoken with many operators and addiction professionals. Many thought the changes would never happen. Almost all are relying on the interpretation of their legal counsel, or even worse an interpretation from their peers. We have also seen on social media the same type of reaction with many complaining, but few get involved.
Patient Brokering Laws in Florida
The current Florida law that was passed on July 1, 2017 (HB 807, SB 788) covers many different areas. Below these are broken down into simplistic terms:
Drug Rehab Marketing: Drug treatment center marketers will need to be licensed by the state’s Division of Consumer Services. Deceiving, lying, or misleading about treatment services offered, amenities and the high jacking of 800 numbers will be a first-degree misdemeanor. We have been educating centers of the 800-number high jacking using our national social media audience, and as a personality on the national Radio Raw Show.
HB 807 (SB 788) — Marketers will now have to be licensed and there are stiff penalties and fines for patient brokering. and centers will be held legally liable for deceptive marketing practices. It makes DCF the “big brother” and enforcer of the industry. You can find more information by reading “Top Five Criteria Sober Living West Palm Beach
Sponsors: Reps. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton; Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart; and Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boca Raton; and Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Atlantis.
HB 249 (SB 588) — Paramedics, emergency techs, and hospitals to collect data on overdoses and report them to the Dept. of Health. It also forces hospitals to adapt overdose protocols.
Sponsors: Reps. Bob Rommel, R-Naples, Larry Lee Jr., D-Fort Pierce; and Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples.
HB 477 — Directly attacks drug dealers with min. and mandatory jail time including heavy fines for dealing in fentanyl. It also gives prosecutors the option of imposing murder charges.
Sponsors: Reps. Kathleen Peters, R-St. Petersburg; and Charlie Stone, R-Ocala.
HB 557 (SB 840) — Directed towards prescribing physicians controlling the number of opioids prescribed to five days. The Prescriptions that are filled for any controlled substances must be reported in the State prescription drug monitoring database within one day.
Sponsors: Rep. Nicholas Duran, D-Miami, Rep. David Silvers, D-West Palm Beach; and Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Atlantis.
SB 886 (HB 791) — Protects individuals that have been Marchman Acted by making their court records confidential.
Sponsors: Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach; Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boca Raton.
Patient Brokering Arrests Florida Legal Issues
Criminal Penalties: Statewide you can be investigated and prosecuted for patient brokering. The prosecution could result in a felony and the fines increase with the number of patients brokered. Brokering more than 20 patients will be a first-degree felony and a whopping fine of $500,000.
Patient Brokering and DCF
DCF’s Role (Department of Children and Families): It will now cost much more to license a facility and the penalty for operating without a license is a third-degree felony with a maximum 5 years in jail. DCF significantly increased licensing fees. Operating without a license becomes a third-degree felony, carrying a maximum five-year prison sentence. DCF now has new rules including; clinical, treatment best-practices, operating standards, levels of qualifications for addiction professionals and the number of staff that will be required to operate. DCF will is also allowed to visit your center anytime without notice and inspect all of the above.
As a treatment center owner, detox center owner, sober living owner and all addiction professionals you need to completely understand the 5 bills that have passed below;
Patient Brokering Florida Sets the Regulation Pace for the Nation
While Florida has one of the worst reputations for addiction treatment in the US, we must realize that Florida is also one of the most popular destinations for treatment and one of the nation’s largest providers of treatment. The large underground patient brokering network is national and many other states have the same issues as Florida, however, the spotlight has been on South Florida. The work that has been done, and will be done, is setting a precedent to be followed nationally. California passed new patient brokering laws on September 27, 2018. With the heroin epidemic killing more than 150 per day, many other states will be following soon.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the current situation on new laws affecting the heroin epidemic. Leave your comments below.
We are dedicated to educating Addiction Executives on ethical business practices nationwide, with our events attracting a national audience. Our addiction conferences EMP series events have educated Florida Executives with 14 events on ethical business and marketing solutions. We are now bringing this addiction conferences series to Costa Mesa, California on 1/22/19. If your organization is dedicated to ethical business practices and you want to educate your peers, we would like to speak with you about participating in our addiction conference. Our conferences have helped us build up one the largest addiction professional audiences in the nation. These conferences have assisted us in being educated by successful thought leaders in addiction treatment marketing.
Addiction Professional Groups Fighting Against Patient Brokering
Facebook Addiction Professional Referral Group 19,000 Members (500 being vetted for approval). An extremely active group that is an outstanding ethical resource for Addiction Professionals. This group has banned over 4,000 questionable members. CLICK HERE
LinkedIn Addiction Professional Referral Group 19,000 Members
Facebook The Business Side of Addiction and Behavioral Health 2,500 Members
Facebook South Florida Addiction Professional Connection 1,900 Members
Facebook Generation “X” Addiction Unleashed 10,000 Members
Facebook South Florida Addiction Connection 2,000 South Florida Members
Facebook Addiction Treatment Industry Top 100 6,000 Members
Facebook South Florida Connection Addiction and Behavioral Health 10,000 Members
Facebook Addiction and Behavioral Health Events 5,000 Members
Facebook ᗩᗪᗪIᑕTIOᑎ ᖇEᔕᑕᑌE; ᕼEᒪᑭ ᗷEᖴOᖇE IT’ᔕ TOO ᒪᗩTE 6,000 Members
Facebook Addiction and Behavioral Health Options 2,500 Members
Facebook 𝑩𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑪𝒚𝒄𝒍𝒆 1,000 Members
Our industry is changing fast, self-regulation, unity and positive messages are needed. We felt it’s extremely important for all professionals in our industry to gain as much knowledge as possible on these drastic changes and have allowed access to the Facebook Live feed below of a key addiction conference. This event featured the sober homes task force and was key for many South Florida operators. Below you can visit the panelist portion of the event and get educated on some of the issues.
Monumental Industry Changes Conference – Sponsored by RecoveryRadio.FM
Posted by RecoveryRadio.fm on Wednesday, May 10, 2017