WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan Energy and Commerce Committee members today sent a series of letters to departments of six state governments, requesting information and staff briefings on allegations of patient brokering, when men and women have been recruited often to out-of-state facilities through offers for free travel, rent, cigarettes, and even manicures. Upon arrival to the treatment facilities and sober living homes, the patients frequently find they have been deceived, and are merely pawns in a profit scheme, resulting in chronic relapses, overdoses, and even death.
The letters were signed by: Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO).
Bipartisan committee leaders launched their investigation in July, writing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the issue.
“According to these [media] reports, patient brokers target individuals with substance use disorders, as well as their loved ones, and push them to seek treatment at certain outpatient treatment facilities and to live at affiliated ‘sober living homes’ while undergoing treatment. In exchange for steering patients towards said facilities or sober living homes, patient brokers receive generous financial kickbacks,” wrote Walden, Pallone, Burgess, Green, and DeGette. “…It has also been reported that some treatment facilities bill private insurance at higher out-of-network rates that can easily total more than $10,000 a week. Reports indicate that the facilities not only bill for treatment, but some also bill insurers several times per week, per patient for unnecessary urine tests that can cost up to several thousand dollars per test.”
The bipartisan leaders continued, “Perhaps most disturbing is the allegation that some brokers follow these individuals with substance use disorders after they are released from treatment and provide them with drugs so that they will relapse and the entire process can be repeated. This scheme creates an incentive for relapse and profit rather than treatment and, ultimately, recovery.”
Click HERE to read the letters.