Someone struggling with chemical dependence likely needs major support to overcome their addiction. Rehabilitation programs are often inpatient services that last for weeks or even months while someone slowly weans their body off of an addictive substance, attends therapy and tries to get a handle on their addictive behavior.
Many insurance programs will pay out huge amounts of money for inpatient treatment. With obscene rates of chemical dependence right here in Florida, the demand for rehabilitation services has never been higher.
Companies hoping to capitalize on this demand build facilities and then try to keep them full of patients, often putting more focus on profit than on success rates for clients. The focus on revenue can undermine the quality of care that patients receive, which is one reason why Florida has patient brokering laws that make practices that were once commonplace in medicine potentially illegal.
Florida has made patient brokering illegal
A physician recommending crucial care like rehabilitation services should recommend companies that they know have a great track record, not just the company where they have a friend on staff. When facilities pay a kickback to the person recommending new patients, that transfer of money creates even more of an incentive for a physician to make recommendations based not on what is best for their patient but rather on what will benefit them the most.
To promote transparency and honesty in the medical community and to protect patients from aggressive and unethical rehab recruiting efforts, Florida has passed state laws that make patient brokering illegal, unless a specific activity is explicitly authorized under federal law.
Physicians and other medical professionals should not receive any kind of financial compensation for referring a patient to a facility for care, as those payments or other rewards usually violate these rules.
Patient brokering could mean more than minor consequences
The penalties for patient brokering include felony charges with thousands in fines and possible jail time. However, physicians and other licensed medical professionals accused of putting their own gain ahead of patient welfare could also find that their licensing and professional reputations are at risk.
Defending yourself against allegations of patient brokering can protect not only your freedom but also your right to stay in the same profession.