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Legislation seeks to ban patient brokering in Delaware

Delaware Public Media

Some lawmakers want to crack down on addiction treatment centers paying people to recruit patients.

New legislation would ban the practice known as patient brokering in Delaware.

Bill advocates say the opioid epidemic and federal funding for addiction treatment has created an opportunity for people looking to profit off the crisis.

Some for-profit treatment centers hire marketers to recruit patients with good insurance benefits to those rehabs. The recruiters get a kick back for each patient referred.

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long said patient brokering is happening in Delaware and across the country.

“We have had persons from out of state representing treatment facilities for mental health, substance abuse and addiction who are being paid a fee to get individuals to travel to their state,” she said.

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long said the bill being introduced aims to stop the patient brokering that’s happening in Delaware.

“We want to make that persons are taking advantage of care continuums and opportunities whether it’s in Delaware, out of state, where it’s legitimate services and it’s not someone kind of taking a kickback for their care that is so needed,” she said.

The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers calls patient brokering unethical. It's ethical code said no financial awards or other compensation should be given for referrals.

Under the bill, the state would fine entities engaged in the practice up to $10,000.

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