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California bill aims to help patients

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2018 | Insurance Law

Patient brokering is a practice that involves recruiting those who have substance abuse issues and referring them to rehab facilities. This is seen as a predatory practice that can lead to the death of patients as well as insurance fraud. However, proposed legislation in the California Senate would end the practice in that state. It would require that recovery programs that refer patients to be licensed and to only send them to facilities that meet certain standards.

Currently, New York and Florida also ban the practice of patient brokering, which some compare to human trafficking. Facilities that patients are referred to would need to have tools such as naloxone to help save anyone who had overdosed. In some cases, staff in sober living and other recovery facilities are not trained to help those who are experiencing a potentially life-threatening emergency such as an opioid overdose.

If the bill were to pass, it would also require that facilities make a commitment to protecting patients against financial, sexual or physical abuse. The legislation has to be approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee before it can be voted on by the full Senate. That would likely take place sometime at some point in the summer.

Those who engage in tactics designed to defraud insurance companies could face significant penalties. For instance, someone convicted of insurance fraud may be sent to jail or fined. In some cases, restitution may also be part of the sentence rendered by a judge. This is because it may result in insurance companies losing millions of dollars in improper claims paid. Those who have been the victim of a fraudulent scheme may benefit from talking to an attorney to better understand their rights.