Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced today that his legislation, the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act, which he introduced with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), to help stop payments to middlemen referring patients to illicit sober homes and treatment centers—increasingly a problem in South Florida—has been included in the opioids package. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the bill tomorrow, and the Senate will follow suit in the near future.
In May, Rubio also introduced the Sober Home Fraud Detection Act, which would help states, law enforcement, private insurers and patients identify potentially illicit sober home providers to ensure those who need treatment are able to do so from legitimate facilities while also preventing health care fraud. The Sober Home Fraud Detection Act was also included in the opioids package.
“Too many Americans suffering from the opioid crisis are exploited by illicit actors seeking to make a profit from addiction,” Rubio said. "My provision in this opioid package is vital in stopping the cash flow for patient brokers involved with illicit sober homes and treatment facilities, an issue that has long plagued South Florida and cost too many lives. I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for their help in securing this important provision, and I look forward to its passage in the overall opioid package so that we can begin to take real steps toward solving the opioid crisis.”
“It is critical that our federal partners have the tools available to assist local efforts to combat the fraud and abuse that has plagued the legitimate treatment industry. We appreciate the support from Senators Rubio and Klobuchar to empower federal prosecutors to go after corrupt kickbacks to patient brokers,” said Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who leads the Sober Homes Task Force in South Florida and brought the issue of patient brokering to Senator Rubio’s attention.
“As the leading non-profit provider of addiction treatment in the country, we are grateful to Senators Rubio and Klobuchar for addressing the unethical practice of patient brokering,” said Mark Mishek, President and CEO of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. “No other area of healthcare allows patient leads to be bought and sold, and the addiction treatment industry should be no exception. Far too many vulnerable people and families suffering from substance use disorder are being harmed by unethical marketing and business practices that turn patients into commodities. This provision of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act takes important steps to help ensure quality, ethical care for all who seek addiction treatment.”