Breaking News
December 17, 2018 - Enlarged heart linked to a higher risk of dementia
December 17, 2018 - Prostate cancer detection using MRI now first-line investigation tool
December 17, 2018 - Adolescents who use cognitive reappraisal had better metabolic measures, shows study
December 17, 2018 - Probiotics may offer therapeutic benefits for biopolar patients
December 17, 2018 - Stealth BioTherapeutics Granted Fast Track Designation for Elamipretide for the Treatment of Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration with Geographic Atrophy
December 17, 2018 - Studies reveal role of red meat in gut bacteria, heart disease development
December 17, 2018 - Eisai enters into agreement with Eurofarma for its anti-obesity agent lorcaserin
December 17, 2018 - Researchers use brain connectome to reassess neuroimaging findings of Alzheimer’s disease
December 17, 2018 - “Miracle” baby survives Ebola in Congo and rapid a new Ebola detection device
December 17, 2018 - AHF urges the WHO to expedite approval process for vaccine effective against Ebola
December 17, 2018 - Study finds misuse of benzodiazepines to be highest among young adults
December 17, 2018 - TGen receives PayPal grant to underwrite costs of genetic tests for children with rare disorders
December 17, 2018 - New research highlights why HIV-infected patients suffer higher rates of cancer
December 17, 2018 - Antibiotic-resistant bacteria could soon be targeted with Alzheimer’s drug
December 17, 2018 - Rutgers scientists take an important step in making diseased hearts heal themselves
December 17, 2018 - Tailored Feedback at CRC Screen Improves Lifestyle Behaviors
December 17, 2018 - Loss of two genes drives a deadly form of colorectal cancer, reveals a potential treatment
December 17, 2018 - How the Mediterranean Diet Can Help Women’s Hearts
December 17, 2018 - Sustained connections associated with symptoms of autism
December 17, 2018 - Concussion rates among young football players were higher than previously reported
December 17, 2018 - Cresco Labs granted approval to operate marijuana dispensary in Ohio
December 17, 2018 - Study provides insight into health risks facing new mothers
December 17, 2018 - AMSBIO expands Wnt signaling pathway product range to aid research
December 16, 2018 - Surgical treatment unnecessary for many prostate cancer patients
December 16, 2018 - Excess weight responsible for cancers globally finds report
December 16, 2018 - Regular sex associated with greater enjoyment of life in seniors
December 16, 2018 - Social stigma contributes to poor mental health in the autistic community
December 16, 2018 - Multidisciplinary team successfully performs complex surgery on patient suffering from enlarged skull
December 16, 2018 - Experts analyze data that can guide antidepressant discontinuation
December 16, 2018 - Menlo Therapeutics’ Successful Phase 2 Clinical Trial of Serlopitant Demonstrates Reduction of Pruritus Associated with Psoriasis
December 16, 2018 - Siblings of children with autism or ADHD are at elevated risk for both disorders
December 16, 2018 - New project aims to understand why and how metabolic disorders develop in patients
December 16, 2018 - Diets containing GM maize have no harmful effects on health or metabolism of rats
December 16, 2018 - Are doctors and teachers confusing immaturity and attention deficit?
December 16, 2018 - Hearing loss linked with increased risk for premature death
December 16, 2018 - Chromatrap buffer reagents for lysing cells offer many benefits
December 16, 2018 - Young Breast Cancer Patients Face Higher Risk for Osteoporosis
December 16, 2018 - 3-D printing offers helping hand to people with arthritis
December 16, 2018 - Community Health Choice helps manage complex and chronic care conditions
December 16, 2018 - Regular trips out could dramatically reduce depression in older age
December 16, 2018 - CWRU to use VivaLNK’s Vital Scout device for stress study in student athletes
December 16, 2018 - ‘Easy Way Out’? Stigma May Keep Many From Weight Loss Surgery
December 16, 2018 - Gout drug may protect against chronic kidney disease
December 16, 2018 - Talking about memories enhances the wellbeing of older and younger people
December 16, 2018 - Occupational exposure to pesticides increases risk for cardiovascular disease among Latinos
December 16, 2018 - A biomarker in the brain’s circulation system may be Alzheimer’s earliest warning
December 16, 2018 - Magnesium may play important role in optimizing vitamin D levels, study shows
December 16, 2018 - The effect of probiotics on intestinal flora of premature babies
December 16, 2018 - Parents spend more time talking with kids about mechanics of using mobile devices
December 16, 2018 - Biohaven Announces Positive Results from Ongoing Rimegepant Long-Term Safety Study
December 16, 2018 - Arterial stiffness may predict dementia risk
December 16, 2018 - Study explores link between work stress and increased cancer risk
December 16, 2018 - Sex work criminalization linked to incidences of violence finds study
December 16, 2018 - Johns Hopkins researchers discover swarming behavior in fish-dwelling parasite
December 16, 2018 - Schistosomiasis prevention and treatment could help control HIV
December 16, 2018 - Early postpartum opioids linked with persistent usage
December 16, 2018 - Johns Hopkins researchers identify molecular causes of necrotizing enterocolitis in preemies
December 16, 2018 - Advanced illumination expands capabilities of light-sheet microscopy
December 16, 2018 - Alzheimer’s could possibly be spread via contaminated neurosurgery
December 16, 2018 - Unraveling the complexity of cancer biology can prompt new avenues for drug development
December 16, 2018 - Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Prostate Cancer Linked
December 16, 2018 - Cannabis youth prevention strategy should target mental wellbeing
December 15, 2018 - Recent developments and challenges in hMAT inhibitors
December 15, 2018 - Sewage bacteria found lurking in Hudson River sediments
December 15, 2018 - CDC selects UMass Amherst biostatistician model that helps predict influenza outbreaks
December 15, 2018 - Researchers reveal brain mechanism that drives itch-evoked scratching behavior
December 15, 2018 - New computer model helps predict course of the disease in prostate cancer patients
December 15, 2018 - Obesity to Blame for Almost 1 in 25 Cancers Worldwide
December 15, 2018 - How the brain tells you to scratch that itch
December 15, 2018 - New findings could help develop new immunotherapies against cancer
December 15, 2018 - World’s largest AI-powered medical research network launched by OWKIN
December 15, 2018 - Young people suffering chronic pain battle isolation and stigma as they struggle to forge their identities
December 15, 2018 - Lifespan extension at low temperatures depends on individual’s genes, study shows
December 15, 2018 - New ingestible capsule can be controlled using Bluetooth wireless technology
December 15, 2018 - Researchers uncover microRNAs involved in the control of social behavior
December 15, 2018 - Research offers hope for patients with serious bone marrow cancer
December 15, 2018 - Link between poverty and obesity is only about 30 years old, study shows
December 15, 2018 - Mass spectrometry throws light on old case of intentional heavy metal poisoning
December 15, 2018 - BeyondSpring Announces Phase 3 Study 105 of its Lead Asset Plinabulin for Chemotherapy-Induced Neutropenia Meets Primary Endpoint at Interim Analysis
December 15, 2018 - Study finds that in treating obesity, one size does not fit all
Help States Deter ‘Patient Brokering’, Lawmakers Told

Help States Deter ‘Patient Brokering’, Lawmakers Told

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

WASHINGTON — “Brokering” of addiction treatment patients is becoming a nationwide problem, but there are actions the federal government could take to help states and localities crack down on this activity, experts told lawmakers.

“In July 2016, our office formed a task force to crack down on this,” Dave Aronberg, the state’s attorney for Palm Beach County, Florida, said at Tuesday’s House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing. He noted that the task force has arrested 41 people and scored 10 convictions so far. “But we can’t fix this problem alone.”

Because treating addiction can be a lucrative business, some companies that operate in Florida and purport to treat substance abuse patients will hire people as marketers or call center operators; their job is to encourage patients to come in from out of state to receive treatment at an addiction center, or to stay at a “sober house” to integrate back into society once they have finished treatment, Aronberg explained.

Often, these facilities provide little or no addiction treatment, and the sober houses are more like flophouses and don’t provide the help they advertise, but the marketers get paid commissions or kickbacks for each person they sign up. They lure patients with offers of free travel, free rent, and other benefits.

“Together, the ACA [Affordable Care Act] and the [mental health] parity act cover rehabilitation on a traditional fee-for-service basis with no yearly or lifetime limits,” he said. “In recent years, there is a surge of people who have enriched themselves by using these laws to prey on addicts, who are often willing to participate in patient brokering, illegal kickbacks, and insurance fraud in exchange for illicit benefits such as cash, free rent, transportation and [even] drugs. This is the ‘Florida Shuffle.'”

And, because relapses are also covered, companies have an incentive for people not to get well — and will even go so far as to offer sober house residents drugs in order to make them relapse. “We are incentivizing failure,” Aronberg said.

Massachusetts has seen the problem from the other side, with patients leaving the state to get what they think will be effective treatment for their addictions, said Eric Gold, an assistant attorney general for healthcare in the state. “Our office began hearing stories of men and women from Massachusetts lured out of state by recruiters who promised free travel to addiction treatment centers, [but] when they arrived, they found that treatment was low-quality or non-existent, and they were left thousands of miles from home with no treatment, no resources, no insurance, and no way to return home.”

The witnesses had several recommendations for committee members to consider. “Address private insurance abuses by adopting the ACA’s outcome-based reimbursement model — which is used in Medicare — instead of the current fee-for-service model,” said Aronberg. “That will reward the best recovery centers while shuttering rogue operators. It could also improve outcomes as providers are incentivized to offer longer, lower-level care instead of ineffectual short bursts of intensive treatment with no follow-up.”

He also suggested clarifying the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to specifically allow localities to enact regulations for the health and safety of sober home residents. “These agencies [tried to clarify the rules] last year, but they seemed to miss the point … [Their clarification] seemed to ignore the realities on the ground and did not give any good guidance … We want to know, can we require mandatory certification of these facilities? They didn’t answer that.”

The city of Boca Raton tried to zone sober homes into an industrial area a few years ago, but the city got sued and lost, and was forced to pay out $3 million, he added. “The ADA and FHA were designed to protect individuals, but in reality they are used as a shield to protect the people who harm these folks.”

Douglas Tieman, president and CEO of Caron Treatment Centers, an addiction treatment provider, said that lawmakers “must [enforce] the laws currently on the books and must come up with other regulations that address [treatment] website accuracy and transparency … We need to establish standards in the treatment field and work with associations to establish standards for marketing, evidence-based treatment, and ethical billing.”

Currently, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers and the American Society of Addiction Medicine are developing standards in these areas, and hope to soon release a list of treatment providers who follow ethics standards, Tieman said.

Subcommittee member Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) said he was concerned because his district is already short on addiction treatment facilities, “and I know at least one in my district that pays either on volume or commission … If we eliminate [payment based on] commissions and volume, I fear we may be limiting access to substance abuse treatment itself.”

But Alan Johnson, the chief assistant state’s attorney in Palm Beach County and a colleague of Aronberg, said he had “not heard a compelling argument for why an employee needs to have commissions or bonuses. When you give someone a commission, you incentivize overutilization.”

Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) suggested that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) could develop best practices for addiction treatment facilities, and allow places that meet those criteria to receive certification for it. “I think SAMHSA could provide something like this, and I know I could get bipartisan support from the committee as well,” he said.

2017-12-13T17:15:00-0500

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles