New Legislation to Deter Substance Use Disorder Treatment Centers from Patient Brokering Passes NJ Assembly

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge throughout New Jersey and the nation, and unfortunately, the opioid crisis continues to grow more dire as well. Suspected overdoses are up 42 percent in May.  Sadly, there have been individuals who have been exploiting those with substance use disorder for profit during these trying times.

Health care providers and insurance companies have been making efforts to better connect those who need treatment with the services they need. However, this has created an opportunity for fraud.  Individuals, posing as recruiters, have profited by receiving commission or a fee for referring patients to facilities by using bribery, promising gifts, money, all-expense-paid travel, food and even drugs to potential patients. Thankfully, last week New Jersey passed legislation to combat this patient brokering fraud.

Under the new legislation, a person will be found guilty of a crime if he or she makes or receives a payment or receives any fee, commission or rebate in connection with the referral of a patient to a facility. This bill also holds substance use disorder treatment centers accountable if they pay someone for a referral and will help prevent New Jersey residents from falling victim to these tactics in the future.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is thankful to our representatives in the New Jersey  Assembly for taking action, protecting those who need treatment and putting a stop to these fraudulent practices. There is not one easy solution to the opioid epidemic, and this issue has complicated the crisis even further.

We encourage anyone suffering with substance use disorder to reach out and get the treatment they need during these difficult times. Additionally, for more information on substance use disorder recovery during COVID-19, please sign up for our next free Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Webinar “Substance Use Disorder Recovery During COVID-19: Perspectives from the Front Lines,” at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 23.

Continued wishes to stay safe and well.

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