Patient brokering, or “body brokering,” is a growing stain on the drug treatment industry. A third party, the “broker,” provides persuasive incentives, such as money or in some cases drugs, for addicts to sign up at a treatment facility. In return, the treatment facility hands the broker a referral bonus — anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 per new client.
This problem began to surface in 2014, when the ACA (Affordable Care Act), or Obamacare passed. While in recovery, many addicts discovered the “gold rush” of monetary opportunity awaiting them – in buying and selling insured addicts from one center to another.
The perfect storm was compounded when brokers discovered that PPO rehab providers were being penalized by insurance companies for directly mailing the provider’s checks for services to patients in rehab.
As such, opportunistic third-party brokers learned how to change addresses to receive the money. With this money, brokers would buy and sell addicts, caught in the clutches of “body brokering.”
In this way, patient brokering becomes a game of numbers: the more addicts that join treatment centers, the more money the center and broker make. It is a system built on exploiting the vulnerable.