It’s been said that “Money is the root of all evil.” Perhaps not always but in the addiction treatment and recovery industry, that philosophy is showing a heavy hand – to the detriment of the people who really need the help. It’s no wonder. This is a $35 billion business. And with the growing number of Americans addicted to opioids, the business will undoubtedly get better for the rehab owners which is, in part, why ethical drug rehabs in Arizona are so hard to find these days.

Corporate Recruiters of a Different Kind

Uncovering the truth behind the lies continues to be a sobering experience. Ever since the door to federal funding opened for addiction treatment in 2010 through the Affordable Care Act, shady entrepreneurs realized a lucrative opportunity and seized it, with a vengeance. Web driven marketing led individuals seeking help for their drug or alcohol addiction to these new business owners who were more interested in the quick buck than treating patients. Hence, the illegal practice known as patient brokering began.

The individuals who specifically work these deals are body brokers. They act as the middle person, putting those seeking treatment and the addiction treatment facilities together.

Addiction Treatment Is Supposed to Be Confidential

There’s an awkwardness about entering drug or alcohol rehab, which is understandable for a myriad of reasons. Just like other health care treatment, addiction treatment and recovery programs should fall under the auspices of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) law. Patients have the right to privacy, which includes their personal information and types of treatment provided be kept confidential.

Unfortunately, some employees of addiction treatment facilities are brought into the mix of body brokering, accepting payment for the sharing of patients’ personal information. Once the information is shared, a list is formed used to coerce these same patients into additional treatment and recovery services that aren’t needed – a repetitive cash cow for the taking. Most likely, not getting the type of rehab needed, patients are lost in the shuffle of a system that has no interest in serving them well. For some, it not only leads to financial ruin but back to ongoing substance abuse.

If you were the one needing help to get clean from opioid addiction or alcoholism, how would you know if the person you’re talking to on the phone or on the web chat was reputable, let alone being who they said they were? You wouldn’t. But change is on the horizon.

Legal Loopholes Bring Out the Vultures that Prey on the Vulnerable

The addiction treatment industry needed to come up with some safeguards, to protect patients as well as the legitimate business owners. In 2014, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers put forth its “Ethics Code”. Included are specific guidelines regarding patient referrals and that no monetary rewards of substantive gifts can be offered. Though workarounds exist.

Body brokers sweet talk rehab centers by suggesting that they can set up a donation program on their behalf. So, if the broker can refer a patient to them, the rehab center would then provide a $7500 “donation”, for example, to their “cause”. And with no defined legal language in place to help regulate the process of marketing for potential clients, such as financial disclosures for marketing affiliations and referral-based business, how to do the addiction rehab business right was subject to unsavory interpretations.

Patient Recycling

All too common are addiction treatment or recovery resource websites that promise a quick cure at a swanky location in 30 days or less. People ready to start a new life, drug free, and their family members are lured to these sites by savvy social advertising. Desperate to find treatment, they respond in record numbers only to cycle in and out of multiple recovery centers. But it gets more disgusting.

Many of those “filling the beds” at these facilities are then approached by various staff members, soliciting them to contact their addict friends in hopes of gaining referrals to place them in the same facilities. What’s the compensation offered to these patients for the referrals? The very thing they are getting treated for – drugs.

Scottsdale Recovery Takes a Stand for those Fighting Addiction

There’s a famous scene in the 1976 film “Network”, where a news anchor starts a following by screaming aloud, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” It isn’t long before others join in and a movement of sorts is started. Have a look. It’s amazing how as a society, we haven’t progressed very far.

Take the sentiments of that film clip, and it expresses how Scottsdale Recovery Center owner Chris Cohn feels about what’s happening to unsuspecting patients and the addiction treatment industry.

“This patient brokering has got to stop. It makes me sick just thinking about what’s going on. And we see it here every day. People that have been taken advantage of online and then again while they’re supposed to be getting treatment. They’re basically just getting robbed of their dignity, money, and a chance at lifelong recovery. It’s insane.” states Cohn.

From the onset of his rehab business in 2008, Cohn vowed to treat people right. With the escalating numbers of body brokers crowding the industry and giving it a bad name (often justified), Cohn wants to pool people together as advocates for a better way. Here’s how you can help.

Because Scottsdale Recovery Center of Arizona stands by its people, its patients, and long-standing reputation for ethical practices in addiction treatment, we are asking you to stand with us. If you’ve been a victim of illegal addiction treatment practices or know someone who has, stand with us.

Please share this blog, so that others who need to break free from drugs and alcohol can do so – in a trusted, compassionate environment. Pass it on through social media: Just add #IStandTogether to your posts, share your story and be part of our community.

We’ll Stand Together in Your Addiction Treatment and Recovery

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center Holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007.  Call  1-888-NODRUGS

Melanie SternAuthored by Melanie Stern, Content Director for Scottsdale Recovery Center, Arizona Addiction Recovery Centers and Cohn Media, LLC. Writer and broadcaster covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment, technology and advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best.

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