Senator Santarsiero, Representatives Davis and Warren Announce Legislation to Combat Patient Brokering

BUCKS COUNTY − June 10, 2019 −  In front of the former office of Liberation Way in Yardley, an addiction treatment center accused of defrauding patients and health insurance companies, state Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10), and state Representatives Tina Davis (D141) and Perry Warren (D-31) introduced SB 713 and HB 1018, legislation that would charge fraudulent addiction treatment facilities in Pennsylvania with a felony at the state level.

“Patient brokering, a practice relied upon by Liberation Way, essentially trades patient referrals for kickbacks,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “This facility was unregulated and ill-equipped to be of any help to the patients seeking treatment. This legislation would create three different felonies relating to the number of patients affected. It is my hope that by putting a stop to patient brokering, people in need of treatment will have access to real resources and programs that will help them into recovery.”

In the House, Rep. Davis introduced HB 1018, which mirrors SB 713. 

“I strongly believe we need to pass this legislation immediately,” Rep. Davis said. “People’s lives are at stake and we cannot allow profiteers to take advantage of families when their loved ones are in this vulnerable state. They demand our support and protection.”

“The addiction crisis is tremendous and it effects all of our communities,” Rep. Warren said. “Every dime that is allocated to preventing opioid addiction and encouraging recovery should be spent on recovery and prevention, not on bribes, kickbacks, and brokering. Regulations like this benefit the centers and organizations that do it the right way.”   

Senator Santarsiero and Representatives Davis and Warren were joined by Bryan Kennedy, CEO of Independence Lodge, and Michele Butler, a New Britain resident who has witnessed what happens when addiction treatment facilities are left unregulated and unsupervised.

“Patient brokering is an unethical and inappropriate practice,” Kennedy said. “It hurts our field, it hurts our programs, and most importantly, it hurts our patients.”

“My neighbors and I believe this bill is an important step in building regulated, transparent, effective, and affordable systems of treatment for people struggling with addiction,” Butler said. “What we have witnessed and continue to witness is the devastation businesses built on brokering and fraud create. We are here today to put an end to these practices.”

“This industry, like so many others, is rife with people who are trying to take advantage through unscrupulous business practices like patient brokering,” Santarsiero said as he ended the press conference. “By passing Senate Bill 713 and House Bill 1018, we can make a difference on the state level.”   

Video of the press conference can be found here.