Here Come the Addiction Treatment Police!
Congress Responds to Reports of Patient Brokering
Late last month, the United States Congress sent letters to eight call aggregators regarding their practices as well as reports of addiction treatment patient brokering. In our opinion, this is more than a shot across the bow. The information in each of these letters comes straight for an addiction treatment industry insider.
Depending on how the call aggregators respond, many of these companies could be in deep legal trouble. What we see here, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. The Washington, D.C. regulators are coming, and it looks like they are hard charging this time.
Out of the eight companies that Congress targeted, it appears that only two of them are actual treatment centers : American Addiction Centers and Treatment Management Company. American Addiction Centers, or AAC, purchased a company called Recovery Brands a few years ago.
Recovery Brands was the publisher of lead-generating websites Recovery.org and Rehabs.com, and now it is owned by Sober Media Group, LLC – a subsidiary of AAC. We aren’t 100 percent sure, but chances are very good Rehabs.com and Recovery.org sell leads to rehabs other than their parent company, American Addiction Centers.
One Company that May Be Safe
In our opinion, Treatment Management Company is the only pure play addiction treatment company that does not aggregate leads. Why? Because it is small family of addiction treatment centers. Also, we don’t believe they are in the lead selling or lead aggregation business; we think they only generate leads for their own facilities.
Why Generating Leads Directly Is More Effective
We are familiar with a few of the other players, and do know for a fact that they aggregate leads. At Addiction-Rep, we feel that the best way to help both patients and rehabs is to help the rehabs generate their own leads without the help of a third party. Why? Because if the patient or the family actually goes to a third-party website, they really don’t know whom they are talking to.
If they visit the treatment center’s website directly and get to know the programs and the people, then they are more likely to inquire about treatment there.
The addiction treatment industry is a competitive space. Several players have come from other industries such as telecom, mortgage, insurance and automotive, and have brought over similar business models to the addiction space. No doubt, these types of business practices have certainly driven up pricing and pushed some of the smaller players out.
What Congress, Aggregators and Rehabs Should Expect
It will be very interesting to see the answers Congress gets from these letters. I might be concerned if I were an aggregator or a rehab that purchases leads from these aggregators. We’re not sure if there will be any penalties, but we do think some new laws will be added to the books in 2018 or in early 2019.
Which Companies Were Targeted?
Congress sent a letter to the following eight organizations:
- Addiction No More
- Addiction Recovery Now
- American Addiction Centers
- Elite Rehab Placement
- Intervention Allies
- Redwood Recovery Solutions
- Solutions Recovery Center
- Treatment Management Company
To find links to the letters Congress sent to each of these groups, click here.
Excerpt from one of the letters: “One of the ways that patient brokers can generate leads on potential clients is through phone hotlines that connect to call centers or call aggregators … the call centers will prescreen potential patients with the goal to ‘ultimately sell the patient’s information to the highest bidder.’ Some treatment facilities and marketers are upfront about their use of call aggregators … Others reportedly engage in deceptive tactics to hide the fact that they refer patients to treatment facilities that pay for referrals.”
See Our Tips on How to Train Your Own In-House Call Center Staff