Dear Lt. Gov. Patrick, Speaker Phelan, and Members of the Legislature,
Texans in recovery from substance use and co-occurring mental health issues urgently need stronger patient brokering laws and greater consumer protections.
Patient brokering, also known as kickbacks, body brokering or patient trafficking, causes ineffective and oftentimes harmful healthcare. In addition, it leads to fraud, fiscal irresponsibility, and exploitation of Texans’ financial resources. Within the substance use treatment and recovery industry, we have seen an increase of ‘bad players’ in Texas. However, victims and whistleblowers do not know where to report violations and are reluctant to come forward in fear of retaliation in the form of losing their housing, recovery support and jobs.
Current federal patient brokering laws are too narrow and they often go unenforced leaving Texans unprotected. State and local oversight agencies and law enforcement have not focused on this issue, leaving Texans susceptible to predatory practices.
We request that you update and strengthen Texas’ existing patient brokering laws and support greater consumer protections by creating a patient brokering task force, implementing and incentivizing voluntary recovery housing certification linked to nationally recognized standards, supporting recovery community liaisons to facilitate reporting and providing peer support for victims and whistleblowers who may need new housing or employment. These sound practices not only provide individuals and the workforce the protections they deserve, it also protects families and communities from exorbitant financial exploitation that is costly to all Texans.
Your fellow constituents