Fraud In Florida Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Centers
Substance abuse is a nationwide problem in the United States, and Florida has become a mecca of sorts for rehabilitation centers. However, there has been a pattern in recent years of far too many businesses being set up to entrap, rather than treat, patients in search of help getting sober. Every month seems to yield a brand-new story of another Florida business unmasked as a front for massive healthcare fraud, while patients suffer. If you suspect that you are being sold a bill of goods instead of the care you deserve, you may have a case against your ‘rehab center.’
Breaching the Standard of Care
Rehabilitation centers are considered medical facilities, which means they owe a duty to exercise the appropriate level of care toward their patients. This means providing the appropriate medical treatment to people who may be detoxing from hard drugs or alcohol, and generally providing a safe environment in which to get clean. However, too many facilities see their patients as cash cows, rather than people in need of assistance.
For example, one of the most notorious methods of fraud seen in substance abuse and addiction treatment facilities is known as patient brokering. Patient brokering is when a third party is paid a ‘kickback’ to funnel patients with good health insurance into a facility, for purposes of charging that insurance illegally. Florida banned the practice decades ago, but modified the statute in 2019 with language that essentially eliminated a lot of loopholes previously used to get away with it. Nonetheless, it still occurs, and the patient who needs help is often either mistreated or neglected.
Spotting Fraud & Negligence
If you are currently in rehab, and you suspect that you are not actually being treated, there are other potential red flags that may indicate you have been the victim of negligence. One of the most common practices used by unethical proprietors is ordering “excessive, medically unnecessary” urinalysis drug tests – they are easy tests to perform, but they are also easy to forge or misrepresent. In some cases, patients were actually given substances or otherwise encouraged to abuse substances in order to lengthen their stay in the facility.
Unfortunately, too many times, these practices end in drug overdoses for the most vulnerable people. For those who remain, it may be possible to file suit against a facility that engages in any of these behaviors. If you can establish that the facility breached the standard of care due to patients, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. Alternatively, a claim based in ordinary negligence may also be possible, particularly against the facility itself.
Contact A Tampa Substance Abuse Rehab Center Attorney
Someone who needs rehabilitation for substance abuse or addiction is in a vulnerable position. They need help, but sometimes, they are merely taken advantage of. If you believe that your substance abuse rehab facility has been engaging in fraud, negligence, or abuse, contacting a dedicated and compassionate Tampa treatment center negligence attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can be the first step toward getting your sense of self back. Contact our office today for a free consultation.