On February 8, 2017, Florida Senator Jeff Clemens (Dem.) filed a bill entitled “Marketing Practices for Substance Abuse Services” (SB 0788). A sister bill was filed in Florida’s House of Representatives by Bill Hager (Rep.) on February 13, 2017 (HB 807).
In the most general sense, the bills propose the following:
- creation of a marketing fraud statute specific to substance abuse treatment centers;
- mandating that all recovery residences, even those owned by treatment centers, receive FARR certification prior to suggesting that patients reside there;
- requiring lead generators, call centers and other web based marketing providers to make certain disclosures to consumers;
- requiring lead generators, call centers and other web based marketing providers to be licensed by the State of Florida Bureau of Professional Regulations;
- allowing the State Attorney’s office to prosecute patient brokering;
- institutes and increases fines for convictions of patient brokering; and
- expanding the definition criminal definition of “racketeering” to include patient brokering.
The bills also expand investigation and prosecution ability of the State and reduces substance abuse patient privacy in criminal investigations. If passed, the bill would grant law enforcement access to substance abuse patient records in criminal investigations. It also permits the State Department of Legal Affairs to investigate and prosecute patient brokering allegations.
The full text of each bill is available here and here.