How predatory brokers recruit patients for rehabilitation?


When Gina DeMaria first opened the . opened? Dominic House, a recovery house in Hanover, she was approached by a man who offered her $400 in exchange for every patient she referred to his Florida treatment center.

She said she had declined.

“I want to help people, I want to do good for people … and that’s what they’ll be chasing,” DeMaria said.

That predatory behavior is known as patient brokering. It’s a symptom of the opioid epidemic that state officials fear is plaguing Pennsylvania.

What is patient mediation?

A framed photo shows Gina DeMaria, right, with her son Anthony, center, in early 2014. After Anthony died of a heroin overdose, Gina started a nonprofit called Anthony's Way to help people with addictions and their families connect with the right resources.

Patient mediation is when someone asks another person to go to a rehabilitation, recovery, or treatment center. Often associated with “recruiters” trying to lure people seeking treatment to an out-of-state facility — often in Florida, Arizona, or California, where there is a dense population of rehab.

Some people lured to out-of-state treatment centers have fallen victim to insurance scams commonly referred to as the “Florida Shuffle”. Recruiters or fraudulent rehabilitation centers near each other will cycle persons in need in and out of each center to pay for insurance claims and cash.

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