Ah yes, the million dollar question that strikes fear into the hearts and minds of all treatment providers.
In the current panic to run as far away from “marketers” (aka “patient delivery services”), call centers and other “lead generators” are touting their services as the “viable legal alternative.”
All I can say is “BUYER BEWARE.”
If you are “buying” a lead, how is that not “buying” a patient?
If you are “selling” a lead, how is that not “selling” a patient?
Worse, if you are buying a “filtered” lead (i.e., a lead where insurance has been verified and the only thing really left to do is to do the admission paperwork), then how can that not be buying a patient?
I know there are companies and websites that openly tout their “compliance” and that they have had their business model “reviewed by the top health care lawyers” in the field.
I have no doubt that people will go to great lengths to go lawyer shopping to get the opinion they are looking for. I also have no doubt lawyers will go to great lengths to appear they know what they are talking about.
It’s common sense, people.
Here’s a test you can use to determine whether you are involved with or engaged in patient brokering – did the patient (or patient’s parents or next of kin) knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily select the treatment center they were “placed” with, or are they on a “need to know” basis? Are they just showing up with their insurance card in hand, or were they directly involved in selecting the best health care provider for themselves? Were you providing a “substance abuse information service” or are you involved in a conspiracy to sell human beings as a commodity?
Only our “marketing” friends know the answer.