With the most recent addition of Amanda LaFrance arrested in Florida for steering patients to treatment centers in return for cash kickbacks, Florida is far and away the epicenter of this illegal activity.
Amanda, who is 25, was caught in a government sting intended at chipping away at this unethical practice is notable for her young age, but not for the size of her crime. Her alleged transgression of receiving $6,750 pales in comparison to the types of figures that ringleader James Kigar was moving around (the main operator of Whole Life Recovery, which is the drug rehab at the center of the controversy).
Many Ask, “What is the Big Deal About a Referral Fee?”
The practice of brokering patients is, in short, getting financial payment for referring patients to a specific treatment center. If this does not sound like much of a crime to you, then you are not alone. The practice of paying “kickbacks” for treatment referrals might seem logical, but there are strict regulations surrounding referring patients to get medical care. The law is intended to keep referrals going to destinations that have the patient’s best interest in mind, not the finances of the person doing the referring.
“Addicts Helping Addicts”
The saying goes in the 12-step Meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous that it is made up of “addicts helping addicts.” It would seem to be a grave violation of this ethos to sell someone’s treatment to the highest bidder rather than truly recommend what might help them. What makes Amanda LaFrance’s crime a little more tragic and unexpected was that she was in fact merely three years removed from entering treatment for her own addiction. Amanda then subsequently had a child with fellow recovering addict Deon Hill. In the interim they have both relapsed and Deon Hill has been charged with armed robbery.
The arrests have netted many in the Palm Beach area but there are similar charge being prepared in the Southern California area and no doubt many other hotbeds of addiction treatment centers.