WASHINGTON, DC – As the one-year-anniversary approaches of the historic SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act becoming law to combat the opioid crisis, Energy and Commerce Republicans are launching a new phase into the patient brokering investigation that began last Congress.
The alarming practice of patient brokering occurs when individuals serve as intermediaries and profit from the recruitment of patients seeking treatment for substance use disorder. Last Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee initiated an investigation into these allegations, and further expanded the investigation into the broader advertising and marketing practices in the substance use disorder treatment industry. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held two hearings examining patient brokering and advertising practices and sent bipartisan letters to HHS, six states, and eight call aggregators.
Today, Energy and Commerce Republicans are requesting information on various aspects of the substance use disorder treatment industry to build on the findings from last Congress. This request for information comes as Committee Republicans called for a continuation of bipartisan work to combat the opioid crisis in February, and pressed the Administration for an update on SUPPORT Act implementation in August.
Energy and Commerce Republican leaders said this request for information is an important step in the ongoing fight against the opioid crisis.
“The SUPPORT Act was not our first effort to combat the opioid crisis, and it certainly will not be our last. We must continue to fight the spread of substance use disorder in our communities, and that is exactly what we are doing with this request for information today. This fight is not over; we will not let up,” said Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Subcommittee on Health Republican Leader Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY).
Media reports and Committee investigations have identified serious concerns about the quality of care provided at substance use disorder treatment facilities. Lapses in oversight within the substance use disorder treatment industry have left patients vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous business owners.
Committee Republicans are specifically requesting information regarding the challenges, failures, fraud, and abuse within the substance use disorder treatment industry. In addition, the request seeks information regarding suggested best practices and other ways to improve the quality of substance use disorder treatment.