Investigation finds some NJ rehab centers exploit patients for profit

A new state investigation has found that some rehabilitation centers in New Jersey are exploiting patients who are in recovery for drug and alcohol abuse.

News 12 Staff

Oct 11, 2022, 11:15 PM

Updated 646 days ago

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A new state investigation has found that some rehabilitation centers in New Jersey are exploiting patients who are in recovery for drug and alcohol abuse. The New Jersey State Commission of Investigation says that it can be more lucrative for these rehab centers to keep patients in a cycle of addiction.
“People and families suffering from addiction are extremely vulnerable,” says NJSCI special agent Edward Kitts.
With fentanyl, heroin and alcohol abuse damaging the lives of thousands, many of those people and their families turn to rehab centers to help get their lives back on track.
But as a state investigative hearing Tuesday in Trenton showed, some unscrupulous operators in the addiction recovery industry are less interested in recovery and more interested in profits provided reliably by insurance companies.
According to the investigation, some of the rehab centers participated in patient brokering.
“Which amounted to putting a body in a bed for cash,” says NJSCI special agent Eric Rennert.
This is illegal under state and federal law.
“It incentivizes people, organizations who are supposed to be helping vulnerable patients into treatment centers that may not be best suited for them,” Rennert says.
The testimony also told of client referrals in exchange for airline tickets and cash payments to steer patients to specific rehab centers.
“They were used to fund their lavish lifestyle and grow their business operations,” says NJSCI forensic accountant Laura Mercandetti.
The commission says this keeps people trapped in a "cycle of addiction, treatment and relapse."
“We're not done here. Our investigation continues. We have more things to do,” says NJSCI executive director Chadd Lackey.
The next step will be for the commission to write a full report, which will then be shared with the public.
The estimated worth of the recovery industry is $42 billion.


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