Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Beach, in partnership with California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, has introduced a bill aimed at ensuring that licensed drug abuse recovery and treatment facilities and recovery homes contracted with the government will increase of the standards to protect patients from abuse or injury.
The stated reasoning behind the bill is that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented rise in substance use, and an increasing number of Californians have begun to seek recovery services.
Assembly Bill 1158 seeks to address the abuse of vulnerable patients, including death and serious injury, by providing additional consumer protection.
"Californians seeking help with alcohol and substance use urgently need additional consumer protection, now more than ever during this pandemic," Lara said in a statement. "By requiring minimum insurance standards and reporting injuries and deaths, my department's investigators can act quickly to protect public health and safety."
The bill follows media reports of alleged unscrupulous business practices exploiting patients for profit, including the Orange County Register's research series on the & # 39; Rehab Riviera & # 39; in Southern California, highlighting the problems posed by unlicensed recovery homes operating with little to no government regulation or private insurance. risk management.
AB 1158 requires a recovery home, including a sober residential home, contracted with a government agency or a recovery or treatment facility to protect alcohol or on-site patients and workers.
The bill would also reportedly increase an insurance company's ability to protect the well-being of people in recovery by ensuring that a home or facility meets health and safety standards, including reporting incidents of death or injuries that require hospitalization , back to insurance. company and respective government agency.
The bill also aims to increase the ability of state regulatory agencies to work together to investigate insurance claims, protect patients, and prevent fraud at these facilities and homes.
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