A patient broker is a middleman who lures and trades a patient to a particular medical institution or a treatment center in exchange for perquisites and money. Patient brokering is defined as a practice which involves getting kickbacks in lieu of helping to enroll people who are suffering with terminal illness, chronic illness or addiction. Patient brokers are middlemen who locate patients and refer them or sell them along with their insurance coverage to medical institutions and rehabilitation centers that are willing to pay those commissions or kickbacks. Such brokers are also referred to as `body brokers’, `junkie hunters’ or `interventionists’. The practice of patient brokering has warped the health care system, blurring the fine lines between genuine medical care and profiteering.
Brokering of this nature may actually happen in several different ways. In few cases, patient brokers may approach a sober home or a treatment program center with prospective patients and solicit kickbacks or fees when they exchange information concerning such patients. In some other cases, the treatment program center or the sober home management may recruit patient brokers and retain them on their payroll.
In many cases, the patient brokers are often patients themselves who have successfully completed their treatment in a particular rehabilitation center and they are approached by the management of a rehab unit to procure patients for the clinic in return for fees or kickbacks.