Unfortunately there is a very common practice of clinics paying to be recommended by referring agents.
PROMIS will not pay bribes for patients. Our concerns regarding commissioned based referrals are that:
- Commission based referring agents favour clinics that pay commissions and are thus offering biased advice based on their profits and not the patients needs.
- Clinics are bribing therapists in order to get patients. One clinic is offering a £1000.00 extra bribe for every three patients referred. These therapists are registered with our professional organisation, the FDAP (http://www.fdap.org.uk/ ), and yet this organisation has done nothing to stop this practice. Ironically, the FDAP describes its purpose as being to “help improve standards of practice across the sector”.
- Patients can be charged more than double what the clinic would charge them as individuals.
- Commission agents often secretly have their own clinics and sell their own treatment services, sometimes this is disguised as being case management, thus they are directly competing with the clinics they are “independently” advising on.
- Referring agents can be stakeholders in clinics, at the same time as offering “independent” advice without this interest and bias being declared to the Patient.
- The problems is that all of the above practices are regularly being discussed by both the referring agents, therapists and clinics but no one seems prepared to do anything about it.
- This practice is illegal in the USA in most states. Practitioners who fall outside this state legislation, such as the clinicians who perform interventions, have rules in their code of ethics to explicitly preclude this activity. ( “The intervention specialist will not accept direct enumeration for making or receiving a referral of a patient.”) See: http://www.intervention.com We would expect the FDAP, and other regulatory organisations, to include a similar statement in their codes of ethics.
PROMIS will not pay any bribes to such agencies or therapists. We would ask patients to consider these factors when taking advice from these agents and to reconsider treatment with clinics who obtain their patients in this manner. Please ask the clinics directly if they pay bribes to referring agents and therapists to obtain their Patients.