Senator Patricia Bates Authors Additional Bills to Protect Recovering Addicts from Exploitation

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) announced today that she has introduced two additional bills to help improve outcomes for people recovering from substance addiction.

SB 1144 requires the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to take action against an unlicensed facility if it has received a substantiated complaint, or refer the complaint to the appropriate enforcement agency. Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), the chair of the Senate Health Committee, has joined forces with Senator Bates to co-author SB 1144.

SB 1172 requires a residential treatment facility or certified alcohol or drug program that is licensed or certified by the state to disclose its license number and expiration date in all marketing materials and to any person who inquires about the license.

These two bills are in addition to “Brandon’s Law” (Senate Bill 863) that Senator Bates introduced in January to prohibit an operator of rehabilitation treatment facilities from providing any form of false advertising or marketing services.

Senator Bates authored all three bills due in part to a comprehensive investigation by the Southern California News Group (SCNG) that found that California’s hands-off approach to regulating the industry makes it easy for dishonest operators to take advantage of vulnerable individuals. According to the SCNG, they “found that destitute and homeless addicts can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to unscrupulous rehab centers, where those addicts often are bought, sold and exploited for their insurance payments.”

“For all of its leadership in other policy areas, it is curious that California’s state government has been reluctant to take bolder steps in protecting recovering addicts from exploitation,” said Senator Bates. “Requiring the state to follow-up on substantiated complaints and empowering consumers with more information on recovery programs should be no-brainers. I hope the Legislature can approve my bills and send them to Governor Newsom’s desk this year.”

SB 1144 and SB 1172 are currently awaiting referral to a Senate policy committee.