RELEASE: Bill to Protect Substance Abuse Recovery Patients Advances

AB 1158 Establishes Minimum Insurance Coverage for Treatment Facilities and Recovery Residences

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – The California Assembly Health Committee has unanimously passed legislation authored by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris to protect patients recovering from alcohol and substance abuse. AB 1158 will ensure that licensed drug abuse recovery and treatment facilities, and recovery residences that contract with the government, maintain minimum insurance coverage levels to protect patients from abuse or injury.  
 
Substance use has skyrocketed since the Covid-19 Pandemic began and an increasing number of Californians have begun to seek recovery services. Mounting evidence has revealed reported cases of abuse against patients in these facilities, including death and serious injury.
 
“For far too long those seeking treatment at substance abuse facilities have been conned by bad actors looking to make a quick buck,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “Californians who are desperately trying to overcome drug and alcohol addiction should only be worrying about their treatment, not their safety. AB 1158 will provide critical protections for Californians seeking recovery.”   

AB 1158 aims to increase standards to protect patients seeking substance abuse treatment by establishing minimum insurance coverage levels, giving insurance companies the tools they need to protect the well-being of patients in recovery and requiring state regulatory agencies to work collaboratively in investigation of these complaints.

AB 1158 will next be heard in the Assembly’s Insurance Committee later this month. 
 
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
“Californians seeking help for alcohol and substance use urgently need additional consumer protections now more than ever during this pandemic,” said Commissioner Lara, who leads enforcement personnel at the Department of Insurance charged with investigating fraud and abuse. “Requiring minimum insurance standards and reporting of injuries and deaths means my Department’s investigators can swiftly act to protect public health and safety.”

“We cannot allow grifters who masquerade as substance abuse recovery providers to abuse their caregiver status just to turn a profit,” said Casey Johnson, Board of Directors Member, Consumer Attorneys of California. “Californians working hard to recover from drug and alcohol addiction deserve the high quality of care they are paying for, and AB 1158 will ensure the victims of the unscrupulous ‘patients for profits’ business model can pursue justice when they are harmed or taken advantage of by bad actors in the addiction treatment industry.”

"Under our current laws, unscrupulous sober living operators are allowed to set up shop with little to no requirements for health and safety, or even basic business practices. AB 1158 will stop these operators from disregarding the safety of residents and the property of landlords by requiring that they carry appropriate levels of insurance that don't leave people in early recovery and well-meaning property owners holding the bag when things go wrong," said Pete Nielsen, CEO, California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals.

AB 1158 is supported by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, California Department of Insurance and Consumer Attorneys of California, Associated Rehabilitation Program for Women Inc. California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals, Casa Palmera, City of Torrance, Community Social Model Advocates, Inc. Consumer Attorneys of California, Elevate Addiction Services, Hathaway Recovery Substance Abuse and Behavioral Treatment Center, Opus Health, LLC, Orange County Recovery Collaboration, San Jose City College Alcohol and Drug Studies Program, Soroptimist House of Hope, Inc. Stepping Stone of San Diego, the Purpose of Recovery and the Turning Point Home.