Tennessee recently passed a law, HB 2068, to protect consumers of substance abuse treatment from false or manipulative marketing tactics. This is a stride in the right direction because there have been many complaints about the lack of transparency for those seeking treatment. Now all providers of substance abuse treatment, facilities and third-party marketers in Tennessee must adhere to these new rules. Here’s what Tennessee’s new law means for potential patients.
The Fall of False Information
Falsifying information used in marketing materials has been a problem for some substance abuse treatment centers in the past. This new law prohibits centers from supplying false or misleading information about their products, services, or locations in any of their marketing materials, to better protect prospective patients and their families. This is great for consumers and helps to empower patients with well-informed decision-making skills.
Have you ever clicked a link on a website, and been baffled by where it took you? For substance abuse centers in Tennessee, this is now considered an illegal practice. Deceptively redirecting users to other websites has become common for some substance abuse centers. This can lead to potential patients and their families falling down a rabbit hole of false information from sources that aren’t what they seem. Along with this part of the law, transparency also relates to their site’s coding, activation, or electronic links.
Referral programs and compensation are also covered in this new law. Some facilities will provide financial compensation for patient referrals, but this practice has been found to be dishonest. When this happens, the patient’s best interest is usually put on the backburner so that a facility can increase their revenue. Due to this practice becoming more popular, Tennessee decided to make it illegal for a facility to solicit, receive or attempt to receive a commission (or bonus, rebate, kickback, bribe etc.) in exchange for patient referrals.
Keeping Potential Patients In The Know
External marketing companies aren’t allowed to generate leads/referrals for services through call centers or web-based services without some stipulations. Now, if this practice is used, the prospective patient must be made fully aware so that they can make a well-informed decision when choosing a facility. Rules that must be followed include:
- Use of clear language that gives the prospective patient the ability to know whether a third-party marketer represents a facility that pays a fee for their services.
- Concise instructions that give prospective patients easy access to lists of licensed service providers of alcohol and drug services on the Alcohol and Drug Task Force (ADTF) department website.
- Tennessee is making it tougher for facilities to generate leads/referrals using a call center or web presence. These facilities must now have an office in Tennessee and must obtain a license.
This will help give consumers and their families more power when choosing a treatment facility that fits their specific needs.
Helping Families Seeking Treatment
As the internet and technology continues to advance, the ease of falsifying information continues to become easier. This new law placed by the state legislature of Tennessee is a step in the right direction towards a more transparent and fair world for individuals and their families who are seeking substance abuse treatment.
If you have questions or want more information, you can contact Turning Point of Tampa here.