Legislation sponsored by New York Senator Fred Akshar of Binghamton making it a crime to get kickbacks from substance abuse services providers moves forward.

The Senate has approved the measure that would ban offering or accepting payment in exchange for patient referral or admission.

Akshar says the legislation is aimed at protecting people who suffer from addiction disorders.

The Republican says there has been an increase in brokers who aggressively pursue people in need of treatment services and sometimes charge extravagant fees for a promise of admission to treatment programs.  Akshar says patients with good insurance coverage and out-of-network benefit packages are targeted for brokers to get “the highest return” in payments regardless of the actual treatment needed by the patient.