Establishes the crime of unlawful procurement of clients, patients or customers for knowingly acting as a runner, or using, soliciting, directing, hiring or employing another person to act as a runner; a "runner" is defined as a person, who knowingly, for profit, seeks to procure clients, patients or customers on behalf of an attorney or health care provider for the purpose of falsely or fraudulently obtaining benefits under a contract of insurance or asserting a claim against an insurer or insured for the services provided by such attorney or health care provider.
Ayes (58): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Dilan, Espaillat, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Johnson, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Martins, Maziarz, McDonald, Montgomery, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Nays (1): Duane
Absent (1): Diaz
Excused (1): Oppenheimer
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to establishing the class E felony of unlawful procurement of clients, patients or customers
PURPOSE: To make the use of "runners" illegal in New York.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Amends article 176 of the Penal Law as follows: Section one of the bill adds three new definitions to Section 176.00, defining "provider", "public media" and "runner." A "runner" is defined as a person who, for a pecuniary benefit, procurers or attempts to procure a client. patient. or customer at the direction of request of or in cooperation with a provider whose purpose is to seek to obtain benefits under a contract of insurance or assert a claim against an insured or an insurance carrier for providing services to the client, patient or customer.
Section two of the bill adds a new section 176.40 to the Penal Law to make it a class E felony to use or act as a runner.
Section three of the bill provides for an effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: On July 15, 1999 Governor Christie Whitman of New Jersey signed into law legislation making it a crime to act as a runner or to solicit or employ a runner to procure clients. This law was a result of recommendations by that state's Governor's Task Force on Health Care Fraud.
This legislation is patterned on that law. The use of runners is a practice which facilitates fraud and serves no legitimate purpose. A runner is defined as a person who receives a pecuniary benefit for procuring or attempting to procure clients. patients or customers for a provider whose purpose is to obtain benefits under an insurance contract for providing services. Because most fraud schemes depend on a large volume of patients. health care providers and attorneys engaged in fraud will often pay third parties for recruiting clients, patients and customers. Often the client, patient or customer receives inadequate or inappropriate care and services.
The use of runners is unfortunately common in the New York metropolitan area. In addition to inadequate medical care, the use of runners inflates the cost of insurance which, in turn, is borne by the insuring public. This bill makes it illegal for a provider to payor offer to pay a pecuniary benefit to a runner. Soliciting clients through the public media and referring clients, patients and customers to a provider as is otherwise authorized by law is excluded from the prohibitions under this bill. The tem1S of this proposal are consistent with the Bar Association's Canon of Ethics regarding referrals.
This bill makes it a class E felony to act as a runner or hiring another person to act as a runner.
COST TO STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009/2010 - S.1335 - Referred to Codes 2007/2008 - S.637 - Passed Senate /Assembly Codes 2005/2006 - S.487 - Passed Senate/Assembly Codes 2003/2004 - S.555 - Passed Senate/Assembly Codes 2001/2002 - S.123 - Passed Senate/Assembly Codes 2000 - S.6781-B - Passed Senate/Assembly Rules
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2004 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 14, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. SKELOS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to establishing the class E felony of unlawful procurement of clients, patients or customers THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 176.00 of the penal law is amended by adding three new subdivisions 6, 7 and 8 to read as follows: 6. "PROVIDER" MEANS AN ATTORNEY, A HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL, AN OWNER OR OPERATOR OF A HEALTH CARE PRACTICE OR FACILITY, ANY PERSON WHO CREATES THE IMPRESSION THAT HE OR SHE, OR HIS OR HER PRACTICE CAN PROVIDE LEGAL OR HEALTH CARE SERVICES, OR ANY PERSON EMPLOYED OR ACTING ON BEHALF OF ANY SUCH PERSON. 7. "PUBLIC MEDIA" MEANS TELEPHONE DIRECTORIES, PROFESSIONAL DIRECTO- RIES, NEWSPAPERS AND OTHER PERIODICALS, RADIO AND TELEVISION, BILL- BOARDS, AND MAILED OR ELECTRONICALLY TRANSMITTED WRITTEN COMMUNICATIONS THAT DO NOT INVOLVE IN-PERSON CONTACT WITH A SPECIFIC PROSPECTIVE CLIENT, PATIENT, OR CUSTOMER. 8. "RUNNER" MEANS A PERSON WHO, FOR A PECUNIARY BENEFIT, PROCURES OR ATTEMPTS TO PROCURE A CLIENT, PATIENT OR CUSTOMER AT THE DIRECTION OF, REQUEST OF OR IN COOPERATION WITH A PROVIDER WHEN SUCH PERSON KNOWS OR HAS REASON TO KNOW THAT THE PURPOSE OF SUCH PROVIDER IS TO SEEK TO FALSELY OR FRAUDULENTLY: OBTAIN BENEFITS UNDER A CONTRACT OF INSURANCE; OR ASSERT A CLAIM AGAINST AN INSURED OR AN INSURANCE CARRIER FOR PROVID- ING SERVICES TO THE CLIENT, PATIENT OR CUSTOMER. SUCH TERM SHALL NOT INCLUDE A PERSON WHO PROCURES OR ATTEMPTS TO PROCURE CLIENTS, PATIENTS OR CUSTOMERS FOR A PROVIDER THROUGH PUBLIC MEDIA OR A PERSON WHO REFERS CLIENTS, PATIENTS OR CUSTOMERS AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW. NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE DEEMED TO PROHIBIT AN AGENT, BROKER OR EMPLOYEE OF A HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATION FROM SEEKING TO SELL HEALTH MAINTENANCEEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD06170-01-1 S. 2004 2
ORGANIZATION COVERAGE OR HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE TO AN INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP. S 2. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 176.75 to read as follows: S 176.75 UNLAWFUL PROCUREMENT OF CLIENTS, PATIENTS OR CUSTOMERS. A PERSON IS GUILTY OF UNLAWFUL PROCUREMENT OF CLIENTS, PATIENTS OR CUSTOMERS WHEN, HE OR SHE KNOWINGLY: 1. ACTS AS A RUNNER; OR 2. USES, SOLICITS, DIRECTS, HIRES OR EMPLOYS ANOTHER PERSON TO ACT AS A RUNNER. UNLAWFUL PROCUREMENT OF CLIENTS, PATIENTS OR CUSTOMERS IS A CLASS E FELONY. S 3. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.