Several clients have inquired in the past few weeks about the new Florida law regarding recovery residences, or sober living facilities. Implementation of the new law has been slow, leaving a lot of questions unanswered and room for opinions to be taken as facts.
Many have asked us if recovery residences are required by law to obtain certification. It is not mandatory for all sober homes to become certified prior to July 1, 2016. However, as of that date, a DCF-licensed substance abuse treatment facility may not refer a current or discharged patient to a recovery residence unless any of the following applies:
the recovery residence holds a valid certificate of complianceor
the recovery residence is owned and operated by a licensed service provider or
the recovery residence is a licensed service provider’s wholly owned subsidiary.
The term “refer” means to inform a patient by any means about the name, address, or other details of the recovery residence. The effect of the law is to squeeze sober homes into obtaining certification if they are not owned and operated by a DCF-licensed treatment provider. Continue reading →
A confluence of forces brought about by lawmakers, insurance companies and regulators have caught recovery residences in the eye of a perfect storm here in Florida. Senate Bill 582 proposes to mandate that Florida sober homes and their owners be registered, inspected and licensed; but really, that bill may not be necessary due to other factors. Florida’s Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) has been using Section 65D-30.007 of its Administrative Code to require that sober homes be licensed for Residential Treatment if any resident at that sober home is also a patient at a licensed treatment program owned by the same person or entity that owns the sober home.
In an effort to help individuals access their health information so that they can become more actively involved in managing their own health care, several agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services promulgated a rule that modifies the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (“CLIA”) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) in a way that supersedes Florida State laws governing the disclosure of laboratory test results directly to patients.
Many drug and alcohol treatment facilities see continuity of care and income opportunities in providing qualitative (and even quantitative) toxicology screening to make sure they know (1) what their residents/patients are taking, and (2) in what quantities. Facilities need to make sure they know that federal and state law will view them as a clinical lab, even when they are simply taking urine and using cups. CLIA will require they obtain “waived” status (since dipsticks are in that category). Facilities also need to examine whether state licensure (as a “Healthcare Clinic”) is also required. Chapter 400, Florida Statutes requires any entity to obtain a healthcare clinic license if (a) healthcare services are provided, and (b) claims for those services are submitted. Even though most facilities are out of network, most do submit claims to insurance carriers and hence implicate the state healthcare clinic license law (which is different from the CLIA law).