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Florida Sober Living Residence Legislative Wrap-Up

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at May 9, 2014

First, thank you all for asking to join our newsletter. Of mission is to provide relevant and timely information about the substance abuse treatment industry from recognized news sources and journalists. We ask that you please visit their websites, as the “click thru” helps them generate revenue in advertising, which allows them to provide this much needed service to you.

Second, we are ever so appreciative of all of the new clients who have asked to join our firm over the past few weeks and months. We strive to provide exceptional service to our clients so that they may, in turn, provide exceptional service to persons seeking assistance through their personal transition to recovery.

From our friends at Addiction Professional Magazine:
http://www.addictionpro.com/article/inaction-sober-homes-fla-may-set-stage-legislation-2015

“One likely component of anticipated legislation would place significant responsibility on Florida’s primary treatment centers for helping to distinguish high-quality, safe recovery residences from those that appear to function mainly as sites from which to bill insurance for excessive drug testing and/or questionable outpatient treatment. Examples of both types of homes abound in places such as Delray Beach in Palm Beach County, a community that Lehman calls the “epicenter” of the recovery residence movement. Both pieces of legislation that were introduced this year, House Bill 479 and Senate Bill 582, would have required the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) to prohibit state-licensed addiction treatment agencies from referring patients leaving primary treatment to non-certified recovery homes.”

Respectfully, I disagree. First, insurance companies have begun to universally started to deny reimbursement for urinalysis even for some treatment centers, a matter our firm is working on towards resolving for clients who are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars from wrongfully denied claims. Moreover, the statute which allows for reimbursement for collections of urine samples requires a recognized medical determination for the testing, rather than simply to determine sobriety or relapse (I am over-simplifying the issue for purposes of this e-mail).

The reality on the ground for local governments is the recognition that sober living residences are being used as the lure to entrap unwitting patients who move to Florida to find recovery and treatment. Once the patient quickly relapses, the housing operator then “sells” the resident to the highest bidding treatment center. Therefore, both the legislation proposed by the Florida House of Representatives, as well as the policy being proposed by FARR, in my opinion, does not take into consideration the direction of the flow of money. Stated otherwise, you could have a licensed/registered/certified sober living residence, but that will not stop operators from auctioning off their stable of insurance ready patients.

The sad part of this equation is that such an underground economy makes the ethical practice of operating a sober living residence and a treatment center functionally impractical, as all patient referrals go to the highest bidder…..

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