The Evolution of Patient Brokering Laws
The spotlight for addiction treatment marketing has been on South Florida for some time. The media has jumped on the bandwagon to get more viewers for more advertising dollars. Some of this coverage is slanted and irresponsible. It has caused many ethical players to struggle in keeping their doors open, while causing others to close their doors. The focus of the coverage should be that the new “Florida Model” is paving the road for national laws against patient brokering.
We are fighting a heroin epidemic (more than 150 per day) and the stigma of addiction. One sided stories of South Florida are hurting more than they are helping. They have slanted that Florida is the only place patient brokering is occurring. Let’s be perfectly clear here, patient brokering is happening all over the United States. Florida happens to be one of the nation’s more popular destinations for addiction treatment. Soon we will see the spotlight shift to other largely populated recovery areas like California, Texas, Arizona and the Northeast.
Who’s Keep Track and Regulating the Addiction Treatment Industry
Although it is difficult to accurately measure how many addiction treatment centers, sober homes, 1/2 way houses and recovery residences exist in a geographical area there is some data. For instance, the National Center for Biotechnology information (NCBI) did a study in LA County showing 260 sober living homes with a capacity of 3,265 individuals. The number is most likely in excess of 600 based on industry unconfirmed sources, while the unconfirmed numbers in the West Palm Beach, FL area are between 400 to 600.
West Palm Beach FL Area and Addiction Treatment
West Palm Beach, FL is a diverse community and a destination for many including those suffering from drug and addiction problems. It’s beginnings date back to 1513 with Juan Ponce de Leon and had a population of 20,000 native Americans. West Palm Beach’s current population is 100,000. In the heart of West Palm beach is the Flager museum, the Karvis Center, Clamitis Street and City Place districts. These are the areas that attract many seeking treatment, however they are filled with nightlife, bars, clubs, and restaurants. The largest West Palm Beach area attracting those with drug and alcohol addiction issues is Delray Beach, FL.
Why Does Florida Have Such a Bad Reputation for Addiction Treatment?
Ground Zero Delray Beach, Florida
In the West Palm Beach area is the heart of the recovery community in Florida. Although Delray Beach is only 15 square miles there are many sober homes and 1/2-way houses. It has been marked by the New York Times in 2007, as the drug recovery capital of the United States. This dubbing was due to having one of the nation’s largest addiction recovery communities and highest number of sober living homes. Other major news outlets like NBC News have aired stories on fraudulent practices and claimed Florida is generating a billion dollars a year. Consider this, in 2015, Forbes did an article claiming the addiction treatment industry generates 35 billion dollars a year. Florida generates a billion dollars, where is the other 34 billion? According to these numbers Florida may not be the worst state with patient brokering issues.
Government Addiction Treatment Listings
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMSHA) website only lists 92 addiction treatment facilities categorized as substance abuse in a 25 mile radius around West Palm Beach, including Delray Beach, FL. This list includes addiction treatment centers West Palm Beach, sober homes and half way houses. Even though we know there are many unregistered sober homes, this list should most likely be over 400 facilities.
In comparison on SAMSHA’s website there are 274 treatment centers, sober homes and half way houses listed in a 25 mile radius around Los Angeles County. These numbers fall in line with the the National Center for Biotechnology information (NCBI) study and clearly show we need to address that all addiction treatment centers, sober livings and halfway houses be registered and regulated by some governing body.
This article simplistically outlines the new Florida laws, and legal counsel should be contacted for exact interpretation. Our goal is to direct addiction treatment centers and sober living owners, operators and addiction professionals to the Florida law statutes. This is paramount for them to operate ethically and responsibly. It also goes beyond educating addiction treatment centers West Palm Beach, there are laws across the entire US.
From Regulation to Patient Brokering Laws
The regulation in the addiction treatment industry stemmed from five Florida bills. These five bills HB 807 (SB 788), HB 249 (SB 588), HB 477, HB 557 (SB 840), and SB 866 (HB 791) have taken many concerned elected officials years to get passed. If you would like a simple break-down you can read, “Patient Brokering Top 5 Legal Things Nationally.” You may also want to read the “Top 5 Criteria for Sober Livings in Florida.”
What Does Addiction Treatment Centers West Palm Beach Laws Cover?
The new laws cover much more than just rehab marketing for drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers, sober livings and 1/2-way houses in the West Palm Beach, Florida area. They cover all of Florida. It must also be understood that if you are out of state and engage in breaking any of these new laws with an organization in Florida, you are subject to Florida laws and can be prosecuted. This includes offering any enticements (airfare) to bring a client out of the state of Florida.
Chapter 2017-179 Encompasses Addiction Treatment Centers West Palm Beach
The CHAPTER 2017-173 is a criminal statute which specifically prohibits any health care provider or health care facility from giving or receiving any form of remuneration in exchange for referrals, regardless of the source of payment for the applicable service or product. The Florida Legislature passed the Patient Brokering Act after learning that various hospitals, mental health, addiction treatment centers and sober livings we’re brokering patients. While the laws focus on addiction treatment centers West Palm Beach, the apply for the entire state of Florida. The laws also cover deceptive web marketing practices. Popular search terms like “addiction treatment West Palm Beach” are being redirected to shading sites, or copy cat sites.
Overview Addiction Treatment Centers West Palm Beach Laws Passed 7/1/2017
- Licensure application; requiring accreditation for certain licensure renewals.
- The new role of DCF.
- Higher licensing fees to cover the cost of regulation.
- Background screening for owners, directors, chief financial officers, and clinical supervisors.
- Authorizing the department to deny a renewal application of a regular license if received fewer than 30 days before expiration.
- Requiring clinical supervisors to undergo background screening.
- Requiring the department to establish minimum standards for licensure of substance abuse service components.
- Specifying standards, procedures, and staffing requirements.
- DCF can conduct announced and unannounced inspections.
- Limiting referrals to and from recovery residences in certain circumstances; providing exceptions; requiring a service provider to maintain certain referral records.
- Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services can to take action against an entity providing services without a license.
- Unlawful for a person to offer or pay, or solicit or receive, benefits for clients.
- In order to be issued a regular license, the applicant must be in compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. An application for renewal of a regular license must be submitted to the department at least 60 days before the license expires.
- A service provider licensed under this part may not make a referral of a prospective, current, or discharged patient to, or accept a referral of such a patient from, a recovery residence unless the recovery residence holds a valid certificate of compliance as provided in s. 397.487 and is actively managed by a certified recovery residence administrator as provided in s. 397.4871.
- 397.4871 does not apply if referrals by a recovery residence to a licensed service provider when the recovery residence or its owners, directors, operators, or employees do not benefit, directly or indirectly, from the referral.
- A licensed service provider shall maintain records of referrals to, or from recovery residences as may be prescribed by the department in rule.
- After June 30, 2019, a licensed service provider violating this section shall be subject to an administrative fine of $1,000 per occurrence. Repeat violations of this section may subject a provider to license suspension or revocation pursuant to 397.415.
- Making a false or misleading statement, or providing false or misleading information, about the provider’s, or operator’s, or third party’s products, goods, services, or geographical locations in its marketing, advertising materials, or media on its website.
- Including on its website false information or electronic links, coding, or activation that provides false information or that surreptitiously directs the reader to another website in their rehab marketing campaigns.
- Entering into a marketing contract with a provider who agrees to generate referrals or leads for the placement of patients with a service provider or in a recovery residence through a call center or a web-based presence, unless the service provider or the operator of the recovery residence discloses the following to the prospective patient so that the patient can make an informed health care decision.
- Information about the specific licensed service providers or recovery residences that are represented by the provider and pay a fee to the marketing provider, including the identity of such service providers or recovery residences.
- Clear and concise instructions that allow the prospective patient to easily access lists of licensed service providers and recovery residences on the department website.
Get Educated on Ethical Marketing Practices for Addiction Treatment Centers West Palm
You can get educated on addiction treatment ethical marketing practices at Behavioral Health Network Resources next Addiction Executive EMP conference on 3/30/18. This conference series is in a talk show host format and features 6 successful national thought leader panelists providing ethical and successful marketing strategies to operating a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, sober living and sales/service organization.
One of our panelists, David Hirshfeld, Esq. Hirshfeld PLLC will be providing information about W2 and 1099 contracts. Many have misconceptions leaving them open to legal issues. He will be providing tips on how to make arrangements with marketers more defensible. Below are some questions we plan on asking him.
Topic: W2 Employees and 1099 Contractors, You may not be Protected.
- Many people seem to believe that they are free to compensate marketers based on the number of patients or the amount of revenue they bring to an SAT provider as long as the marketer is hired on a W2 basis. Is it really that simple?
- In addition to carefully choosing whether the characterize the marketer as 1099 or W2, are there any other steps SAT providers can take to help shore up their marketing arrangements from a regulatory perspective?
We would love to hear your thoughts (below) on the current status of patient brokering in the addiction treatment industry.
Connect with ethical centers in the Facebook Addiction Professional Referral group with 20,000 members helping dozens every week. This is an extremely active group with professionals seeking a fit for their clients and individuals seeking help.
Facebook Addiction Professional Referral Group 20,000 Members (500 waiting to be approved.) One of Facebook’s most active addiction groups, highly monitored with over 6,000 banned in last 12 months.
Linkedin Addiction Professional Referral Group 14,000 Members
Facebook Addiction Treatment Centers West Palm Beach Connection 2,000 Members (Only in Florida)
Want to get connected even more? Here is the “Top 30 Addiction and Behavioral Health Social Media Groups“- Over 120,000 Members.”