The American Addiction Treatment Association (AATA) Fills an Industry Void at Both State and National Levels

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The American Addiction Treatment Association (AATA) announces its launch as well as its purpose: assisting addiction treatment facilities across the country in getting and remaining compliant. The AATA keeps track of the massive body of evolving state-by-state regulatory minutiae so that recovery industry professionals can focus on helping people overcome addiction.

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We have gotten an unprecedented volume and diversity of requests from around the country for broader clarification of the confusing and rapidly evolving compliance requirements facing the addiction treatment industry. AATA is our response.

September is designated as National Recovery Month by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a special acknowledgement of the millions of Americans courageous enough to seek help for substance use disorders. This September also marks the launch of a national trade organization, the American Addiction Treatment Association, dedicated to supporting recovery efforts by empowering addiction treatment programs in an essential area that often proves overwhelmingly complicated and bewildering: regulatory compliance.

"Over the past year, we have gotten an unprecedented volume and diversity of requests from around the country for broader clarification of the confusing and rapidly evolving compliance requirements facing the addiction treatment industry," notes attorney Harry Nelson, partner at Nelson Hardiman, LLP and founding board chair of the AATA. "The American Addiction Treatment Association (AATA) is our response."

While AATA will eventually include every U.S. state in its scope, its official launch makes it available in California, Texas, Arizona and Florida, with New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, Colorado, Ohio, New Jersey, and Minnesota currently in progress and soon to follow.

The AATA has already hosted several events for industry professionals on relevant legal and regulatory issues, but its official launch brings opportunities for membership and vendor participation. AATA members will have the benefit of up-to-date, state-specific information regarding licensing, certification, regulations, billing, enforcement trends, and operational requirements, as well as best-practice guidance that minimizes risk while maximizing safety and quality.

Further, AATA offers tools and resources designed for individual providers, as well as sober living and in-treatment/outpatient treatment facilities.

By tracking, organizing, and interpreting the vast body of evolving compliancy requirements at the state and national levels, and through partnering with legal experts in the field, the AATA provides reliable, comprehensive compliance resources for all individuals and entities serious about protecting what they've built or what they're planning in the recovery industry.

Nelson describes the organization's vision this way: "We believe that the next decade will be a time of head-spinning change for the industry, including evolving treatment models, licensing requirements, and reimbursement strategies. We hope that AATA can help clarify the issues and also disseminate information about best practices and standards."

In most cases, non-compliance in addiction treatment facilities or sober living houses, results from lack of awareness, rather than willful neglect or subversion of the rules. Even when they involve criminal prosecution and/or allegations of fraud or abuse by insurers, these errors and omissions cause all kinds of headaches and business challenges for programs and professionals. With the regulatory landscape changing at such a brisk pace, and with the necessary state-specific compliancy guidelines not always readily available or especially clear, ongoing, timely education is a cornerstone of the AATA.

In addition to its official launch, the AATA also announces upcoming events:

"Insurance billing and patient financial responsibility: understanding your rights and those of your patients." To be presented on September 14th and December 7th as seminars, and on November 17th as a luncheon, these educational events will focus on issues and solutions in waivers of patient financial responsibility, which insurers have alleged to be a form of fraud and abuse, often aggressively investigating programs and enforcing contracts. These talks will clarify the rights and responsibilities of both treatment program operators and patients.

"Managing crisis, part 1: Avoiding patient overdoses, suicides, and deaths." This October 12th webinar will explore the health risks and most common threats to safety associated with running an addiction treatment program and how to reduce and manage those risks.

"Managing crisis, part 2: Responding to government encounters and action." Another webinar on handling crisis in a treatment facility, this one scheduled for October 26th and covering a wide spectrum of facility-authority interactions, from subpoenas to search warrants. Often when a program is the subject of a government investigation, unprepared program employees can be their own worst enemies. This discussion will educate owners/operators in preparing their staff for the event of investigative scrutiny.

"Urine Drug Testing (UDT) in addiction treatment medicine." In the fallout of pockets of isolated but costly urine drug testing abuse, many laboratories, marketers, and addiction treatment programs have found themselves facing criminal prosecution. On November 23rd, the AATA will present a webinar on staying compliant with UDT.

"Florida Model' in California? The do's, don'ts and the other." The "Florida Model" of pairing outpatient programs (which are not required to be licensed) with sober living has become popular in California. However, regulators are objecting, arguing that this practice violates state law by circumventing the regulations specific to residential facility licensing. This December 14th webinar explores the issue and discusses how it can impact owners/operators of treatment programs.

The AATA's main objective is reliably connecting addiction treatment facilities, programs, and professionals with accurate, necessary, and timely information about compliance issues. As Gina Meyer, Executive Director of AATA says, "Our goal is not to supplant the great organizations out there doing advocacy work and convening the industry, but instead to offer regulatory compliance content that we think is missing."

For more information on becoming a member or vendor of the Association, go to:, call (888) 958-2282 or email: info(at)addiction-tx(dot)com

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