NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (PRWEB) January 03, 2018 -- Florida recently passed a new law that tightened regulations on sober homes and imposes stiff penalties for noncompliance.(1) In December, Florida attorneys testified before Congress about the state’s experience with patient brokering and sober-home fraud.(2) Novus Detox Center, a preeminent Florida-based drug treatment provider, urges other states to pursue similar legislation and calls for Congress to pass federal laws that support even stronger regulation of sober homes.
Palm Beach County recorded 4,661 opioid overdoses in 2016, including 552 fatalities.(2). These statistics echo a broader trend that led Governor Rick Scott to declare a statewide public health emergency in response to the opioid crisis. In February 2017, Republican state representative Bill Hager and Democratic state senator Jeff Clemens sponsored legislation aimed at regulating the practices of addiction treatment providers. The bill passed unanimously in both chambers and was signed into law in June.(1)
As of July 1, Florida rehab centers must provide proof they can offer the services required by law; those that do not meet state guidelines are subject to a $500 fine for each violation. Sober homes that falsely advertise goods or services or that misrepresent the location of the home face a $1,000 fine for each violation. The law also adds patient brokering to the list of serious crimes that can be addressed by Florida’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, with criminal penalties up to a first-degree felony and a $500,000 fine when the violation involves 20 or more patients. Other provisions include stricter background checks on owners, operators and clinical supervisors, as well as a mandate that drug rehab facilities must only refer patients to sober homes that are certified by the state, with violators subject to a $1,000 fine for each referral to an uncertified sober home.(1)
“Florida’s new law offers much-needed protections for individuals with substance use disorders, who have frequently been exploited by patient brokers and unscrupulous sober-home operators looking to make a profit off their condition,” asserted Kent Runyon, Vice President of Community Relations for Novus Detox Center. “While the state cannot abolish uncertified sober homes due to federal laws that ban housing discrimination, corrupt sober-home owners and patient brokers now face prosecution and stiff fines. Only Congress has the power to fully regulate recovery providers, and I hope they will act quickly to do so. In the meantime, I urge other states to enact legislation based on Florida’s current law.”
Last month, the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations invited Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg and his chief assistant, Al Johnson, to testify on Florida’s experience with patient brokering and sober-home fraud. Aronberg spoke of the “Florida shuffle”—a corrupt system designed to promote ongoing relapses so profiteers could enrich themselves by continuing to bill clients’ insurance for drug testing and recovery programs. “There is one area that’s not profitable, and that’s sobriety,” he explained. “This is a relapse model, not a recovery model.” He and Johnson called on Congress to close loopholes, protect vulnerable patients and provide federal support to states.(2)
Runyon concurs with Aronberg’s and Johnson’s recommendations to Congress. “Sober homes should be compensated based on outcomes rather than services rendered, which will incentivize them to help clients achieve sobriety instead of ongoing relapses,” noted Runyon. “Fair housing rules should also be clarified to allow reasonable regulations governing sober homes, and federal agencies should pursue and penalize marketers that exploit recovering patients simply to profit themselves and their employers. These efforts would go a long way toward helping those with substance use disorders overcome addiction and dependency, and avoid relapse.”
Finally, Runyon advocates for expanded access to medically supervised detox programs as the first step toward helping patients achieve sustainable sobriety. Novus is a licensed and accredited detox provider that is committed to helping patients achieve successful long-term recovery, and only provides referrals to state-certified recovery facilities that share its outcome-focused philosophy. Novus operates an established detox center in New Port Richey and will soon be opening a second facility in West Palm Beach.
For more information on Novus Detox Center and its medically supervised drug treatment programs, visit https://novusdetox.com.
About Novus Detox Center:
Novus Detox Center is soon to be operating two inpatient medical detox facilities that are licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families and have earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation. Renowned for its pioneering approach to Sustainable Sobriety™, Novus provides safe and effective alcohol and drug detox programs that combine next-generation treatment protocols, 24/7 medical supervision and integrated, individualized care. By conditioning the body and mind to re-imagine a fulfilling, drug-free future, Novus empowers patients on their journey to recovery and creates a solid foundation for long-term success. Novus is committed to leading the way in patient experience, both as a detoxification expert and a supportive partner in ongoing health and wellness, and is dedicated to pushing industry standards forward. The original Florida detox facility is located in New Port Richey (outside Tampa) and another is soon to open in West Palm Beach; both feature a wide range of amenities, delicious and healthy meals, and a relaxing, spa-like environment to ensure the withdrawal process is as stress-free and comfortable and as possible. For more information on Novus’ medically supervised detox programs, visit https://novusdetox.com.
1. Sweeney, Dan. “New State Law Bans Sober Homes From Falsely Advertising Services and Locations”; Sun Sentinel (Broward County, FL); June 27, 2017.
2. Beall, Pat. “State Attorney Dave Aronberg Testifies Before House Panel on Opioids”; Palm Beach Post; December 12, 2017.
Karla Jo Helms, JoTo PR, http://www.jotopr.com, +1 888-202-4614 Ext: 802, [email protected]
SOURCE JoTo PR