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When it comes to putting together a sober home contract, making sure everything is done properly is essential. Any mistakes, forgetting to add something, not being aware of updated rules and regulations or anything else is just asking for problems. That’s why working with an experienced legal team is the best way to go because they will ensure that all your contracts are done properly, protecting your interests for years to come. However, you need more than just an attorney, you need the assistance of an entire team and here’s why:

  • Work with someone who is established: Whether you are dealing with another business, the government or an insurance company, you want to have confidence knowing that your lawyers are experienced and well established in the industry. This ensures the best possible outcome for this situation.
  • Be prepared in the future: There are policy changes, new laws and regulations and other matters that may come up. You need to be aware of these changes and know how it impacts your business. An experienced legal team will be on top of these changes and keep you prepared for them to avoid any issues that may otherwise occur.
  • Have flexibility: When you hire a lawyer they can assist you with one or two legal matters. When you hire a law firm they can help you with dozens of matters that come up like working with insurance companies, making sure you are compliant with all rules and regulations, buying a medical practice or facility, licensing, hiring or firing physicians and much more.

Whether it’s a sober home contract, putting together a new medical staff, selling a practice or anything else, when you do anything in the medical industry it must be compliant with all the laws. This is not just a regular business and you need an experienced team to guide you along the way, ensuring that you get the best support possible.

When it comes to a sober home contract, you have to make sure that you work with a legal team that has experience handling these matters and can ensure that you are on the right track. There are so many rules and regulations that need to be followed and every contract you are a part of needs to be heavily scrutinized by an experienced legal team. Here are a few things we can assist you with:

  • Changes in policies: Nothing stays the same when it comes to the medical field. Policies are constantly changing and the demand for assistance with these new rules and regulations is growing. As an owner/manager you need to know when there is a shift in protocol and make sure that you are compliant with everything.
  • Changes in technology: Everyday, there is a new tool that is created that advances the medical field. Obviously these tools need to be tested, studied and marketed before they are introduced to the public. This is why it’s important to make sure that you are working with a law firm that understands the legal side of utilizing new technology.
  • Startup assistance: If you are venturing out with your own business you are going to need legal guidance. Not only are there new rules and regulations to follow from a medical standpoint, but you also need to make sure that you have everything in order as far as transferring patient data, utilizing new tools, leasing a building and hiring a staff.

Florida Health Care Law Firm sober home contract assistance will help you to stay on track and ensure that you are legally protected. When you work with our team, we are happy to assist you with anything you need to make sure that your business is meeting all legal requirements. Contact us today for a consultation.

State Patient Brokering Act Cases to Throw out Legal Advice as Defense

October 9th, 2018 by

palm beach county task forceBy: Jeff Cohen

There are two criminal cases pending in Palm Beach County that threaten to put a bullet in the heart of healthcare professionals and businesses and also the law practices that advise them.  Both State v. Simeone and State v. Kigar have a motion from the State pending before them to block any testimony that the defendants received legal advice concerning a contract entered into by an addiction treatment facility and a sober home.  The State alleges that the contract violates the state Patient Brokering Act (PBA) because it was essentially a ruse whereby the addiction treatment facility was just paying for the sober home to refer patients.  Now the State wants to make sure that the entire issue of the defendants being advised by counsel never sees the light of day.

How is this possible?  How can it be that a client can seek legal counsel, get advise (and presumably follow it), and then be blocked from presenting that evidence?  The State argues that the PBA has no wording that requires them to prove intent.  And if intent isn’t an element to be proven, the argument goes, then evidence of the client intending not to violate the law by getting advice beforehand is inadmissible!   read more

Florida Recovery Communities Face Tougher Zoning Regulations

August 6th, 2018 by

zoning florida lawBy: Matt Fischer

Municipalities throughout the nation continue to use zoning to exclude community residences from residential districts despite the presence of numerous court decisions that recognize community residences for people with disabilities as a residential use.  Over the past year multiple Florida cities have imposed tougher regulations on community residences for people with disabilities.  These communities include group homes, sober living homes, recovery communities, and assisted living facilities that emulate a biological family.  In creating these regulations, cities cite to the protection of individuals from the actions of unscrupulous operators and also the need to avoid a concentration of community residences in one area that have shown to undermine the goals of the residents.  Thus, if you are an operator in one of these cities, you may be subject to heightened scrutiny and additional documentation requirements ranging from simple registration to submitting an application for a conditional use permit requiring an appearance before a planning and zoning board. read more

FARR Certification Needs Clarification from DCF

June 13th, 2018 by

FARR certificationState licensed addiction treatment facilities with licenses that include community housing are confused about whether they have to also be certified by the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR) by July 1, 2018.  Attorney Karina Gonzalez  has filed a petition with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to clarify the issue.  A fairly recent state law (397.4873, Fla. Stat.) requires addiction treatment service providers in Florida to refer clients only to recovery residences certified by FARR.

FARR is a private, non-governmental entity approved by DCF to develop and administer a voluntary certification program for recovery residences.  FARR has taken the position that it has also been approved to develop and administer a voluntary certification program for DCF-licensed community housing providers.  “We think,” attorney Gonzalez said, “they’ve got it wrong.  It makes no sense to stack the FARR certification requirement on top of existing state licensure.”

Big Rule Changes Proposed for DCF Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

January 9th, 2018 by

substance abuse licensingBy: Jacqueline Bain

On December 29, 2017, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) submitted comments for proposed changed to rule 65D-30, governing licensed substance abuse service providers. The proposed rule includes significant changes as compared to old 65D-30, and should be reviewed as soon as possible by all DCF-licensed substance abuse service providers.  Comments must be received by DCF on or before January 19, 2018, and can be submitted via the form at the bottom of THIS LINK .The proposed changes are substantial, and we strongly recommend someone in each licensed service provider reviews them as soon as possible in order to ensure timely compliance.

This article will focus on changes in the licensing component of DCF’s rules. read more

Telehealth Law Florida: Delivery System for Substance Abuse Services

January 9th, 2018 by

telemedicine lawBy: Karina Gonzalez

Telehealth law Florida is constantly evolving The latest example is found with Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) recent proposed rule change which now includes a definition of Telehealth as a delivery system in substance abuse.  Telehealth can be used in treatment or prevention services through electronic communications from one site to another.  However, it does not include delivery of services using only the audio on a telephone, or e-mails, text messages, fax transmissions, US mail or other parcel service. Proposed Rule 65D-30.0031 (83) Definitions.

Telehealth services can be used in intensive outpatient, day or night treatment, day or night treatment with community housing, outpatient, interventions, aftercare, and prevention.   If a substance abuse provider plans on including telehealth services it must submit to DCF detailed procedures outlining which services it intends to provide. The provider will be responsible for the quality of the equipment and technology used in the telehealth service. Proposed Rule 65D-30.004 (20) Common Licensing Standards. read more

Is Your Substance Abuse Marketing Service Licensed? Check Here

November 28th, 2017 by

addiction marketingBefore doing business in Florida, an entity providing substance abuse marketing services must be licensed by Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection. This includes includes either telephone solicitation from a location in Florida or solicitation from other states or nations for substance abuse and addiction treatment centers located in Florida.

As of November 27, 2017, only the following entities are licensed by the State of Florida to provide marketing services to substance abuse and addiction treatment centers:

  • A Way and a Means, LLC (Delray Beach, Florida)
  • Addiction International Holdings, LLC d/b/a The Addiction Advisor d/b/a The Recovery Miracle (Boca Raton, Florida)
  • Advanced Recovery Systems, LLC (Winter Park, Florida)
  • Bandwidth Interactive Company d/b/a Local Management (Boca Raton, Florida)
  • Delphi Behavioral Health Group, LLC (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
  • Freedom From Addiction, LLC (Miami Beach, Florida)
  • Infoworx Direct, LLC d/b/a Addiction Hope and Help Line (Boca Raton, Florida)
  • Invigorate Solutions, LLC d/b/a Local Management (Boca Raton, Florida)
  • Meridian Treatment Solutions, LLC (Lauderdale by the Sea, Florida)
  • NPA Consulting Group, LLC (Pompano Beach, Florida)
  • Palm Partners, LLC (Palm Springs, Florida)
  • Parent Team, LLC (Santa Rosa, California)
  • Pryme Time Media, LLC (Sunrise, Florida)
  • R360, LLC (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
  • Redwood Recovery Solutions, LLC d/b/a com (Riviera Beach, Florida)
  • Ring2Media, LLC (Westport, Connecticut)
  • Rybchinskiy Inc. (Boynton Beach, Florida)
  • Sober Network, Inc. (Delray Beach, Florida)
  • The Addiction Network, LLC (North Miami, Florida)
  • True Choice Health Group Limited Liability Company (Pompano Beach, Florida)
  • United Addiction Specialists, LLC (Hollywood, Florida)
  • USR Holdings, LLC (Coconut Creek, Florida)

It is a third degree felony for: any person to work for an entity that does not have a current and valid license; or for any entity to invite telephone calls or other communications with a substance abuse marketer who is soliciting clients without a current and valid substance abuse marketing license; or for any person or entity to solicit without a license; or for any person who otherwise violates the law requiring licensure either directly or indirectly. Any person who is convicted of a second or subsequent violation commits a felony of the second degree.

Addiction Treatment Law Changes Management Relationships

July 3rd, 2017 by

healthcare regulatory complianceBy: Jeff Cohen

Passage of the new and comprehensive Florida addiction treatment industry legislation (CS/CS/HB 807) will send addiction treatment facility management relationships back to the drawing board.  Prior to the new law, some DCF licensed facilities were managed by management companies, some of which were owned by people who either did not qualify to be on the DCF license or who did not want to be visible on the license.

The new addiction treatment law requires all such arrangements to be reconsidered.  Here’s why:  There are several sections in the new law where management is the subject of intensive focus.   Newly created 397.410 requires DCF to establish minimum licensure requirements for each service component limited in part to the number and qualifications of all personnel, including management.  Newly created 397.415(1)(d)1 authorizes DCF to deny, suspend or revoke licensure of any license based on a “false representation of a material fact in the licensure application or omission of any material fact from the application.”  Finally, 397.415 creates an entire category of potentially punishing fines and, in some cases, exposure to criminal prosecution.

The new law will create heavy regulatory suspicion for any non-transparent management relationship, even a third party relationship.  Worse, it’s conceivable that any suspicious or arguably noncompliant relationship could form the basis for recoupment by insurers.  When the state Health Care Clinic Law was created some years ago, payers took advantage of situations where facilities that required a license but didn’t have one.  Under a threat of insurance fraud (e.g. an unlicensed healthcare facility receiving compensation for services), some payers were able to extract huge recoupments.

Any DCF licensed facility with a third party management relationship needs to reconsider it in light of the new addiction treatment law.  Moreover, all interested parties should pay close attention to (and monitor and participate in) the new law’s rulemaking process which began at the end of June.

CLICK HERE for: SUBSTANCE ABUSE MARKETING SERVICE PROVIDER LICENSE APPLICATION

Addiction Treatment Industry Becomes Familiar with Immunity

June 14th, 2017 by

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer,

to treat everything as if it were a nail

–Abraham Maslow, “Toward a Psychology of Being”

By: Jeff Cohen & Randy Goldberg

The dominant forces of change in the addiction treatment industry are law enforcement and insurance companies.  The focus and impact of insurers is currently focused on the argument that what treatment providers do isn’t medically necessary.  This rationale is undeniably misguided  and is the biggest threat to the survival of many health care providers, including those at the forefront of adapting to the demands by implementing meaningful legal regulatory compliance.  This focus of this article is a parallel intervening factor in the addiction treatment industry:  that of law enforcement, most notably in Palm Beach County, Florida.  Consequently, providers in the addiction treatment space and their employees are becoming increasingly familiar with the concept of immunity as they are deal with law enforcement on a routine basis.

We assume there are bad-actors in the addiction treatment space.  There are bad-actors in every industry and profession.  No one can appreciate that more than this article’s co-author, Randy Goldberg.  He is a retired Florida law enforcement professional, who spent a significant portion of his career investigating law enforcement officers for alleged criminal misconduct, having been deeply involved in the arrest and successful prosecution of law enforcement officers who abused their authority and strayed to the dark-side of the law.  read more

Healthcare Business Operations: Non-Profit Regulations for the Rehab Industry

April 10th, 2017 by

By: Shobha Lizaso

There has been a growing trend in the substance abuse rehabilitation industry to provide services through a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Unfortunately, there is also a growing trend relating to IRS audits of non-profits. An audit by the IRS can yield many negative outcomes, including the revocation of a treatment center’s tax exempt status and fines imposed on the organization and/or its Directors when the non-profit fails to operate within the rules applicable to 501(c)3 non-profit organizations.

A non-profit may be able to fly under the IRS’s radar for a few years, but as the years pass, the chances that non-profit non-compliance will be caught by the IRS grows exponentially.  To protect your non-profit, please follow some of these basic rules: read more

The Patient Brokering Act and Addiction Treatment

October 28th, 2016 by

anti kickbackBy: Jeff CohenFlorida Board Certified Healthcare Lawyer 

Followers of the addiction treatment industry should be on high alert after the arrest of Christopher Hutson of Whole Life Recovery.  The arrest marks the first arrest of any industry provider utilizing the state Patient Brokering Act (PBA).  Relying solely on the allegations, the arrest is based on a business relationship between the provider and sober homes.  Discussion in the “case management agreement” referred to in the arrest affidavit circles around some key allegations that include or imply (1) payment for patient referral, and (2) services by sober homes paid for by Whole Life which were not actually performed.

Serious industry providers absolutely MUST be well educated by lawyers who have years’ experience dealing daily with issues that include the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (and safe harbors), the bona fide employee exception to the AKS, the PBA and how insurers and regulators (inside Florida and outside Florida) interpret and apply such laws.  Any contract (like the sort of agreement referred to in the arrest warrant affidavit) that isn’t preceded by careful client education about the laws, the options and risks of each option is just reckless.  Clients who are well educated will understand things like— read more