New Florida Law Targets Fraud in Recovery Industry
On July 1, 2017, Florida passed a law that would better regulate “services provided to substance use patients” and enforce “tighter penalties for companies scamming addicts” (Danford, 2017).
The bill was developed by the Sober Home Task Force, overseen by Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg. Representative Bill Hager (R-FL) sponsored the bill in the House and Senator Jeff Clemens (D-FL) sponsored it in the Senate (Ramadan, 2017). Rep. Hager stated, “We’ve dramatically stepped up the regulation of sober homes. We have done, through this bill, everything in our power at the state level” (Kim, 2017).
According to the Sun Sentinel (Sweeney, 2017), the new law
- “adds patient brokering to the list of serious crimes, such as murder and robbery, that can be tackled by Florida’s Office of Statewide Prosecution”
- “requires rehab centers to provide proof that they can offer the services required”
- “puts in place stricter background checks on owners and operators and adds clinical supervisors to the list of rehab employees who need to get one”
- “provides penalties for centers that don’t meet state guidelines, including fines up to $500 for each violation”
- “mandates that rehab centers can only refer clients to sober homes that are certified by the state. After June 30, 2019, rehab centers can be fined $1,000 for every referral made to an uncertified sober home”
- “includes severe penalties for patient brokering, up to a first-degree felony and $500,000 fine when the violation includes twenty or more patients”
“It is a big step in the right direction,” stated Aronberg. He continued to say that, “although it does not directly regulate sober homes, it will help clean up the abuses in the drug treatment industry” (Sweeney, 2017).
Danford, M. (2017). Sober homes to receive stricter guidelines. Retrieved from http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/sober-homes-receive-stricter-guidelines#stream/0
Kim, V. (2017). New law aims to prevent fraud in Florida recovery industry. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/new-law-aims-prevent-fraud-florida-recovery-industry
Ramadan, L. (2017). New: Sober-home regulation starts Saturday with new Florida law. The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved from http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state–regional/new-sober-home-regulation-starts-saturday-with-new-florida-law/cdIUQ9PBEyeDOhLhi3SBsO/
Sweeney, D. (2017). New state law bans sober homes from falsely advertising services and locations. Sun Sentinel. Retrieved from http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/florida-politics-blog/fl-reg-sober-homes-scott-bill-20170627-story.html