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Addiction Treatment Center Resources - Florida

Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is the “Florida Model” and how does it differ from the “Social Model”?

Both medical and non-medical social model programs offer services designed to promote detoxification, treatment and maintenance of recovery from alcohol or drug problems....
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2. Which addiction treatment facilities are required to be licensed and what kind of services can they provide?

Any provider that offers substance abuse services needs to be licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families. The services are: View More

3. Which service providers are not required to be licensed by the Department of Children and Families Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Office?

Type of Provider


A hospital, or hospital-based component

Licensed under ch. 395, F.S

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4. What does it mean to be ‘licensed’, ‘certified’ or ‘accredited’ in this industry?

Licensing means that a particular type of facility or professional may only operate or a certain set of services may only be delivered with the advance and continuous authorization (“license”) of a designated government agency, to ensure protection of public health, safety, and welfare. View More


5. Which body licenses primary substance abuse/ drug rehabilitation facilities in the State of Florida?

Information is maintained in a centralized statewide licensing system: The Substance Abuse Automated Licensure Information System (SALIS). View More

6. What kinds of license are there?

There are three kinds of licenses. View More

7. What information must be provided in my initial application for licensure?

Licenses must be applied for both initially and annually thereafter, using this form: View More

8. How long does a licensing application usually take?

After an application has been submitted, the district offices of the Department of Children and Families substance abuse program will be in contact within... View More

9. How should I prepare for an on-site audit for licensure determination?

The Department of Children and Families informs the program of the date and time of the inspection. It is important to ensure staff are well-trained and ready to answer questions which may be asked of them by DCF inspectors. View More

10. What kinds of things could affect a license once granted?

If any component of the program is discontinued, the Department of Children and Families should be informed. View More


11. Does our facility have to be certified?

Certification for residential and outpatient programs is... View More

12. What are the practical benefits of certifying my facility?

Certification is a signal to potential clients, insurance companies, regulators and the public that a program aims to offer a responsible, safe, supportive and high quality service. View More

13. How do I apply for certification/what information do I include?

An online application should be made to Florida Association of Recovery Residences. View More

14. How long does FARR take to review my application?

Progress is affected by a number of factors, including, how ready the program is for the certification process. View More

15. What should I do in preparation for the on-site compliance review?

FARR will conduct an on-site inspection, including background checks on the owners, directors and chief financial officers associated with the program. View More

16. What happens if we have compliance deficiencies and they are discovered at an on-site review or at some other time?

If the field assessor discovers compliance issues, he or she will bring those to the attention of the certified recovery residence administrator, and provide recommendations on possible remedial measures. View More

17. How often must I renew certification?

Certification is for one year, at which point it terminates automatically if it has not been renewed. View More

18. Under what circumstances can FARR conduct an unannounced on-site inspection?

Certified programs are inspected once per year, but they are also visited randomly and without advance notice to ensure continuing compliance with the certification requirements. View More

Zoning and Land Use

19. What are the protections afforded to small group homes used for the purpose of residential drug rehabilitation?

Recovery residences can operate in a single family or multifamily zoned area depending on local municipal ordinances which vary. Residential level of care usually must be specifically zoned. View More

20. Are there any proximity restrictions regulating how close treatment centers may be to each other? Can I open a residential treatment center right next to one that is already there?

At the present time, Florida law states... View More


21. How does a program decide if a potential client is suitable for the services they can provide?

A program should devise client placement criteria and operating procedures that state the criteria for admitting, transferring and discharging clients. Facilities should have regard to the ASAM placement assessment criteria which uses six dimensions including but not limited to intoxication, withdrawal and relapse evaluation, medical, psychological and motivational issues, to assess service planning and treatment across all available options for different levels of care. A determination must be made on the appropriateness and eligibility of the client for the services offered at each type of facility. This is based on an assessment of the nature and severity of their substance abuse problem. Clients should undergo a physical screen and a psychosocial assessment., as well as providing a medical history, all of which help determine the extent of their reliance on drugs or alcohol, and a primary counselor should be appointed. The following criteria should be applied when considering placement: View More


22. What Are the Restrictions Around Determining Suitability for Methadone or Medical Maintenance Treatment?

Methadone Maintenance Treatment


In determining the current physiological addiction of the client, a physician considers signs and symptoms of drug intoxication, evidence of use of drugs through a urine drug screen, and needle marks. View More



23. If a client meets requirements to take home methadone, how frequently does the client need to come to the facility?

Phase I.

Following 30 consecutive days in treatment, the client may be eligible for 1 take-home per week from day 31 through day 90, provided that the client has had negative drug screens for the preceding 30 days

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24. What kind of health clearances are needed prior to admitting a client?

As part of an infection control plan, clients of addictions receiving facilities, detoxification, intensive inpatient treatment... View More

25. What client information should be collected during intake?

The following applies to addictions receiving facilities, detoxification, intensive inpatient treatment, residential treatment, day or night treatment with community housing, day or night treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and medication and methadone maintenance treatment. At a minimum, information should include: View More

26. What should we put in our admissions agreement?

An admissions agreement should include, at a minimum... View More

Care, Treatment and Services

27. What information should we include in client orientation?

A description of services to be provided; applicable fees;... View More

28. What information should go in a treatment plan?

Clients should participate in the development of treatment plans, which should include goals, and related measurable behavioral objectives to be achieved by the client... View More

29. How much contact should we have with the client once admitted?

A primary counselor shall be assigned to each client (except for addiction receiving facilities and detoxification). View More

30. How should we manage an aggressive client?

A program may not admit someone whom it is beyond its capacity to safely manage. View More

31. What rights are guaranteed to clients?

Individuals applying for or receiving substance abuse services are guaranteed the protection of fundamental human, civil, constitutional, and statutory rights. These include: View More

32. What grounds do I need in order to dismiss a client from our program?

There are four types of discharge. Successful completion of program means that the client has met the goals of their recovery plan. View More

33. How do I dismiss a client from a methodone program?

A client can be removed from a methadone program when he or she no longer meet the criteria. Examples include... View More

34. If a client has relapsed and needs to be discharged, is the program at risk if that client overdoses, and what protective steps should be taken?

The discharge of a client must be handled carefully given the risks if a client suffers negative health consequences in the aftermath of discharge. View More

35. How should clients’ privacy be protected?

Any facility that submits billing electronically (whether directly or through an outside biller) is a covered entity within the meaning of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which imposes specific health data privacy and security compliance requirements. In addition... View More

Governance and Staffing

36. What kind of governance structure should a substance abuse facility have?

There should be a governing body to determine policy for the program and appoint a chief executive officer. View More

37. How many staff will we need to operate our program?

Substance abuse programs need to ensure they have sufficient staff coverage to provide high quality services to their participants, based on assessed needs, and that they at least meet the minimum requirements set out below: View More

38. Can we employ our clients?

In general, as a matter of best practices, it is not recommended to employ clients. Many programs hire alumni who have successfully completed their programs. However... View More

39. May addiction treatment centers have medical staff?

Yes. A medical director must be designated by the governing body for addictions receiving facilities, detoxification, intensive inpatient treatment, residential treatment, day or night treatment with host homes and medication and methadone maintenance treatment. View More

40. What services can addiction treatment staff provide?

Non-medical staff providing clinical services are limited to screening, psychosocial assessment; treatment planning... View More


41. How should programs respond to clients who are unable to pay the required deductibles? Can a program waive a participant’s financial responsibility?

Clients seeking drug and alcohol rehabilitative services often face financial difficulties, whether as a result of the consequences of their addiction or as a result of the expense of multiple, prior failed treatment programs. View More

42. What are the key issues insurers raise to demand recoupment of fees from substance abuse treatment programs?

Insurers may demand recoupment of fees based on any defect in the billing claim or supporting documentation and/or based on any noncompliance with federal or state laws. View More


43. What marketing practices are prohibited?

The most widespread prohibited marketing practices in addiction treatment appear to revolve around inappropriate inducements and inaccurate marketing claims. View More

44. What are the limits of gift giving to potential referral sources?

State and federal regulators prohibit the exchange of items of value to induce referrals so the exchange of any item of value, whether it is cash or in kind, must be carefully monitored. View More

45. What kind of benefits can I offer existing or new clients?

Programs should avoid giving gifts to clients or referral sources based on anti-kickback statutes which prohibit client brokering. View More

Recovery Residences


46. What is a recovery residence?

A recovery residence is an alcohol and drug -free environment inhabited by individuals who are attempting to maintain their recovery from substance abuse disorders. View More

47. Do we need a license to open a recovery residence?

Licenses are not required to operate recovery residences, so long as... View More

48. Are there any consequences to being ‘unlicensed’?

Because there is no regulatory oversight, some have complained that... View More

49. What kinds of services can a recovery residence offer?

Alcohol and drug-free houses (sober-living environments) typically provide a living environment to enable residents to organize activities and participate in self-help initiatives which promote their goal to live without drugs or alcohol. View More


50. How can a recovery residence demonstrate to our residents that we are offering a high quality living environment?

A recovery residence can elect to demonstrate voluntarily that it meets minimum quality standards. View More

51. Do we have to obtain certification in order to operate?

The law protects small groups of individuals who choose to live together in peer-supportive environments... View More

52. How do I apply for certification and what is the process?

An online application should be made to Florida Association of Recovery Residences View More

53. What should I do in preparation for the on-site compliance review?

FARR will conduct an on-site inspection, including background checks on the owners, directors and chief financial officers associated with the program. Before the visit, the certification standards should be reviewed: View More

54. How often must I renew certification?

Certification is for one year, at which point it terminates automatically if it has not been renewed. View More

Zoning and Land Use

55. What are the protections afforded by federal law to small group homes used for the purpose of residential drug rehabilitation?

A facility with six or fewer people is exempt from zoning and land use regulations based on... View More

56. Can local governments put special restrictions on recovery residences?

Recovery residences in some communities have found growing efforts to regulate them by local ordinance, including registration requirements, concentration (spacing) limits, and other requirements. View More

57. What other aspects should I consider before choosing a location for our recovery residence?

In siting a recovery residence, attention should be paid to potential hostility from neighbors. View More

Resident’s Rights and Responsibilities

58. What would our obligations to residents be?

To enforce that the premises remain safe and free of intoxicant use... View More

59. What kind of agreement should we ask our residents to sign?

The agreement should include a pledge from the resident to live by the house rules including to .. View More

60. Can we insist on drug tests and searches?

No, recovery residences do not have the right to impose testing or searches without consent. View More

61. Can a sober living facility bill insurance for required and/or random drug testing?

Recovery residences sometimes rely on the drug screening which takes place when the resident attends outpatient services... View More

62. Can we make residents’ obligations contractually enforceable?

If the rules are contained in the tenancy agreement as conditions of residence, and the resident agrees to them upon accepting the tenancy... View More

Governance and Staffing

63. What kind of ownership and staffing structures are common with recovery resident arrangements?

A housing facility may be structured as a nonprofit corporation, a for-profit corporation... View More

64. Are there any other organizations that could be helpful to us?

Florida Association of Recovery Residences... View More


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