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Update for Florida Providers: The Florida Practices of Substance Abuse Service Providers Act House Bill 807 (2017 HB-807)

Update for Florida Providers: The Florida Practices of Substance Abuse Service Providers Act House Bill 807 (2017 HB-807)

Update for Florida Providers: The Florida Practices of Substance Abuse Service Providers Act House Bill 807 (2017 HB-807)

article by: at: 17th Jun 2017 under: Uncategorized

Update for Florida Providers: The Florida Practices of Substance Abuse Service Providers Act House Bill 807 (2017 HB-807)

The Florida legislature recently passed legislation (2017 HB-807), a bill with major effects on the practices of Substance Abuse Service Providers in the state. Republican Rep. Bill Hager hopes that his legislation (HB 807) will help stop key problems at substance abuse treatment centers, including fraudulent marketing, patient brokering and incentives to relapse. The bill effective July 1, 2017, according to the Florida Senate website authorizes/requires:

  • The Office of Statewide Prosecution to investigate and prosecute patient brokering offenses.
  • Increased penalties for operating without a license.
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to conduct background screening for owners, directors, CFOs, and clinical supervisors of substance abuse service providers.
  • Revised limitations on referrals to recovery residences.
  • The court to approve application for disclosure of substance abuse treatment records.
  • Prohibits certain marketing practices.

As a result, higher costs and increased liability are placed directly on substance abuse service facilities.

Here are a few ways the new law will alter the substance abuse industry in Florida, and potentially affect future laws in the United States:

  1. The Office of Statewide Prosecution to investigate and prosecute patient brokering offenses— The bill results in further funding to the OSP to crack down on patient brokering, which is to “solicit or receive any commission, bonus, rebate, kickback, or bribe, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, or engage in any split-fee arrangement, in any form whatsoever, in return for referring patients to a health care provider/facility” (https://www.acponline.org/about-acp/chapters-regions/united…/patient-brokering). It will now be up to a first degree felony to engage in patient brokering.
  2. Increases penalties for operating with a license— Not only will application fees for licenses through DCF be increased, but the process to obtain a license will now become much tighter. DCF will no longer issue more than one probationary license. Furthermore, clinicians working without a license will now be subject to felony penalties.
  3. Requires the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to conduct background screening for owners, directors, CFOs, and clinical supervisors of substance abuse service providers—All owners, directors, chief financial officers and clinical supervisors of service providers will be subject to level 2 background screening.
  4. Revises limitations on referrals to recovery residences—Substance abuse service providers will now be restricted with the amount of referrals they are allowed to make and receive. Providers are prohibited from accepting referred patients from a recovery residence unless that residence and its administrator both have certificates of compliance. The law will also make sure that service providers will NOT be able to refer patients to mutually owned and operated non-certified recovery residences, unless the residence does not profit at all from the referral or the provider is under contract with a behavioral health managing entity.
  5. Authorizes the court to approve application for disclosure of substance abuse treatment records—This authorizes the court to approve an application for the disclosure of an individual’s substance abuse treatment records without providing express notice of the application to the individual or identified parties with an interest in the records if the application is filed as part of an active criminal investigation.
  6. Prohibits certain marketing practices— The law prohibits predatory marketing practices by substance abuse service providers for patient lead generation. It will be illegal for any person to knowingly misrepresent the identity, location or services of a licensed provider as part of the effort to lure a prospective patient. This is intended to limit the common practice of using another provider’s name or information to persuade the patient to a particular treatment site. Also, substance abuse marketing services will be regulated under the State’s Division of Consumer Services, identical to how telemarketers in the state are currently regulated.

Additionally, the DCF will also be responsible for developing new rules for best practices. These rules should be effective January 2018.

Read Florida HB-807 here .

Brown Consulting, Ltd. is here to help you with this transition! We have over 30 years of experience helping behavioral health organizations. Contact us today!

 

-Megan Phillips, M.A.