Georgia State Laws and Regulations - Summary

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

  1. What kinds of facilities require a license?
    Any substance abuse facility which offers treatment services for substance abuse requires a license from Georgia Department of Community Health. Substance abuse facilities are licensed according to the level of care and services they are capable of providing to their clients and different regulators govern different types of services. Read More
  2. What kinds of facilities provide addiction services in Georgia?
    The following programs offer treatment and education services to alcohol and drug addicted individuals in Georgia. Read More
  3. What does it mean to be 'licensed' or 'accredited' in this industry?
    Licensing means that the facility has been granted a written notice conveying to the public that the regulator has issued its permission to operate authorized services. Read More
  4. What are the staffing requirements of a substance abuse facility?
    Facilities must ensure adequate staff to meet client needs, and that individuals employed are appropriately vetted to insure they do not pose a risk to clients. Read More
  5. Are there any other organizations where we could find more information?
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Read More
  6. Treatment/Rehabilitation Programs

    Overview

  7. What kinds of facilities require a license?
    Any substance abuse facility which offers treatment services for substance abuse requires a license from Georgia Department of Community Health. Read More
  8. What kinds of facilities provide addiction services in Georgia?
    The following programs offer treatment and education services to alcohol and drug addicted individuals in Georgia. Read More
  9. What does it mean to be 'licensed' or 'accredited' in this industry?
    Licensing means that the facility has been granted a written notice conveying to the public that the regulator has issued its permission to operate authorized services. Read More
  10. Licensing

  11. Which body authorizes and oversees substance abuse treatment facilities in the State of Georgia?
    The Georgia Department of Community Health is responsible for ensuring that persons who abuse or are dependent on alcohol and/or substances and their families are provided with care and treatment that is effective and of high quality. Read More
  12. What information must be provided in my initial application for a license?
    Drug abuse treatment and education programs should apply for licensure using the following form: Read More
  13. What are the different types of license which may be issued?
    There are two types of license: provisional and regular. Read More
  14. On-site Review

  15. What kinds of inspections might there be for licensure determination?
    The Georgia Department of Community Health (GDCH) may enter and inspect any and all program premises which, includes access to all parts of the facility, staff, clients, and books, documents or records pertinent to initial and continued licensure, including but not limited to all clinical records maintained on clients. Read More
  16. How can a facility prepare for inspections, on-site reviews and audits?
    While the criteria are periodically updated, key subjects of review may include: (a) Medication management (security and storage, self-administration, logging of administration, labeling, and destruction); Read More
  17. Why might a licensing application be unsuccessful or a license revoked?
    A license application will be denied by Georgia Department of Community Health (GDCH) when a program fails to meet the standards set out in the licensing rules, and no variances or waivers have been approved. Read More
  18. Zoning and Land Use

  19. What are the protections afforded to small group homes used for the purpose of residential substance abuse treatment?
    Sober homes and other transitional living facilities for those recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction are generally subject to local zoning laws and regulations. Read 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?
    There is no statewide rule or regulation preventing multiple facilities from operating in close proximity. Read More
  21. What are the basic physical plant requirements for treatment facilities?
    Treatment facilities should be in compliance with all applicable local health, sanitation, building, and zoning requirements, and also in compliance with all applicable laws and rules issued by the State Fire Marshall, the proper local fire marshal or state inspector, and have a certificate of occupancy if required. Read More
  22. Is a facility able to provide food to its clients?
    A residential program which provides food service must provide each client with meals and snacks of food groups and serving sizes which meet the nutritional guidelines of the United States Department of Agriculture. Read More
  23. Care, Treatment and Services

    Admissions Agreement

  24. What information must be disclosed to the client during intake and what must we put in our admissions agreement?
    Clients or their responsible parties have a right to obtain information about the client’s treatment. Read More
  25. Placement

  26. How does a facility decide whether a client meets criteria for placement in a particular level of care?
    In order to make a determination on whether the services offered by the facility are an appropriate fit to meet the treatment requirements of the client, the facility carries out a screening and an assessment of the client's treatment and rehabilitation needs. Read More
  27. Contact

  28. What services must be offered at each different type of facility?
    Substance abuse treatment facilities must meet the needs of admitted clients as identified during the admission assessment process. Read More
  29. Treatment Planning

  30. How does a program plan for a client's treatment?
    There are two stages of treatment planning for clients undergoing treatment within licensed programs. Read More
  31. How should a program monitor a client's progress?
    A program should document the services received by the client and document chronologically observations of the client's clinical course of treatment which includes the client's response to treatment and progress towards achieving individual goals and desired outcomes. Read More
  32. Medication

  33. What rules govern administration of client medications?

    All Drug Treatment and Education Programs
    Prescription Medications must be prescribed by a physician, and/or other practitioners as allowed by state law, and the risks and benefits of the prescribed medication are explained to the client (and parent, guardian, or responsible party if applicable) by the physician or a staff person who has been delegated responsibility in writing by the physician to explain the risks and benefits. Read More
  34. Client Rights

  35. What rights are guaranteed to clients?
    Clients' rights must be respected and protected. Each facility has a responsibility to provide clients, or their representatives, with a copy of their rights, in a language they can understand during orientation, and inform them of the complaint process and how complaints are addressed and/or resolved. Read More
  36. Seclusion and Restraint

  37. What are the rules about restrictive practices of behavior control?
    A program may not admit someone it cannot safely manage. Read More
  38. What are the rules about emergency safety interventions?
    Emergency safety interventions, which are defined as those behavioral intervention techniques that are authorized under an approved emergency safety intervention plan and are utilized by properly trained staff in an urgent situation to prevent a client from doing immediate harm to self or others may be used only by staff trained in the proper use of such interventions when it can be reasonably anticipated from a client's behavioral history, that a client may require the use of emergency safety interventions to keep either the client or others safe from immediate physical harm, and less restrictive means of dealing with the injurious behavior have not proven successful or may subject the client or others to greater risk of injury. Read More
  39. What Should Facilities Consider When Designing An Emergency Safety Intervention Program?
    The emergency safety intervention program that is utilized should include the following:
    - Techniques for de-escalating problem behavior including client and staff debriefings; Read More
  40. What are manual holds, mechanical restraints, seclusion and time out?Emergency safety interventions may include manual holds, mechanical restraints, seclusion and time-out. Read More
  41. Under What Circumstances May Emergency Safety Interventions be Used?
    Where emergency safety interventions are used, the following rules must be observed: Read More
  42. Discharge

  43. What grounds are needed in order to dismiss a client from a program?
    There are four types of discharge. Read More
  44. What type of paperwork must accompany a client discharge?
    A program must complete, in accordance with accepted standards of practice, an individual discharge and aftercare plan prior to discharge for clients who leave the program with notice. Read More
  45. I need to discharge a client that relapsed, but am I at risk if he or she overdoses tonight and how can I protect myself?
    The discharge of a client must be handled carefully given the risks if a client suffers negative health consequences in the aftermath of discharge. Read More
  46. Privacy

  47. How must clients’ privacy be protected?
    Client confidentiality is an important issue covered by both federal and state laws. These laws set forth specific requirements regarding how and when patient information may be shared and the protections that must be in place ... Read More
  48. Payment

  49. How must I respond to clients who are unable to pay the required deductibles? Can I waive a program participant's financial responsibility?
    Many patients seeking alcohol and drug treatment services face financial difficulties, and request or require reductions in program fees, or waiver of their deductibles, copays, or coinsurance before they can afford treatment. Read More
  50. 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. Read More
  51. Governance and Staffing

  52. What are the staffing requirements of a substance abuse facility?
    Facilities must ensure adequate staff to meet client needs, and that individuals employed are appropriately vetted to insure they do not pose a risk to clients. Additionally, facilities must meet the following minimum staffing requirements: Read More
  53. Marketing

  54. What marketing practices are prohibited?
    The most widespread prohibited marketing practices in addiction treatment appear to revolve around inappropriate inducements and inaccurate marketing claims. Read More
  55. 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. Read More
  56. What kind of benefits can I offer existing or new clients?
    Facilities must avoid giving gifts to clients or referral sources based on anti-kickback statutes which prohibit client brokering. Read More
  57. Are there any other organizations where we could find more information?
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrationhttp://www.samhsa.gov/ Read More
  58. Recovery Residences

    Licensing

  59. What is a recovery home?
    Recovery Homes are transitional alcohol and drug free housing with rules, peer-led groups, activities and/or other structured operations which are directed toward maintenance of sobriety for persons who exhibit treatment resistance, relapse potential and/or lack of suitable recovery living environments or who recently have completed substance abuse treatment services or who may be receiving such treatment services at another licensed facility. Read More
  60. Do we need a license to open a recovery home?
    Recovery homes which do not offer or purport to offer Drug Abuse Treatment and Education Programs do not have to be licensed, and are not regulated by the Georgia Department of Community Health. Read More
  61. In the absence of licensing, how can recovery homes demonstrate their commitment to meeting minimum quality standards?
    The Georgia Association of Recovery Residences (GARR) is a peer driven not-for-profit organization. Read More
  62. What is the process through which a sober home can be accepted as a member of Georgia Association of Recovery Residences?
    To be accepted as a member of Georgia Association of Recovery Residences, the facility should meet the following standards: Read More
  63. What kinds of services can a recovery home offer?
    Recovery Homes provide a structured alcohol and drug free environment for congregate living that offers regularly scheduled peer-led or community gatherings (self-help groups, etc.). Read More
  64. Zoning and Land Use

  65. What are the protections afforded by federal law to small group homes used for the purpose of residential drug rehabilitation?
    Sober homes and other transitional living facilities for those recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction are generally subject to local zoning laws and regulations. Read More
  66. Can local governments put special restrictions on recovery homes?
    Recovery homes in some communities have found growing efforts to regulate them by local ordinance, including registration requirements, concentration (spacing) limits, and other requirements. Read More
  67. What other aspects must I consider before choosing a location for our recovery home?
    In siting a recovery home, attention must be paid to potential hostility from neighbors. While federal and state law may protect the right to operate recovery homes of six or fewer in any residential community depending upon a variety of circumstances, operators must be prepared to deal with the stress and expense of combating hostile neighbors and potentially hostile cities in litigation. Read More
  68. Resident's Rights and Responsibilities

  69. What kind of agreement can we ask our residents to sign?
    Any agreement residents sign must comply with landlord and tenant laws of Georgia. Read More
  70. Can we insist on drug tests and searches?
    No, recovery homes do not have the right to impose testing or searches without consent. Read More
  71. Can we make residents' obligations contractually enforceable?
    Yes, as long as the obligations are enforceable under Georgia law in general, and the law relating to landlord and tenants. Read More
  72. Governance and Staffing

  73. What kind of ownership and staffing structures are common with these types of residential arrangements?
    A recovery housing facility may be structured as a nonprofit corporation, a for-profit corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or a sole owner arrangement. Read More
  74. Are there any other organizations where we could find more information?
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration http://www.samhsa.gov/ Read More

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