Arizona State Laws and Regulations - Summary

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What kinds of facilities provide addiction services in Arizona?

    Types of Facilities
    Behavioral Health Inpatient Facilities A health care institution that provides continuous treatment to a patient experiencing a... Read More
  2. Which facilities are exempt from licensure requirements?
    The following facilities are exempt from licensure requirements: Read More
  3. What does it mean to be ‘licensed’, ‘certified’, ‘registered’ 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. Read More
  4. Licensing

  5. Which body licenses behavioral health and substance abuse treatment facilities in the State of Arizona?
    The Arizona Department of Health Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS) licenses behavioral health facilities according to the level of care and services they are capable of providing to their clients. Read More
  6. What information must be provided in my initial application for licensure?
    The Arizona Department of Health Services will provide the format for the initial application. The initial application is comprised of basic identifying information, date for onsite inspection, ownership information, previous licensing history of owners and physical plant specifications. This application format is used for all facilities applying for licensure. Read More
  7. Renewal

  8. Does a license have to be renewed?
    The license must be renewed annually, at least 60 days, but ... Read More
  9. Timelines

  10. How long does a licensing application usually take?

    Type of Approval Overall Time Frame Administrative Completeness Timeframe Substantive Review Timeframe
    Approval of architectural plans and specifications 105 calendar days 45 calendar days Read More
  11. On-site Review

  12. What kinds of on-site audits or inspections will there be for licensure determination and how can I prepare?
    When submitting an application for an initial health care institution license, the applicant must provide written notice that the facility is ready for a licensing inspection. Read More
  13. What kinds of things could affect a license once granted?
    Certain changes or modifications to services must be reported to Arizona Department of Health Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services, and sometimes a new license must be applied for. It is important to await an approval or an amended license from DBHS before proceeding in the following circumstances: Read More
  14. Certification

  15. Does our facility have to be certified and what are the practical benefits of certifying my facility?
    Programs in Arizona do not have to be certified, although... Read More
  16. How do I apply for certification?
    In order to become certified by the Arizona Recovery Housing Alliance (AzHRA), it is necessary to join the association by paying the application fee... Read More
  17. What should I do in preparation for the on-site compliance review?
    The Arizona Recovery Housing Association (AzHRA) criteria for site inspection is available here: This should be reviewed alongside... Read More
  18. How often must I renew certification?
    The Arizona Recovery Housing Association conducts annual inspections. Read More
  19. Zoning and Land Use

  20. What are the protections afforded to small group homes used for the purpose of residential substance abuse treatment?
    Any facility with six or fewer residents is exempt from local zoning and land use regulations (based on federal law) and is therefore... Read More
  21. 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 regulation preventing multiple facilities from operating in close proximity. However, many residential treatment facilities have faced objections and difficulties in various different locations across the state... Read More
  22. What are the basic physical plant requirements for treatment facilities?
    Please note, these regulations relate to space and do not constitute all environmental requirements.... Read More
  23. Care, Treatment and Services

    Admissions Agreement

  24. What client information should be collected during intake and what should we put in our admissions agreement?
    Discussions with the client, or the person responsible for the client, should be in simple, non-technical terms and in the client’s primary language. Read More
  25. Screening

  26. How does a program decide if a patient or resident is suitable for the
    they can provide?
    Facilities have an obligation to provide adequate and appropriate services to their patients or clients, which must be delivered with objectivity, respect and integrity. Read More
  27. Treatment Plan

  28. What information should go into a treatment plan?
    A treatment plan must be developed and implemented for each patient of a behavioral health inpatient or residential facility, based on the medical history and physical examination, nursing assessment or behavioral assessment which the patient/client has received during the admission process as well as any on-going changes or behavioral assessment of the patient or client. Read More
  29. Contact Requirements

  30. What are the required services that a facility must provide to a client/patient?
    An administrator must ensure that counseling services are offered as described in the facility’s scope of services, according to the frequency and number of hours identified in the client’s/patient’s treatment plan and provided by an appropriately qualified member of staff. Read More
  31. Restraint & Seclusion

  32. How can facilities manage an aggressive client/patient?
    Facilities have a responsibility not to admit a client who is beyond their ability to help, or whose behavior or symptoms exceed their ability to manage. Read More
  33. Medication

  34. How should staff manage client medications?
    The facility must develop written procedures for managing clients’ medications, which must include storage, administration, documentation, inventory, and disposal. Read More
  35. Client Rights

  36. 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 on admission, and inform them of the complaints and appeal process. Clients, or their representatives, must sign to confirm they have received a copy of their rights and a copy must also be posted in plain sight at the facility. Read More
  37. Discharge

  38. What grounds are needed in order to dismiss a client from a program?
    There are four types of discharge. First, successful completion of program means that the client has met the goals of their recovery plan. Read More
  39. What documentation is required to demonstrate appropriate discharge planning?
    Behavioral health inpatient and behavioral health residential facilities are required to develop a discharge plan with the client, prior to discharge, setting out the level of care that is thought appropriate to meet the client’s needs after discharge. Read More
  40. 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
  41. Privacy

  42. 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
  43. Governance and Staffing

  44. What kind of governance structure should a substance abuse facility have?
    Behavioral health residential, inpatient and substance abuse facilities are led by governing authorities consisting of one or more individuals who are responsible for the organization, operation and administration of the facility. Read More
  45. Payment

  46. How should I respond to clients who are unable to pay the required deductibles? Can I waive a program 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. Read More
  47. 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. The most common defects in the billing claim that insurers assert are lack of medical necessity and insufficient documentation to support the claim. Read More
  48. Marketing

  49. 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
  50. What are the limits of gift giving to potential referral sources?
    State and federal regulators prohibit the exchange of ... Read More
  51. What kind of benefits can I offer existing or new clients?
    Facilities should avoid giving gifts to clients or referral sources based on anti-kickback statutes which prohibit patient brokering... Read More
  52. Sober Living Environments


  53. What is a sober home?
    A sober home is an alcohol and drug-free environment inhabited by individuals who are attempting to maintain their recovery from substance abuse disorders. Read More
  54. Do we need a license to open a sober home?
    Licenses are not required to operate sober-living homes, so long as... Read More
  55. Are there any consequences to being ‘unlicensed’?
    Because there is no regulatory oversight, some have complained that many sober living homes are maintained in poor, overcrowded condition with... Read More
  56. What kinds of services can a sober home 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. Read More
  57. Certification

  58. How can we demonstrate to our clients that we are offering a high quality living environment?
    A sober home can elect to demonstrate voluntarily that it meets minimum quality standards. Several states (including Arizona) have developed an optional certification process for sober living facilities. Read More
  59. Does a sober home have to obtain certification in order to operate?
    The law protects small groups of individuals who choose to live together in peer-supportive environments and therefore does... Read More
  60. How do I apply for certification and what is the process?
    In order to become certified by the Arizona Recovery Housing Alliance (AzHRA), it is necessary to join the association by paying the application fee of $50. Read More
  61. What should I do in preparation for the on-site compliance review?
    The Arizona Recovery Housing Association (AzRHA) makes its criteria for site inspection available here: This should be reviewed alongside... Read More
  62. How often must I renew certification?
    The Arizona Recovery Housing Association conducts annual inspections. Read More
  63. Zoning and Land Use

  64. 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 federal and state law, and need... Read More
  65. Can local governments put special restrictions on sober living residences?
    Sober 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
  66. What other aspects should I consider before choosing a location for our sober home?
    In siting a sober home, attention should be paid to potential hostility from neighbors. Read More
  67. Resident’s Rights and Responsibilities

  68. What would our obligations to residents be?
    To enforce that the premises remain safe and free of intoxicant use; to maintain... Read More
  69. What kind of agreement should we ask our residents to sign?
    The agreement should include a pledge from the tenant to live by the house rules including to abstain from drug and alcohol use and (usually) to attend a weekly residents’ meeting and any other rules the landlord wishes to make (guests, pets)... Read More
  70. Can we insist on drug tests and searches?
    No, sober homes do not have the right to impose testing or searches without consent. Consent can be... Read More
  71. Can a sober home bill insurance for required and/or random drug testing?
    Sober homes sometimes rely on the drug screening that takes place when the resident attends outpatient services, although they may make use of drug testing equipment which can be used onsite. Read More
  72. 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, then they... Read More
  73. Governance and Staffing

  74. What kind of ownership and staffing structures are common with these types of residential arrangements?
    A sober housing facility may be structured as a nonprofit corporation, a for-profit corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or a sole owner arrangement. Read More
  75. Are there any other organizations that could help us?
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Read More


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