Florida State Laws and Regulations - Summary

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. Read More
  2. Which addiction treatment facilities are required to be licensed and what kind of services can they provide?
    Any provider that offers substance abuse treatment services needs to be licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Office (DCF). Read More
  3. Which service providers are not required to be licensed by the Department of Children and Families?

    Type of Provider Reason
    A hospital, or hospital-based component Read More
  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. Read More
  5. Licensing

  6. Which body licenses primary substance abuse rehabilitation facilities in Florida?
    The Department of Children and Families Read More
  7. What kind of licenses are there?
    There are three kinds of license: regular, probationary, and interim. Read More
  8. What information must be provided in my initial application for licensure?
    Licenses can be applied for both initially and annually thereafter using this form: Read More
  9. What will the Department of Children and Families consider in determining whether to grant a license?
    While DCF has not yet issued specific rules for minimum requirements for licensure, state law was recently amended as part of the Practices of Substance Abuse Services Providers law, signed by Governor Rick Scott and effective July 1, 2017 to provide certain parameters that DCF will consider in the licensure process. Read More
  10. How long does a licensing application usually take?
    After an application has been submitted, the district offices of the DCF substance abuse program will be in contact with the applicant within 30 days... Read More
  11. How should I prepare for an on-site audit for licensure determination?
    DCF generally informs the program of the date and time of the inspection. Read More
  12. What kind of things could affect a license once granted?
    DCF requires that most substantive changes to the licensee's program are reported. Read More
  13. Under what circumstances can a license be denied, suspended, or revoked?
    DCF may deny, suspend, or revoke the license of a service provider or may suspend or revoke the license as to the operation of any service component or location identified on the license for: Read More
  14. Certification

  15. Does our facility have to be certified?
    In Florida, certification is voluntary. Read More
  16. What are the practical benefits of certifying my facility?
    Under Florida law, for a treatment provider to receive a prospective patient lead from a recovery residence, the recovery residence must be FARR certified and actively managed by a certified recovery residence administrator.
    Read More
  17. How do I apply for certification/what information do I include?
    An online application should be made to FARR:
    Read More
  18. 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. Read More
  19. 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, chief financial officers, and clinical supervisors associated with the program. Read More
  20. 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... Read More
  21. How often must I renew certification?
    Certification is for one year, at which point it terminates automatically if it has not been renewed. Read More
  22. 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. Read More
  23. Zoning and Land Use

  24. What are the protections afforded to facilities used for drug rehabilitation?
    The regulation of land use and zoning is traditionally reserved to state and local governments, except to the extent that it conflicts with requirements imposed by the Fair Housing Act,... Read More
  25. 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 does not regulate or prevent multiple facilities from operating in close proximity. Read More
  26. Admissions

  27. What client information should be collected during intake?
    The following intake information 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. Read More
  28. What should we put in our admissions agreement?
    An admissions agreement should include, at a minimum, a breakdown of expected fees and services, activities expected of participants, program rules and regulations, client's right to confidentiality, client's grievance procedure and reasons for termination, as well as a payment schedule and a refund policy. Read More
  29. 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. Read More
  30. What are the restrictions around determining suitability for methadone or medical maintenance treatment?
    In determining the current physiological addiction of the client, a physician considers signs and symptoms of drug intoxication,... Read More
  31. If a client meets requirements to take home methadone, how frequently does the client need to come to the facility?
    The client's need for facility visits will depend on the phase of his or her treatment. Read More
  32. 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,... Read More
  33. Care, Treatment, and Services

  34. What information should we include in client orientation?
    Clients should receive a description of services to be provided and information on applicable fees, client rights, parental or legal guardian's access to information and participation in treatment planning,... Read More
  35. 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, as well as the tasks involved in achieving those objectives, the type and frequency of services to be provided, and the expected dates of completion.
    Read More
  36. How much contact should we have with the client once admitted?
    A primary counselor shall be assigned to each client (except for addictions receiving facilities and detoxification). Read More
  37. How should we manage an aggressive client?
    A program should not admit someone whom is beyond the program's capacity to safely manage. Read More
  38. 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. Read More
  39. What are the grounds to dismiss a client from our program?
    Generally, there are four types of discharge. First, successful completion of the program means that the client has met the goals... Read More
  40. How do I dismiss a client from a methadone program?
    A client can be removed from a methadone program when he or she no longer meet the criteria. Examples include when: Read More
  41. 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. Read More
  42. Privacy

  43. 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
  44. Governance and Staffing

  45. What kind of governance structure should a substance abuse treatment facility have?
    Facilities should have a governing body to determine policy for the program and appoint a chief executive officer. Read More
  46. 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... Read More
  47. Can we employ our clients?
    In general, as a matter of best practices, it is not recommended to employ clients. Read More
  48. May substance abuse treatment facilities have medical staff?
    Yes, and in some cases they must. A medical director must be designated by the governing body... Read More
  49. What services can addiction treatment staff provide?
    Non-medical staff providing clinical services are limited to the following activities unless they are licensed to provide other services: Read More
  50. Payment

  51. What are our obligations to patients with regard to payment issues?
    Before accepting an individual for admission, both the full charge for services and the fee charged to the individual for such services... Read More
  52. 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 because of the consequences of their addiction or the expense of multiple, prior failed treatment programs. Read More
  53. 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 number of issues, including defects in the billing claims or supporting documentation and/or noncompliance with federal or state laws. Read More
  54. Marketing

  55. What marketing practices are prohibited? What disclosures are required?
    Florida has recently legislated several new laws relating to marketing in the field of substance abuse treatment. Read More
  56. What are the limits of gift giving to potential referral sources?
    State and federal regulators prohibit the exchange of items of value to induce or receive referrals so the giving of any item of value,... Read More
  57. What kind of benefits can I offer existing or new clients?
    Providers must avoid giving a patient, prospective patient, or referral source anything of value or benefit. Read More
  58. Recovery Residences

  59. 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. Read More
  60. Licenses

  61. Do we need a license to open a recovery residence?
    Licenses are not required to operate recovery residences, so long as they provide only housing and meals to their residents... Read More
  62. Are there any consequences to being "unlicensed?"
    Because there is no regulatory oversight, some have complained that many recovery residences are maintained in poor, overcrowded condition... Read More
  63. What kind 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... Read More
  64. Certification & Accreditation

  65. 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. Read More
  66. 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... Read More
  67. How do I apply for certification and what is the process?
    An online application should be made to FARR: http://farronline.org/certification/apply-for-certification/ Read More
  68. 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, chief financial officers... Read More
  69. How often must I renew certification?
    Certification is for one year, at which point it terminates automatically if it has not been renewed. Read More
  70. How does a recovery residence apply for accreditation?
    Information from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities is available at: Read More
  71. Zoning and Land Use

  72. What are the legal protections afforded to recovery residences?
    The regulation of land use and zoning is traditionally reserved to state and local governments, except to the extent that it conflicts with... Read More
  73. Can local governments put special restrictions on recovery residences?
    This area of law is complex and evolving. It is well settled that state and federal law prohibit local governments... Read More
  74. 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. Read More
  75. Resident's Rights and Responsibilities

  76. What are our obligations to residents?
    Obligations include: (1) to enforce that the premises remain safe and free of intoxicant use; Read More
  77. What kind of agreement should we ask our residents to sign?
    The agreement should include: (1) a pledge from the client to live by the house rules... Read More
  78. Can a recovery residence insist on drug tests and searches?
    Recovery residences do not have the right to impose testing or searches without consent. Read More
  79. Can a recovery residence bill insurance for required and/or random drug testing?
    Recovery residences sometimes rely on the drug screening that takes place when the resident attends outpatient services,... Read More
  80. Can residents' obligations be made contractually enforceable?
    If the rules are contained in the recovery residence housing agreement as conditions of residence,... Read More
  81. Governance and Staffing

  82. 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, limited liability company, Read More
  83. Are there any other organizations that could be helpful to us?
    Florida Association of Recovery Residences: Read More


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