DCF Rebukes Florida Legislature on Community Housing Sober Living
In an abrupt, stunning, and unforeseen policy shift, outgoing Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll signed an Administrative Order yesterday declaring that the residential component of a “Day or Night Treatment with Community Housing” license (commonly referred to as “PHP” or “Partial Hospitalization”) does NOT have to obtain certification from the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (“FARR”).
The Department released its “Order on Petition for Declaratory Statement” filed by Amethyst Recovery Center, LLC, stating:
“A provider licensed for day or night treatment with community housing is not required to comply with the voluntary certification requirements outlined in sections 397.487 and 397.4871, F.S., in order to operate the community housing portion of its license. The standards for this licensing component are found in Rule 65D-30.0081, F.A.C.”
In the matter of “Amethyst Recovery Center, LLC, Case No. 18-065CF, Rendition No. DCF-18-196-DS”, Secretary Carroll made the following conclusions:
- “The definition of day or night treatment with community housing differs from the definition of recovery residence.”
- MY RESPONSE: EVEN DCF ADMITS THERE IS NO DEFINITION OF “COMMUNITY HOUSING” BUT ANY PLAIN READING OF THE STATUTE DEFINING “RECOVERY RESIDENCE” CLEARLY CAPTURES ALL HOUSING ASSOCIATED WITH ALL OUTPATIENT TREATMENT.
- “A recovery residence is not a licensable service component and is not monitored by the Department.”
- MY RESPONSE: DCF HAS CONSISTENTLY STATED FOR YEARS THAT THE DEPARTMENT ONLY REGULATES CLINICAL SERVICES, NOT HOUSING. THAT IS WHY THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE DIRECTED DCF TO IDENTIFY A “CREDENTIALING AGENCY” WHICH IS IN THIS CASE, IS FARR.
- “To require day or night treatment with community housing licensed facilities to have the licensed community housing part also certified in order to maintain their license or make referrals within that one licensed component would not appear to be aligned with statute and would not appear to be the referrals that are intended to be restricted under section 397.4873(1), F.S.
- MY RESPONSE: IT IS ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT THERE IS A FUNDAMENTAL DISCONNECT WITH TALLAHASSEE AND ALL THAT HAS TRANSPIRED WITH THE FINANCIAL ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES TO THE PALM BEACH STATE ATTORNEY’S OFFICE TO MAKE STATEWIDE FINDINGS AS TO WHETHER RESIDENCES WITHIN WHICH EXISTING PATIENTS AND PERSONS WHO HAVE COMPLETED TREATMENT REQUIRE OVERSIGHT, STANDARDS, AND REGULATIONS.
- “[T]his requirement would also be duplicative as this component already has license standards outlined and monitored by the Department.”
- MY RESPONSE: THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO STANDARDS FOR COMMUNITY HOUSING BUT FOR THE REQUIREMENT OF A FIRE INSPECTION AND PROOF OF LIABILITY INSURANCE; BOTH AHCA AND FARR AND ALL STATE AGENCIES RELATING TO ANY FORM OF HOUSING HAVE MORE STANDARDS RELATING TO HOUSING THAT DCF.
- “Even if the community housing part of day or night treatment with community housing falls within the definition of a recovery residence, the community housing offered is an integral part of the Petitioner’s licensed company.”
- MY RESPONSE: HOUSING BY ALL PROVIDERS IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THEIR LICENSED COMPANY. INSURANCE SHOULD BE PAYING FOR HOUSING AT ALL LEVELS. PROVIDING ROOM AND BOARD ASSOCIATED WITH TREATMENT, PARTICULARLY SOCIALIZED RECOVERY HOUSING, IS A MEDICAL NECESSITY. AND THEREFORE, THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE HAS DECIDED THAT ALL SUCH HOUSING REQUIRES A MODICUM OF STANDARDS. DCF DISAGREES.
While this topic is far from closed, there is great concern that DCF, FARR, and the Florida Legislature are operating on different planes and the efforts to adopt national and statewide housing standards for all residences in which treatment providers place their patients have been undermined – by the State of Florida.
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