8 months ago, Florida was home to 953 licensed drug treatment centers, and 207 were in Palm Beach County. As of April 1, there are now 185 in Palm Beach, with 771 in the whole state. This decrease is due to the crackdown on fraud by Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office, which has led to 45 arrests in the last year and a half. So far, those arrests have led to 16 convictions. For State Attorney Dave Aronberg there is no sign of slowing down.
Recently, Dave Aronberg spoke with Opioid Watch to talk about the work his office has been doing to try and strengthen the addiction treatment industry. Chief Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson also sat down to talk about how Palm Beach County is fighting to protect those who are coming to Florida for help. Johnson heads the office’s Sober Homes Task Force.
Dave Aronberg VS Purdue Pharma
According to Aronberg, he got involved with opioid-related issues back in 2001, when he was an assistant attorney general. Aronberg says he was asked by his boss, Bob Butterworth, to investigate Purdue Pharma. This Big Pharma giant is the producer of OxyContin. This powerful prescription opioid has been credited with making a heavy contribution to the opioid crisis. Dave Aronberg was to examine the marketing practices of Purdue Pharma, and is quoted in the interview transcript stating:
“I believe we were one of the first in the country.”
Of course, now Purdue Pharma is one of many big name pharmaceutical companies being accused in lawsuits across America. In fact, Delray Beach, Florida recently filed its own case against the company.
When asked about what he found, Aronberg said that Purdue was marketing the product like it was Advil. Purdue has been repeatedly accused of pushing this product as if it was far less dangerous than it actually was. In 2002, Dave Aronberg was elected to state senate, and shortly afterward the case against Purdue was settled. In the edited interview transcript, Aronberg is quoted:
“Purdue also offered $2 million to the state to establish its first prescription drug monitoring program. I worked in the state senate to get the PDMP enacted into law. But some conservatives refused to go along. They thought it was Big Government. So Purdue’s $2 million went away, because the offer expired. We didn’t get the PDMP till 2011. By then the carnage was horrific.”
Furthermore, Opioid Watch notes that a Purdue spokesperson confirmed that the state failed to implement a PDMP by July 1, 2004, which was the expiration of the companies offer.
Dave Aronberg Goes to Congress
In December of 2017, Aronberg went in front of Congress to testify concerning fraud and abuse in the addiction treatment industry. In this meeting, they discussed various issues with shady facility operators in Florida and made suggestions on how the law could step in to change it and protect patients. The interview transcript quotes Aronberg:
“In recent years, we’ve had an influx of unscrupulous operators who enrich themselves by exploiting those in recovery. As a consequence, we’re attracting thousands of young people from throughout the country into fraudulent rehab centers. (We’re talking about some, not all. There are good rehab centers, too.)”
Again, Aronberg found himself at battle with shady marketing practices. While investigating the treatment industry, Aronberg’s office discovered illegal operations that not only manipulated insurance providers but put patients at extreme risk.
From patient brokering, where illicit actors would sell patients with insurance to the highest bidders, to illegal kickback schemes being run by sober homes to outpatient treatment programs. Chief Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson added information about the exploitation of urine analysis costs, and even some programs that began billing insurers for allergy and DNA testing. Aronberg states:
“We have a doctor who billed $7 million in nine months for allergy tests.”
Needless to say, the task force and state officials had their work cut out for them.
The ACA, ADA, and FHA
When talking about the many scams being run by various illegitimate businesses, the conversation came back to insurance and how these cons run. Here Dave Aronberg talks about his beliefs on how the law should step in and help restructure the current system.
“Number one: Change the Affordable Care Act’s fee reimbursement model to an outcome-based reimbursement model. Where the good providers are rewarded and the bad ones are paid less. Right now, the opposite occurs, so the more times you fail, the more money you get. There’s an incentive for more services and for more relapse. That shouldn’t be.”
After talking about the issues with the ACA, he talked about the ADA and FHA.
“The second change we need is this: the Americans with Disabilities Act and Federal Housing Act have been misused and exploited by bad actors who own flophouses.”
He went on to say,
“Local governments are largely prohibited from overseeing the sober home industry. If they want to require mandatory inspections, certifications, and registrations, they’re likely prohibited under federal law.”
In essence, Aronberg believes the law should allow local governments to create their own guidelines for health, safety and the general welfare of the patients. None of these demands seems outlandish, and with reasonable regulation, the reputable and effective providers in this industry can continue to best serve the South Florida recovery community.
Aronberg also points out that the problem is not only in Florida. Recently, he went to Orange County, California to meet with officials dealing with the same situation. Next for Dave Aronberg is leading the national task force of 34 prosecutors in 30 states. Their goal is to produce a working paper for setting best practices for prosecutors all over America concerning these issues. The task force also intends to make suggestions for changes to federal and state laws.
What might be most surprising though is the mention of harm reduction strategies?
“It’s about prevention, drug treatment, and innovative strategies. I think it will be powerful because it’s going to be prosecutors talking about needle exchanges and disposal and safe injection sites. People assume prosecutors are going to be focusing only on mandatory minimums and longer sentences. That’s not what this is about. I think it’s going to surprise people.”
While needle exchanges and safe injection sites have been proposed in numerous states, it is not the most popular idea. San Francisco is actually on track to open the first safe injection site in America, with Philadelphia not far behind, and Seattle and Baltimore in the conversation as well.
With Aronberg and the task force working to make a difference, hopefully, we will see the right change soon. We hope it will make the recovery community stronger as a whole. Reputable and respected providers are also doing their part to refine their practices while implementing innovative and effective resources to ensure that those who with drug or alcohol addiction always have a safe place in Palm Beach County to get the help they need. With the opioid crisis ongoing, having real resources for opioid treatment is still an essential part of overcoming the problem.
Palm Healthcare Company is a leader in holistic addiction treatment with over 20 years of helping people from all over the country heal mind, body and spirit. Providing safe and comprehensive care should always be a focus in the effort to overcome the drug problem, and preservation of life should always be a priority. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398
Recently I heard about a new product making a little noise online for being advertised as an all-natural supplement used for drug detox. I had never heard of Mitadone before, but I had heard about people trying to promote what they call more natural home remedies for treating withdrawal symptoms. Some claim to use natural juice cleansing regiments, or synthetic herbal compounds, or various other forms of healthy dietary routines to assist in their recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. However, it seems some people are looking to Mitadone as some kind of ‘miracle supplement.’
So what is Mitadone? Does it Work?
When visiting the official website for Mitadone, one of the first things you will see is that the company claims to offer a variety of detox programs, including:
Some of these options have a number of supplement plans, with different combinations of supplements which seem to imply they assist with different functions at different stages.
For Example- the Opiate Aid Program has a 3 step program with:
- Opiate Withdrawal Aid- 120 Tablets
- 5 Day Detox- 60 Capsules
- Anxiety, Stress Relief, and Mood Support- 90 Capsules
Each with a different purpose and including different ingredients. So what kind of all-natural ingredients are there?
Anit-Opiate Aid Plus Extra Strength
This product is advertised on the site as helping with withdrawal symptoms and cravings from opioid medications and illicit opioids like heroin. The ingredients are listed as:
- Vitamin A (as Beta Carotene)
- Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid)
- Vitamin D3 (as Cholecalciferol)
- Pantothenic Acid
- Vitamin E (as D-Alpha Tocopheryl Succinate)
- Vitamin K1
- Kudzu Root
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B6
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin B12
- John’s Wort
- Rutin Bioperine
- Dicalcium Phosphate
- Microcrystalline Cellulose
- Croscarmellose Sodium
- Stearic Acid
- Vegetable Stearate
- Silicon Dioxide
- Pharmaceutical Glaze
Quite a mouth-full, right?
Oh and guess what- its Gluten Free!
The site states the product is “manufactured by a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) approved facility that employs FDA certified manufacturing and quality control procedures.” Essentially, the Mitadone program is a large supply of multi-vitamins and other supplements. There are no prescription chemicals or habit-forming substances, according to their description.
Does it Work?
So are these multi-vitamin routines enough to combat such powerful addictions as opioids or alcohol? Well, Mitadone claims with their products you can detox from home, but is that really safe?
With alcohol detox, some withdrawal symptoms can be particularly harmful to your body. Others can even be lethal. With opioids, withdrawals can be extremely uncomfortable or even painful. So while these supplements may be able to help supply nutrients to the body, they aren’t exactly going to be able to support every aspect of the detox process.
If you look closer at the descriptions of these products, it seems Mitadone also knows how limited its impact can be. The fine-print acknowledges that everyone’s body chemistry is different, so the supplements will not always affect everyone the same. Some of the better reviews on Amazon.com still say that while the supplements made them feel a little better in some aspects, they were still extremely sick. Others claim the supplements did nothing to ease the more severe symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
When looking into the product and reading reviews, it is often but in the same category as Kava, which is a beverage or extract that is often advertised as a more natural substance. Some use Kava for recreational purposes. Others also use Kava to try and fight their withdrawals. If we look closer at Kava, it has much of its own controversy. There is a lot of contention as to whether Kava is responsible for liver damage and other health risks. While Mitadone is a totally different product, people associate them both with the concept of self-detoxing through ‘natural remedies’. Yet, many still question how safe or effective they are.
Even on the Mitadone website, in the Opiate Aid and Alcohol Aid programs you can see statements like:
“Increases the chances of substance abuse patients to stay in any maintenance therapy program.”
“Addiction doesn’t necessarily conclude after the patient exits a rehab program.”
So even in their product descriptions, they seem to admit that these supplements are not a solution on their own, but a product that might give someone a better chance while pursuing other specific treatment options.
In short, these kinds of nutritional products can be an asset to your recovery plan, but they are ineffective as a primary recovery strategy.
Nutraceutical Therapy and Addiction Treatment
Incorporating a healthier diet and perhaps even vitamins and other supplements can be very beneficial for some, but they should be utilized as part of a more holistic approach to addiction recovery.
Palm Healthcare Company offers Nutraceutical Therapy as part of a holistic addiction treatment program. We understand the importance of nourishing the body while also healing the mind. The value of vitamin and supplement therapy should not be underestimated. There is a benefit to supplements such as:
- Digestive enzymes
- Essential fatty acids
Combine these with a healthy, balanced diet and physical therapy can provide an exceptional advantage to someone on the path to recovery.
But we emphasize that recovering from addiction to drugs or alcohol is not just about balancing out the body to help it break its dependence on substances. Recovery is also about comprehensive addiction education, developing new coping skills and addressing personal traumas. There is so much more to a future in recovery.
Mitadone may have a decent product, but people should always remember that with drug addiction it is not always effective, or even safe, to detox on your own. Medical detox is a resource that exists to help people get off drugs as safely and effectively as possible, while providing various lines of support, including nutrition.
Nutritional therapy in addiction treatment recognizes the importance of what we put into our bodies, but it is most effective as part of a complete treatment plan. For those trying to find ways to overcome withdrawal symptoms, a medical detox with experienced professionals can make the process safer and easier. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
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In 2015 the Journal of Employee Assistance published an article to help Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) looking for addiction treatment programs to recommend for their clients. Guess what, challenge accepted!
When we at Palm Healthcare Company took a close look at the outline provided by the Journal of Employee Assistance on methods of treatment, we were happy to note that our treatment programs fit the description perfectly.
It is important for employers and their assistance groups to have a clear and comprehensive idea of what an effective addiction treatment program looks like, so they can provide their employees with options for quality care. The Journal of Employee Assistance article goes on to identify some of the aspects of the addiction treatment outline for EAP professionals should consider as vital for effective recovery. In order to make confident recommendations, Palm Healthcare Company also believes EA professionals should do all they can to understand all levels of care and the methods of treatment.
We understand and appreciate the power of information. Let us provide a detailed look, point-by-point, at how Palm Healthcare Company can best serve your clients by meeting the suggested specifications of the Journal of Employee Assistance.
As stated in the article by the Journal of Employee Assistance, the current focus for treatment of chronic diseases like addiction is based on dynamic treatment, also known as adaptive interventions or multi-stage treatment strategies. The idea is to continuously evaluate the individual’s progress in order to adjust their treatment.
One-size-fits-all tactics fail to address unique life issues that are connected to substance use and addiction. Personalized treatment that is tailored to each individual’s specific needs is a crucial element to effective holistic treatment.
In fact, the National Institutes of Health have stated that the best programs provide a combination of services that take into account all aspects of the individual, including:
Palm Healthcare Company does not believe in the ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of treatment. We know that every person has their own unique experiences and circumstances. We all live and learn differently, so addiction treatment should take those differences into consideration.
Palm Healthcare Company, like most traditional programs, provides the basics of addiction treatment. Looking at the addiction treatment outline for EAP professionals, the most traditional methods to look for include:
All detox facilities are staffed with medical professionals experienced with treating those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Every individual is given a thorough intake assessment to ensure the safest and most comfortable method of medical detox is offered to fit each client.
Because addiction is about far more than substance use, behavioral therapy is extremely important to the recovery process. Not only do these sessions examine destructive behaviors, but they also assess the thoughts and feelings that might cause them.
As part of offering behavioral therapy, Palm Healthcare Company facilities also offer unique classes on building social skills and personal development opportunities.
Palm Healthcare Company also believes that a crucial aspect of overcoming addiction is to understand it through educational, evidence-based therapeutic intervention. Classes are consistently provided explaining various aspects of addiction and mental health disorders so each individual can better understand and cope with their illness.
Support groups and 12 Steps
Historically, group therapies and a sense of community has always been a big piece of addiction recovery. Opportunities to get involved with 12 Step fellowships and other support groups can help individuals to find a sense of community with others recovering from drugs or alcohol. Palm Healthcare Company programs consistently facilitate these options.
Family weeks or weekends for those over 13 years old
The Palm Healthcare Family Program is a unique and empowering experience for individuals trying to overcome their addictions, as well as for their loved ones. Part of the family program is the Palm Healthcare Family Weekend which includes various events designed to educate family members and bring each other closer through connection and support.
However, the Journal of Employee Assistance notes that the more “novel yet effective” programs also include more innovative addiction treatment methods. These facilities go above and beyond the basic outline of services to provide holistic treatment programs. So how does Palm Healthcare Company match up to these recommendations?
A range of therapeutic approaches
Again, Palm Healthcare Company does not believe in the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to treating addiction. Because not every form of therapy will be as influential for everyone our facilities offer a variety of therapeutic courses. Some of these include:
Palm Healthcare Company believes in utilizing cutting-edge treatment methods to create a more in-depth and personal recovery experience.
Provide multiple levels of care
There are several reasons why having different levels of care can be a big deal for EA professionals seeking treatment providers. For one, different levels of care allow for different levels of contact with the outside world.
With partial hospitalization, intensive or residential levels of treatment there is a much more secure and controlled environment with daily schedules full of therapy options and courses. If the individual is approved for Outpatient or Intensive Outpatient treatment they can attend work for part of the day while attending classes periodically.
Palm Healthcare Company helps the patient choose the level of care that is best suited for their needs. Monitoring individual progress and adapting the aspects of treatment to fit their progress is an important way to personalize the experience and support the transition from addiction to independent recovery.
Treat co-occurring mental health disorders
When an individual is struggling with a mental health disorder and substance use disorder the best method for them is dual diagnosis treatment. This allows the individual to address the addiction and the co-occurring disorder individually and simultaneously for a complete recovery.
Palm Healthcare Company understands that if someone only addresses one disorder without the other then they are more likely to have difficulty maintaining their recovery. These conditions tend to feed off of one another, and one going untreated can cause a relapse in the other.
Address underlying issues related to addiction
Palm Healthcare Company also cares a great deal about understanding substance use disorder; where it comes from and how it influences the lives of those who suffer. Therefore, we believe in exploring each individuals experience to help them find out what underlying issues are connected to their drug or alcohol use.
Addiction is such a complex disorder. There is no one way that someone ends up addicted. While there is a genetic predisposition, there are numerous other factors that contribute to the development of substance use disorder. Because things like trauma and family dynamics play a big part in the development of addiction, an effective treatment program should also examine and address these issues if the patient is going to experience lasting recovery.
Involve the entire family, including children
The Palm Healthcare Family Program is committed not just to offering brief visits with loved ones. Our Family Program is designed to:
- Give the family essential educational information
- Establish deeper connections between loved ones through recovery
- Teach about emotional well-being and healthy boundaries
- Offer life-changing breakthrough experiences
- Create a strong support system
The Palm Healthcare Family Program is a FREE service offered by our facilities because we believe that family involvement is incredibly important for lasting and worthwhile transformation.
Explore performance at work
Clients who are professionals are often very focused on how their substance use affects their career. Along with life skills and behavioral therapy, there is an important element of understanding how addiction impacts your professional life. Everyone from CEOs and executives to labor workers in every industry needs to be aware of how addiction affects the workplace.
Of course, EA professionals are more likely to recommend a treatment program that pays attention to addictions impact on the workplace. So teaching clients how to safely and effectively transition from treatment back to work is an important element of these programs.
Examine legal and financial issues resulting from addiction
Our facilities also take pride in providing teams of skilled individual case-workers who consistently work on behalf of each individual to maintain their personal interests regarding legal issues or other concerns they may have. It is important that an addiction treatment provider has experienced staff members who understand the difficulties that can arise from substance use and know how to best support each individual with these concerns.
Working with the Workforce
All Palm Healthcare Company facilities provide the more holistic and effective approach through this criterion of additional services. We know that addiction is an illness that impacts every walk of life. It also impacts any career position in every industry. We work every day to provide safe, effective and personal recovery plans to every individual we come into contact with.
Another part of providing recovery options to professionals can be to allow EA professionals to get involved in the aftercare process. An EA professional can inquire about policies relating to communication with the source of the referral. If the appropriate consent is given, the EA professional themselves can even become an important part of the recovery team for helping create a discharge and aftercare plan.
Looking at these very important suggestions coming from the Journal of Employee Assistance we are confident in our dedication to providing revolutionary and holistic care above and beyond the addiction treatment outline for EAP professionals. Palm Healthcare Company wants to support you and your clients to create a happier and healthier future. Please call toll-free now for more information.
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At a time like this in America, no one should be naive to the reality of addiction and the devastation it brings. The opioid epidemic impacts people in every city in every state; whether it is through prescription painkiller abuse or heroin and potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl on the illicit market. Meanwhile, methamphetamine use has also continued to grow steadily in the background. Other prescription narcotics have become more and more prevalent with misuse, and alcohol remains a legal drug both frequently abused and deadly. Something equally as important as acknowledging addiction is being aware of the options in addiction treatment.
One thing we have to continue to promote is that people seek help, regardless of who they are, where they’re from or what they think they can afford. Expenses can be an important factor for each individual when trying to find treatment; therefore it is important to remember there are always options available regardless of financial status. At the end of the day, everyone deserves a chance at making it through their adversity.
While the options may be different, they are still out there.
State Funding Rehab Facilities
For those who are extremely limited in their resources the most attainable option may be to pursue a state-funded program. State-funded rehab facilities are cost-free, which is the greatest advantage to seeking help through these programs.
Most states have some form of government-funded addiction treatment. Sadly, some people still see a stigma attached to public assistance programs and they allow it to keep them from getting help. However, for the individual who has little to no income, or with inadequate to no insurance coverage, these organizations provide detox, treatment and support services. State-funded rehabs are often included in other state services such as:
- Child social services
- Criminal justice and prison provisions
The funding for treatment may be included as part of these other initiatives.
Some states will offer a variety of therapy options with state-funded programs. Others might not have as many due to limited funding. Some state facilities will not necessarily have access to the same technologies and treatments as private treatment providers.
Private addiction treatment programs often have unique services depending on their approach and treatment model. However, some people still find that state-funded programs are effective in helping them get their start.
Medicaid for Addiction Treatment
One thing that can be a real help to those who are unable to afford a higher level of insurance coverage is access to state-funded health insurance programs.
Medicaid coverage for no insurance rehab is a useful option. Medicaid and Medicare may actually cover both detox and inpatient addiction treatment. Some may even cover outpatient care depending on each programs requirement for eligibility through the state. Through Medicaid or Medicare, an individual who has very limited resources may receive free or low-cost addiction treatment.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or what some call “Obamacare” insurance providers are required to cover all basic aspects of drug and alcohol dependency recovery. Medicaid covers:
Maintenance and craving medications
Long-term residential treatment
Other mental health services
In most states, Medicaid recipients don’t even have to worry about a copay for addiction treatment services.
Medicare for Addiction Treatment
Medicare is available for anyone:
- Over 65 years old
- With a disability
Medicare does have a monthly premium, but that amount is also based on the individual’s income. So if you make less money you pay less for your coverage.
Inpatient and outpatient treatment can be covered by Medicare. This coverage is provided in a four-part system:
Medicare Part A
Insurance for hospital stays covers up to 60 days without copay with no deductible. But Medicare only covers up to 190 days for a lifetime.
Medicare Part B
This can cover outpatient addiction care at up top 80% of the costs. This includes coverage for therapy, professional interventions, and drugs administered via clinics. This also covers co-occurring disorders like depression.
Medicare Part C
This is Medicare-approved private insurance for those who want to opt for more benefits. It does include more out-of-pocket costs and coverage can vary.
Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D coverage will help cover the cost of addiction medications. Specifically, this form of Medicare helps with medications used to combat cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Someone who is eligible for Medicaid and Medicare can actually apply both forms of coverage to their addiction treatment. If you believe that you qualify for these insurance opportunities you can contact a caseworker for assistance with an application.
Once you have obtained coverage for any of these programs, you can research online to find facilities that accept these forms of insurance.
Keep in mind, not all facilities accept Medicaid or Medicare.
Individual Health Insurance
When examining the options for addiction treatment people who have health insurance, whether privately or through their employment, should research the coverage available through their insurance provider.
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act of 2008 mandates that health insurance companies to balance the alcohol and drug treatment for group plans to the stipulation for standard medical rehab.
Because substance abuse and addiction are recognized as medical conditions, insurance companies have a responsibility for covering the cost of addiction treatment. Substance use disorders are better understood today for their effects both psychiatrically and physically, so major insurance providers make a point these days to offer terms for partial or complete coverage of options for addiction treatment. Many times this coverage will allow for access to quality holistic treatment programs.
Too many people don’t know the extent of which their own insurance covers them. Find out what services are covered by your policy when seeking out care for substance abuse. As far as employers go, your right to addiction treatment is protected by FMLA, while the details of these protections and provisions may differ depending on the state or the individual companies policies.
Private Pay Options in Addiction Treatment
Of course, health insurance is not required to obtain addiction treatment services. Not everyone has insurance, or their insurance might not provide the coverage they need. There are also facilities that cater to a private pay demographic.
All across the country, there are addiction treatment facilities that offer different levels of high-quality and luxury treatment options for those who would prefer to pay cash for services. Many patients who chose to private pay do so for a variety of reasons, and they often find that they require a combination of treatment methods, including:
Intensive one-on-one counseling
Private recovery coaching
Of course, different programs have their unique advantages and disadvantages. However, those who chose to private pay for addiction treatment often do so because they are looking for a very specific approach with a very specific criterion that caters to their own needs.
Executive Treatment Programs
Executive treatment programs are another one of the options in addiction treatment. These facilities cater to clients that wish to pay more for a more private environment with more luxuries. Executive programs are more expensive and are more commonly utilized by CEOs, high-paid professionals, and celebrities.
Many programs that offer executive options for addiction treatment allow for those receiving care to continue working with their businesses or clients while attending individual therapy, support groups, and holistic treatments.
Help is Out There
Addiction is everywhere. Sadly, there are not as many resources as many recovery advocates believe there should be. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to find help with addiction and recovery.
But help is out there.
There are accredited holistic treatment programs that maintain their integrity by providing quality care to their clients. These facilities provide high-level services in a safe and comfortable environment while staying at the edge of innovations in treatment. While not all of these companies advertise their contributions, many even provide scholarship opportunities for those who cannot afford treatment to have access to their programs.
Meanwhile, we should all look to our politicians and public health officials to create even more options for addiction treatment. Until more support and funding is available for expansion of options for addiction treatment, the resources we have now do everything they can to make a difference.
Palm Healthcare Company has made a commitment to provide effective, innovative and holistic addiction treatment options to those still suffering with substance use disorder. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
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(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
With the nation in the midst of an opioid epidemic, it is more important than ever to understand that substance use disorder is rampant partially because it is extremely difficult for more people to overcome. Out of the estimated 22.7 million Americans who desperately need addiction treatment, only around 2.5 million of them actually received treatment in a facility. But this is largely because a lot of people are afraid to ask for help.
One of the primary reasons so many people don’t seek the help they need is because they fear how it may reflect on them in their professional life.
Fortunately, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) provides some assistance and protections to people who need help with addiction treatment.
So how does FMLA cover addiction treatment, and how do you get the help you need?
The Family and Medical Leave Act
On February 5, 1993 then President Bill Clinton signed the bill establishing the Family and Medical Leave Act as a United States federal law. FMLA requires covered employers to provide their employees with job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. The situations that fall under this coverage include:
- Personal or family illness
- Family military leave
- Foster care placement of a child
FMLA is administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor. This act allows eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to attend to any of the qualifying circumstances. In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must:
- Have been at the business at least 12 months
- Work at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months
- Work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles
Four states have passed laws requiring paid family and medical leave:
- 2002- California
- 2008- New Jersey
- 2013- Rhode Island
- 2016- New York in 2016
Washington State approved paid family and medical leave in 2007, but the law has not taken effect due to a lack of funding.
In any case it is important to remember that every state has different provisions regarding FMLA. Be sure to try and reach out to your Human Resources department and a legal professional to find out what options are available in your state.
Does FMLA Cover Addiction Treatment?
If you are seeking help for substance use treatment, it is covered under FMLA. With FMLA, after returning to work from addiction treatment you must be restored to your original job or an equivalent position. In other words, financial punishment from your employer is prohibited. Therefore, the individual will receive no loss of pay or benefits and terms of the previous position will be honored. Even if you are entitled to a bonus before FMLA leave, the bonus will still apply.
ATTENTION: FMLA Does NOT Protect Everything
For one, an employee can still be terminated regardless of whether he or she is presently taking FMLA leave depending on if your employer has an established policy that:
- Is applied in a non-discriminatory manner
- Has been communicated to all employees
- Provides under certain circumstances an employee may be terminated for substance abuse
So be sure to evaluate your employers drug and alcohol policy carefully before asking for FMLA leave.
What If You’re Still Worried?
The truth is, with HIPPA laws, you can keep the reason WHY you are filing for FMLA leave private. When you apply for FMLA with your employer, you’re only need to tell them you are ill and unable to meet the conditions of your job at this time. You can say that you need to get medical treatment for your condition. That is all.
Legally, an employer cannot force you to provide any more information than you are comfortable with, although they may require a doctor’s certification that you need medical treatment. You can have FMLA cover addiction treatment as long as it is provided by a health care provider, or they can refer you to a specialized treatment provider of health care services.
In order to be protected by FMLA you must provide your employer with prior notice, or else you may still face termination.
Be aware, this does not mean that if you are using the substance and chose to take time off because of its adverse side effects, this is not covered by FMLA. In other words, absence for addiction and not for treatment does not qualify for FMLA leave.
FMLA Does NOT Cover Active Addiction
This is an important aspect to remember about the FMLA laws. While you are provided some protection in order to take leave for treatment, it does not protect you from the consequences of active addiction.
Termination due to inappropriate behavior on the job site is not protected. Neither is absenteeism due to active addiction. FMLA does not allow you to take time off because you are too drunk or too sick from withdrawals while waiting to go to treatment.
For example: If you seek help for alcohol addiction and file for FMLA leave for addiction treatment, but you miss work for a few days before leave because of heavy drinking, those few days are not protected because they don’t count as part of the FMLA leave. So be careful not to get too far ahead of yourself if you are planning on utilizing FMLA to get the much needed help.
Why It Matters
So why does FMLA cover addiction treatment at all?
One of the main reasons that substance use disorder is protected by the government is because the National Institute on Drug Abuse states:
“Drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to. Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatment that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives.”
Addiction is classified as a disease and qualifies as a serious health condition that needs healthcare treatment. This shows that the government acknowledges the difficulties faced by individuals who become addicted to drugs, and the importance of supporting them in getting better by offering some protection for their careers and financial futures.
It is important that employers honor FMLA because it allows for a healthier and more effective workplace, while also giving someone who has already become part of the business to better themselves. This all matters because you never know when a member of your staff could need support for a drug and/or alcohol problem. It isn’t always the slacker. A lot of times it is the employee of the month.
It matters because even for the deal makers, the self-starters and the top performers, sometimes we all need help.
Recovering from substance use disorder can be a lot work on its own. To have FMLA cover addiction treatment and to know that you can work on bettering yourself and get back to making a living secure in a career can make all the difference. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398
Holistic methods of drug and alcohol addiction treatment are so effective because they are designed to heal all the unique aspects of an individual’s life. This style of comprehensive care delivers empowering and personalized recovery strategies to help each person find their way to a lasting transformation. Holistic addiction treatment doesn’t just save a life; it helps people to discover a new quality of life in recovery.
Part of creating a customized plan of recovery means making a complete appraisal of the individual’s needs and how best to serve them in a healthy and productive environment. Part of the initial assessment includes what some refer to as the Addiction Severity Index (ASI).
Every program may not use the term Addiction Severity Index directly. However, an intake assessment is always a critical step toward a comprehensive treatment. So what is the ASI and why does it matter?
What is the Addiction Severity Index?
The ASI is a semi-structured interview with an individual seeking care for issues with substance abuse. The interview is designed to address seven potential problem areas relevant to substance use disorder in potential patients, including:
Employment and support
The input given by the individual is important because it helps providers determine the best way to engage in safe and effective treatment. All information gathered for the Addiction Severity Index is treated as confidential.
In each of the 7 areas, the individual will be asked to answer questions based on a 1-to-5 scale system. The individual will be asked how bothered they are by problems pertaining to each area. They will then be asked how important treatment is for them in those areas. The scale is:
1- Not at all
Of course each individual has the right to refuse to answer any question, especially if a topic is:
Considered too personal
Uncomfortable to the patient
If this is the case the individual should be instructed not to answer. While the individual should be made aware of the benefits of answering as many questions as they can in order to prepare a more comprehensive treatment plan, they should also be allowed to avoid unnecessary distress.
Ultimately, the Addiction Severity Index is typically used as a standard assessment tool for evaluating substance use disorder and determining treatment options. Having a higher score on the ASI can be an indication of a greater need for treatment in the listed areas.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the Addiction Severity Index, Lite version, also known as ASI-Lite, is a shortened version of the ASI. In other words:
- A typical ASI gauges problems within the previous 30 days and calculates a lifetime worth of information about problem behaviors.
- ASI-Lite contains 22 fewer questions than the ASI, and omits items relating to severity evaluations, and a family history grid.
The abridged version of the Addiction Severity Index is not an extremely uncommon method. It simply utilizes a portion of the data to outline treatment options.
Why Does it Matter?
While not everyone may be familiar with the term Addiction Severity Index, it is easy to guess as to why its important. When dealing with such a complex and intimate issue as substance use disorder the more information you have to build a foundation the better. This offers more potential to address every part of the problem. With a holistic addiction treatment program there is typically an intake process that helps clinicians and medical staff best understand the individual’s needs.
If the individual has struggled with legal, professional and/or financial issues, their recovery plan can be more focused toward how to overcome these adversities.
If they are dealing with a medical issue while trying to repair damage done to their personal and familial relationships they can build their plan around coping with these obstacles.
A complete picture like the Addiction Severity Index can be crucial when addressing dual diagnosis patients. In order to effectively address someone who may be struggling with a mental health disorder, such as clinical depression, while also dealing with addiction both co-occurring disorders must be simultaneously treated. If someone ignores one to focus on the other it frequently instigates a relapse of the untreated issue.
The point of evaluating the Addiction Severity Index and using holistic addiction treatment is to heal all parts of the person’s life; not just the addiction.
Palm Healthcare Company is proud to have some of the most trusted holistic drug and alcohol treatment programs in South Florida. Our innovative and personalized approach helps create lasting healing and comprehensive transformation. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398