The End of an Era: New California Bills Put an End to the Wild West of Addiction Treatment

The End of an Era: New California Bills Put an End to the Wild Wild West of Treatment

It’s 2020 and many things are changing for addiction treatment programs around the country. 

Thanks to activists, representatives and the voices of those in the industry, many laws have passed in various states that not only affect how a program can operate but there are bills in the works that can affect how a treatment center can ethically and legally market online. 

Ground Zero for Patient Brokers

When the opioid epidemic began to hit middle America, thousands of those addicted flocked to various sources to find help for their substance abuse problem. Two states, Florida and California, became ground zero for a new type of fraud, “patient brokering”. 

During this time “patient brokering” began as a means to fill specific facilities by bribing the potential clients with money, gifts, and free rent. While there are those who wound up at decent treatment programs, many were put into a hamster wheel that consisted of stays in treatment, time in recovery, a push to relapse, allowed usage and back to treatment again. 

From shady sober living homes that allow clients to use as long as their rent is paid to treatment centers that release clients because they need the beds for people with better insurance, the addiction treatment industry has seen its fair share of scandals over the last few years. 

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A Call to Action

While California has had various regulations over the years and created the first system for certified recovery residences, Florida was the first state to take action legally against the injustices going on in the industry. 

Palm Beach County in Florida passed the first patient brokering laws in the state with many counties following suit after the success of the Sober Home Task Force in curbing patient brokering, insurance fraud and other acts that are criminally harmful to those seeking treatment for substance abuse. 

Taking a note from Florida, California passed a slew of bills at the end of 2019 that define many of the gray areas and solidify what is and isn’t okay in the addiction treatment industry. 

Breaking Down the Laws: What California Drug Rehabs Need to Know

For California specifically, the laws that have passed affect numerous areas from sober living homes, to outpatient programs and more. Let’s breakdown California Bill AB-919 and the major parts of the bill that you need to know.

Patient Brokering

The first part of the bill takes aim at the payment or receipt of payment for the referral of a patient to a specific treatment program. The act of patient brokering has become one of the leading issues representatives and advocates alike have worked to put an end too. 

“When you pay people to go to your program you are removing the power of choice that consumers are promised in the US.,” says one recovery advocate.

As of January 1, 2020, California Bill AB-919 became effective, and part of the bill created an oversight department where programs can be held accountable for their actions. With active investigations on-going around the country, we can expect more and more programs to turn to digital marketing and SEO as an ethical solution to acquiring new clients.

Separating Labs, Treatment & Sober Living

The next part of the bills focuses on a few key areas within the treatment industry: outpatient & sober living, labs, and transportation. 

In reference to outpatient programs, the state is now requiring DHCS licensing, where it was not previously required for an outpatient program to be licensed by the state. The second item relating to sober living homes has to do with separating housing costs from outpatient costs and laboratory fees.

(a) A laboratory or certified outpatient treatment program that leases, manages, or owns housing units that are offered to individuals who concurrently utilize laboratory or outpatient services shall maintain separate contracts for the housing. The contract shall clearly state that payment for housing is the responsibility of the individual and does not depend on insurance benefits. The contract shall include a repayment plan for any subsidized rent, and the laboratory or certified outpatient treatment program shall make a good faith effort to collect the debt. The offer for housing shall not depend on the individual’s agreement to receive services from either the laboratory or the certified outpatient treatment program.

When a client enters an outpatient program that offers housing, the cost of housing must be clearly defined and written out, with neither service being contingent on the other. This includes using laboratory services, where a program or housing program must make every attempt to collect the debt of the client for those services. 

In this same area, the text covers transportation costs and assisting clients in traveling to the program, depending on their mileage. If a person seeking recovery is within 125 miles, a program can cover the cost of ground transportation to their facility. If a potential client is in need of air transportation, the program can cover the cost of airfare as long as a return ticket is included. The client then has up to one year from discharge to request the unused return flight. 

More Changes to Come

With numerous bills signed and awaiting signatures from governors around the country, we can only expect to see more changes to the addiction treatment industry as 2020 progresses. 

California has specific bills aimed at digital marketing that can affect how all programs advertise moving forward. California Bill SB-589 is awaiting Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk, which would require treatment programs to accurately portray their program on the internet and ban the use of competitor program names as keywords in paid advertising. These are just a few of the changes in a number of bills in California that will affect your program, especially if you have no organic SEO presence. 

MGMT Digital has over 10+ years of experience marketing addiction treatment centers online, and SEO is our bread and butter. Find out where your program ranks and how digital marketing can help provide your program with an ethical solution to new client acquisition.

Mental Health in Today’s Society

Mental Health in Today's Society

What comes to mind when you think about mental health? Do you have positive thoughts or negative thoughts? Do you think about yourself or others? Are you well informed? Do certain disorders pop into your head? There are dominant mental illnesses that have detrimental effects in people’s lives across the world. A healthy mental state is one of the most important things you can have. Mental health affects how you feel, think, and act.

In such a fast paced society and a world that’s ever-changing, it’s often easy to overlook, to remain oblivious, and to lack understanding. We focus on the external rather than the internal. We as a society stigmatize and judge… but why? We shouldn’t. In fact, in the US, approximately 1 in 5 adults experiences mental illness in a given year.

Raising Awareness

Recently, a special light and awareness has been brought to mental health because of the numerous celebrity suicides that have taken place. I’ve seen an influx of statuses updated, articles written, and images posted. Death always brings up strong emotions and I’ve noticed a deep sadness in people all over the world. On top of sadness, I see shock. I see people not really understanding why, which is totally understandable. I’m not sure if we’ll ever be able to figure out the real reasons behind it all. I do know that mental illnesses and disorders exist and they need to be talked about.

We all know how touchy of a subject this can be, and that’s for good reason. When I first sat down to write this article, I immediately knew the importance of sticking to facts and doing my best to stray away from opinion. Scrolling through social media, it seems like everyone in today’s society thinks they are a licensed therapist or psychologist and opinions are running rampant. I’m not so sure they should be.

The main point of this article is to simply do my part in spreading awareness. In the news, various media outlets and in my personal life, I see mental illnesses affecting so many people around me and I felt the need to speak up. In this article, I’ve decided to solely focus on major mental illnesses and disorders that most of us are familiar with, or at least we think we are. It raises the question, “do we really know much about mental health”? Doing the research, I’ve learned a lot.

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Which Mental Illnesses Affect Americans the Most?

Depression is one of the most common and widely known mental disorders. Major depressive disorder affects approximately 6.7 percent of the US population age 18 and older, in a given year. Yes, depression is a disorder and it is one that can cripple the quality of one’s life in a concerning way. It can make a person fall out of love with the things they were once most interested in. Affecting the way we think, feel, and act in any given situation, depression can cause someone to have a sense of hopelessness.

When we first think of depression, we think of overwhelming sadness, but it’s important to know that depression can disguise itself. Some of the common symptoms caused by depression can be:

  • Trouble getting out of bed
  • Disrupted eating patterns
  • Disrupted sleeping patterns
  • Oversleeping
  • Thoughts of suicide or death   

Anxiety is another illness with an umbrella of disorders under it that affect the majority of the population. It is one of the most common disorders, affecting adults more than any other mental illness. In fact, it affects 40 million adults 18 years and older every year in the US. This disorder causes fear, worry, and stress.

Yes, we all have these feelings from time to time, however with anxiety, this is a heightened and persistent state of the mind. It can truly affect the productiveness in someone’s life by hindering all capabilities of being able to function ‘normally’. It disallows people to go somewhere or to be involved with something due to the fact they have an over-rationalized fear of things going terribly wrong. Some different forms of anxiety can be presented as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), social anxiety, and panic attacks.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is another very common disorder that affects approximately 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older every year. It causes one to have constant changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. This is a serious mental brain illness. It can cause a person to act without rash decision making due to their extreme manic state or extreme depressive state.

A manic state can be noticed by someone acting more energetic than usual. Someone in a manic state can show signs of extreme happiness with an increased state of activity levels. A manic state can be followed by a depressive state- this usually consists of someone feeling very down, depressed, or empty. Someone in a depressive state has a lot less energy and seems like they don’t enjoy anything.

What Can We Do About It?

Although only three mental disorders were mentioned in this article, there are so many more. These facts bring to light that there are so many people affected by mental illnesses on a daily basis. If you are someone struggling, it’s important to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If you know someone struggling with mental illness, reach out. If you are someone that doesn’t really understand mental illness, learn; you never know who you can positively impact just by educating yourself. We never really know what’s going on in someone else’s life.

The good news is that mental disorders can be treated. I want to stress the importance of seeking professional help and not getting caught up in opinions or false information. Perception is key; don’t be fooled by social media and people pretending they have it all together. A little trust in the right hands can go a long way.

Reminder: If you haven’t already, tell someone you love them.

Much Love,

The Future of Addiction Marketing

addiction treatment marketing

The Future of Addiction Treatment Marketing.

When it comes to marketing, all signs point to a digital future for most businesses. Whether it is replacing TV commercials with YouTube Ads, or mailers with email campaigns, most businesses rely on digital marketing now more than ever before. So what does that mean for the addiction treatment digital marketing industry?

Addiction Treatment Marketing Overview

In the past most facilities utilized outreach coordinators and marketing contracts to help keep their census full. Thanks to the unethical marketing practice called “patient brokering”, more facilities need to rely on digital marketing as the new standard practice.

The addiction treatment industry needs an ethical solution to these issues. Addicts and their loved ones should be able to easily find the right treatment center, without being taken advantage of.

MGMT’s Approach to Drug Rehab Marketing

So how does MGMT handle addiction marketing differently than the hundreds of internet marketing agencies out there?

First off, we understand the industry. MGMT is made up of a team who has experienced treatment, worked at facilities, and done overall marketing for rehabs for a combined 14+ years. We understand the in’s and out’s of addiction treatment which allows our team to help you effectively market and manage your facility’s core business needs so your focus is treating clients.

We created this marketing group and management team that’s with you every step of the way, which allows you to focus on your core business.

Understanding the needs of a rehab facility can be underestimated by typical digital marketing companies, but not MGMT. We are a boutique digital marketing agency that understands that it is about the connection between how people find you, how you handle the calls for business, and the quality of services provided to clients. Because of this MGMT can create unique marketing packages that tackle each area in running and marketing a drug treatment center.

Addiction Center Marketing Done Right

We know how time consuming owning and running a treatment center can be. Not all facilities have the capabilities to hire a full in house marketing team, which is were our unique approach to addiction marketing can help. If you are having issues with your call center we can help train your staff and audit your processes so that every call is being answered in the best way possible to help your potential clients get the help they need.

There is an urgency to the work we do and we are aware of it. As a company of recovering addicts we know things have gotten worse in the past year and the more we can help market your facility, the more we help others suffering from addiction. We help get them the help they need by putting your facility in the right place at the right time.

The future of addiction marketing is moving towards a society that uses social media and search engine to meet their demand for treatment and to aid in their continued recovery. The digital world is becoming the most relied upon way to get help for a drug problem.

Stay connected and check back next week for more from the team at MGMT. Check us out at

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