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Ohio Recovery Housing Overhaul: New Standards and Certification Requirements Reshape Sober Living Spaces

Client Alert

For years, the State of Ohio lacked uniformity over the operation of “recovery houses” — sometimes referred to as “sober living” spaces, “halfway houses,” and so on. Ohio law broadly defines these as residences “for individuals recovering from alcohol use disorder or drug addiction that provide an alcohol-free and drug-free living environment, peer support, assistance with obtaining alcohol and drug addiction services, and other recovery assistance for alcohol use disorder and drug addiction.” See R.C. 5199.01(A)(17). 

Operators could, for example, voluntarily obtain certification through the Ohio-certifying body or, alternatively, elect to run their recovery residence(s) with no oversight and/or certification — in turn, creating a statewide system of residential recovery spaces that provided inconsistent functions and standards. That system, however, is in the midst of a complete overhaul. 

Now, “recovery houses” (and all other similarly named residential recovery spaces) have statutory standards to satisfy pre-operation — a process which is a considerable undertaking. 

One new measure requires all existing recovery housing residences, as well as those intending to operate in the future, to register with the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (OHMHAS). Under Ohio law, existing operators were required to register on or before October 3, 2023; however, the form remains open for late filings and updates as necessary. Newly established recovery housing residences have a grace period of thirty (30) days from the start of their operation (i.e., the date on which the first resident occupies the residence) to complete the OHMHAS registration form. 

In addition to the OHMHAS registration requirement, effective January 1, 2025, the State of Ohio will begin enforcing new requirements which bar individuals and/or entities from operating, advertising, or even representing any residence as a “recovery housing residence, sober living home, or any other alcohol and drug free housing for persons recovering from alcohol use disorder” or substance use disorder without taking the appropriate certification steps through, without limitation, Ohio Recovery Housing or Oxford House, Inc. See R.C. 5119.39.

Certification is a substantial process — requiring, among other things, policies and procedures governing residents’ rights and responsibilities; a resident agreement and legally compliant leasing arrangement; and completion of, and compliance with, a checklist of pre-operation deliverables. 

The range of requirements as applied to the individual circumstances of each recovery housing operator can make identifying priorities and achieving compliance incredibly complex. For more information or for assistance navigating and completing the recovery housing registration and/or certification processes, please contact Monica Andress at (330) 253-9153 or mbandress@bmdllc.com.


LGBTQIA+ Patients and Discrimination in Healthcare

In early April, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a study outlining the challenges that LGBT adults face in the United States related to healthcare. According to the study, LGBT patients are “twice as likely as non-LGBT adults to report negative experiences while receiving health care in the last three years, including being treated unfairly or with disrespect (33% v. 15%) or having at least one of several other negative experiences with a provider (61% v. 31%), including a provider assuming something about them without asking, suggesting they were personally to blame for a health problem, ignoring a direct request or question, or refusing to prescribe needed pain medication.”

Ensuring Fair Access: SB 269 Protects Affordable Medication for Low-Income Patients

SB 269, introduced on December 19, 2023, will ensure that 340B covered entities, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, Ryan White Clinics, disproportionate share hospitals, and Title X clinics, can acquire 340B drugs without facing undue restrictions or discriminatory practices from drug manufacturers and distributors. This protection is crucial for 340B covered entities to continue to provide affordable medications and comprehensive services to low-income patients.

Unveiling Ohio's Pharmacy Board Updates for Distributors, Mobile Clinics, and Controlled Substances

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy will hold a public hearing on May 28, 2024, to discuss several proposed changes and additions to Ohio Administrative Code (OAC). These changes pertain to terminal distributors of dangerous drugs (TDDDs), mobile clinics or medication units, and the classification of controlled substances.

House Bill 249: Key Updates to Involuntary Hospitalization Law for Mental Health Providers

House Bill 249 (HB 249) proposes changes to Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Sections 5122.01 and 5122.10 to expand the conditions under which a person with a mental illness can be involuntarily hospitalized.

Starting an Advanced Practice Provider Practice

Advanced practice providers (APPs), which includes non-physician providers such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurse anesthetists, commonly start their own healthcare practices. Practices may provide, for example, service offerings such as primary care, anesthesiology, mental health, and aesthetics (medical spas). However, there are a number of considerations and steps that must be taken for APPs to compliantly function independently.