When Do Chemical Dependency Programs Need to be Licensed?

Mar. 02, 2018

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) requires certain services providers to be licensed, including childcare providers, adult carecenters, chemical dependency treatment programs, and mental health clinics. DHS is also in charge of making sure these licensed providers comply with Minnesota rules and laws.

 

There are two main types of chemical dependency treatment programs: substance abuse treatment programs and detoxification programs. Substance abuse treatment programs provide treatment for substance abusers, including outpatient or residential treatments, opioid abuse treatment, treatment for parents with their children, and treatment for people with both substance abuse and mental health problems. Substance abuse treatment programs must follow the standards set by Chapter 245G (“Chemical Dependency Licensed Treatment Facilities”) of the Minnesota Statues.

 

Detoxification programs help drug abusers detox by providing short-term care on a 24-hour basis. These programs also assess the needs of individual clients to connect them with substance abuse treatment programs if necessary. Detoxification programs that are not operated by or in hospitals must follow requirements set by “Rule 32” of the Minnesota Administrative Rules.

 

DHS is responsible for monitoring licensed chemical dependency centers and programs, making sure each complies with its respective requirements. Chemical dependency programs applying for a license must pay a nonrefundable $500 application fee. The person applying for a license–and all others who control the program–must clear a background study. A background study is similar to a background check, as DHS will review an applicant’s criminal history information.

 

Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

 

Minnesotan substance abuse treatment programs must meet certain requirements in order to receive a license. When applying for a license, a program must submit a description of all health care services (nursing services, dietary services, and emergency physician services) and processes for maintaining client and staff records. To be licensed, substance abuse treatment programs must have written policies regarding:

 

  • Treatment planning and a process for documentation, including comprehensive assessments and assessment summary, progress notes and treatment plan reviews.

     

  • Required treatment services, including policies around individual and group counseling; client education strategies; transition assistance to help clients integrate treatment progress into their daily lives; services to address mental illness occurring during treatment; and processes to help clients enter the program and support their ability to live independent of chemical substances.

 

  • Medication services, including processes to control drugs, administer medications, and assist clients with self-medicating.

 

In addition to the policies around required services, substance abuse treatment programs may provide other treatment services. These services might include:

 

  • Relationship counseling. Professional counseling may help a client recognize how her substance abuse effects others. Relationship counseling can also help others to recognize–and ideally change–their own behaviors that may be impacting the client’s substance use.

     

  • Life skills programs. These services help clients learn how to live independently by developing basic life skills.

 

  • Education and employment services. Programs for education and employment can help clients in substance abuse treatment become financially independent.

 

  • Therapeutic recreation. Recreational opportunities can be important avenues for clients to learn how to choose and participate in leisurely activities without using chemical substances.

     

Staff members at substance abuse treatment programs must have certain qualifications. Mandatory staff members include a treatment director, an alcohol and drug counselor supervisor, an alcohol and drug counselor, a registered nurse and consulting staff members. All individuals that directly interact with clients must clear a background study.

 

·         Treatment Director Qualifications: 18 years or older; two years free from substance use problems; one year of experience working with individuals with substance use problems OR one year of experience working as a manager or administrator of a treatment program; and has a baccalaureate degree OR three years working in human services administration or personnel supervisor.

 

·         Alcohol and Drug Counselor Supervisor Qualifications: 18 years or older; two years free from substance use problems; must be qualified to be an alcohol and drug counselor (see below); and has provided individual and group counseling to substance abusers for at least three years.

 

·         Alcohol and Drug Counselor Qualifications: 18 years or older; two years free from substance use problems; must have a professional license (some exemptions).

 

·         Registered Nurse Qualifications: 18 years or older; two years free from substance use problems; and licensed as a registered nurse.

 

·         Consulting Staff Qualifications: Licensed mental health professional available to the program for the purpose of diagnostic assessments and treatment planning assistance.

 

If a program provides substance abuse treatment services to persons with mental health disorders, clients with their children, juveniles, or intravenous drug abusers, staff members must additional qualifications.

 

Detoxification Programs

 

Minnesotan detoxification programs must meet certain requirements in order to receive a license. When applying for a license, a program must have certain plans, policies, and services in place. All of these policies and procedures must be a written in a manual that is accessible by staff members. The program must also have a process for maintaining client and staff records. To be licensed, detoxification programs must offer the following services:

 

·         Substance Use Screenings. The program must screen every admitted person to determine if the he or she has a substance abuse disorder.

 

  • Substance Use Assessments. If substance use screening determines a person is suffering from a substance abuse disorder, the detoxification program must either provide or arrange for a substance use assessment.  This assessment needs to document the whether of an involuntary referral is appropriate. Involuntary referrals are done through the civil commitment process.

     

  • Referrals. If the substance use assessment indicates, the program must provide the person with referrals to appropriate substance abuse services.

     

  • Client Education. The detoxification program must offer education to people who need assistance for a substance use disorder, for tuberculosis, and for HIV (required by Minnesota law).  The program must provide specific information about the impact of substance use on a pregnant woman’s unborn child.

 

  • Medication Services. Detoxification programs must have policies and procedures in place to control drugs, administer medications, and assist clients with self-medicating.

 

  • Health Services. The program must have written procedures for all health care services that it offers and must use a standardized tool for collecting data about each client’s health. The program must have a procedure for assessing and monitoring client health, including a follow-up screening if the client was intoxicated when he or she first received services. This follow-up screening must be conducted 4-12 hours after the initial service began and is intended to collect health information that the client might not have been able to clearly communicate earlier because of his or her intoxication. The detoxification program must also have written procedures for when a patient’s symptoms or physical signs require consultation with a registered nurse or physician. These procedures should clearly identify these symptoms and signs. Finally, detoxification programs must have procedures defining the steps that should be taken when certain complicating conditions are present, such as pregnancy or symptoms or other medical conditions.

 

Staff members at detoxification programs must have certain qualifications. Mandatory staff members include a program director, a registered nurse, a medical director, a substance abuse assessor, and one or more technicians (based on a 1 to 10 staffing ratio). All individuals that directly interact with clients must clear a background study.

 

·         Program Director Qualifications: 18 years or older; two years free from substance use problems; must be full-time; one year of experience working with individuals with substance use problems OR one year of experience working as a manager or administrator of a treatment program; and has a baccalaureate degree OR three years working in human services administration or personnel supervisor.

 

·         Registered Nurse Qualifications: 18 years or older; two years free from substance use problems; and licensed as a registered nurse.

 

·         Medical Director Qualifications: must be available to supervise all health-related services and procedures, ensuring they are accurately and safely provided; and must approve the health care-related policies at least once a year.

 

·         Technician Qualifications: 18 years or older; six months free from substance use problems; must have knowledge of the client bill of rights; and the ability to perform basic health screenings of intoxicated clients.


Written By:
John Saunders

John Saunders is an experienced real estate and business attorney. He focuses his practice on advising business owners and licensed professionals with succession planning and transitions as well as their general corporate matters.


Emilee Walters is a second year law student at St. Thomas School of Law. Emilee is an Avisen Fellow exploring a legal career in business law.

E-mail John

Offices:
901 Marquette Ave S.
Suite 1675
Minneapolis, MN 55302

Call Us:

(612) 584-3400