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Addiction Treatment Consultants – Paying for Experience Saves Time      

Posted on Jan 29, 2021 by Jim Peake

Top 5 Steps in Opening an Addiction Treatment Center and Why is Pays to Hire and Experienced Addiction Treatment Consultants

  • Zoning for Addiction Treatment – There will be pushback from the community
  • Licensing for Addiction Treatment – Different states have different requirements
  • Branding and Marketing for Addiction Treatment – Often overlooked and not included in the operating budget
  • Certifications for Addiction Treatment – Being certified can sometimes be a criterion for insurance reimbursement
  • Insurance Reimbursements & Billing – Going in-network or out of network matters, billing matters too

If you are planning to open an addiction treatment center you might want to consider hiring one or more addiction treatment consultants.  The 5 different steps sometimes require different consultants to help you through the process.  Hiring the right consultants will save you time and money and get you up and running faster and you won’t need to second guess yourself.

Zoning for Addiction Treatment

Do you have a zoning confirmation letter for detox or addiction treatment from the city planning board?  Will they allow you to practice behavioral health at the location you either bought or plan on buying or leasing?  Zoning can be a daunting task, especially if the community where you wish to open is not welcoming of a new addiction treatment center.  Addiction treatment zoning can also be very time consuming.  There are some misconceptions by planning boards that, if they bring in a new treatment center, there will be more crime in the neighborhood. If you ask the board for statistics regarding this, you will probably not  receive them.  Some communities will make exceptions, especially if they are looking to increase their tax base.  In our experience, one of the challenges to opening a treatment center is the nuisance factor. An example of this could be that people/patients are outside smoking in front of the center or another area visible to the neighbors.  We have the top zoning consultant in the country for addiction treatment centers.  Call us to get started.

State Licensing for Addiction Treatment

Hiring a consultant to help you with the licensing can be helpful.  Some states are easier than others and some are getting tougher!  Some states have 600 page documents with complex regulations for opening an addiction treatment center and getting it licensed.  In order to get your licenses you will most likely need to have identified or already hired key staff members.  We have a link here to help you navigate the state governments and apply for your licenses.   If you need a consultant to help, call us.

Branding and Marketing for Addiction Treatment

Even though you may have multiple studies telling you that there is a need for a new rehab in the area you are considering, do not underestimate the power of competition.  Too many times we have seen well intended entrepreneurs open rehabs that are undercapitalized and do not have a budget for client acquisition and marketing.  Building a trusted brand is critical in getting people to call you.  If your company, people, brand and reputation are not trusted you will have an uphill battle getting new patients.  The same holds true with a ‘brand-new’ brand.  If you are not well known in the community they might not trust you.  If your plan is for a 20 bed residential treatment facility you might receive $30,000 per month per admission for a PPO insurance reimbursement in an out of network environment. For this to happen you should plan on budgeting at least $5,000 CPA (cost per acquisition) for branding and marketing, especially in the early stages of the business.  The CPA number can vary from upwards of $10,000 to as low as $500 per admission.  Hiring an inexperienced firm to help you with addiction treatment marketing will be an expensive education because it is not easy to get the trust of people to become an admission.  Don’t blow your early capital on inexperienced drug rehab consultants and agencies.  Call us, we have been marketing on the Internet since 1996 and in the rehab space specifically since 2008.

Certifications for Addiction Treatment

Getting a Joint Commission and/or a CARF accreditation tells the community you have gone to great efforts to improve your standards in order to provide a better standard of care.  Achieving accreditation requires that the service provider commits to quality improvement, focusing on the unique needs of each individual that they serve, and monitoring the results of their services.

It is our opinion that the biggest reason you should want to be accredited is that many insurance companies now require accreditation in order for you to be reimbursed.  Here is a link for facts about the  Opioid Treatment Accreditation Program commonly known as an OTP.

We anticipate you will be seeing more and more treatment centers being accredited.  This chart from AAC’s website shows the number of rehabs that are and are not accredited.

We have the consultants to assist you in the process for accreditation.  Let us know if we can help you along your journey.

Insurance Reimbursements & Billing

When designing treatment centers you should be aware of two big items:

  • Types of treatment
  • Types of insurance

Do you want to provide detox, residential treatment, IOP, PHP, OP or even an MAT type of treatment? Most of these types of programs are utilizing state funded treatment like Medicaid for Suboxone type treatments (also called Medical Assisted Treatment or MAT).  Be mindful that Medicaid does not pay or reimburse as well as private insurance so you will need to have more client volume in this type of a treatment center.  If you are running a 20 bed inpatient treatment center you could be offering medical detox in a residential setting or just residential treatment.

The type of insurance for inpatient/residential detox or residential treatment can often be in network or out of network PPO insurance.  In networks pay less but are more consistent with their reimbursements. Out of network can be more lucrative however, claims do get denied if all the paperwork is not filed properly.

Tied together with all of this is your billing.  You have options to keep your billing in-house, use a 3rd party company, or an addiction treatment billing consultant.  If you choose to use an in-house billing team we suggest you have an experienced billing team on your bench.  If this part of the business is not a success you will not get paid as much or you will get paid late.  You might find yourself in several audits with insurance companies, all very time consuming and stressful.  We have experienced consultants who can help you here, the best in the business.


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Jim Peake

Jim Peake – Jim has over 30 years of direct response advertising marketing experience. He was the catalyst for putting the Internet in the front page of every newspaper around the world for the first time with the chess event Grandmaster Garry Kasparov vs. IBM’s Deep Blue super computer in the mid 1990’s. Jim’s main area of focus today is helping drug and alcohol treatment centers market their businesses in a hyper competitive market.

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