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May 23, 2024   

The Winding Road to a Recovery Home

This Bulletin is brought to you by AHLA’s Behavioral Health Practice Group.
  • May 23, 2024
  • Kirti Vaidya Reddy , Quarles & Brady LLP

Without stable housing, recovery for substance use disorder is nearly impossible. “Recovery housing” (or more commonly referred to as a “sober home” or a “sober living residence”) is a broad term that describes a safe, supportive, and substance-free living environment, particularly for individuals transitioning from a formal treatment program to independent living. Recovery homes may have rules, curfews, or encourage therapy, but they also allow residents substantial independence. Studies have confirmed that such communal housing has significant positive effects such as decreased substance use, reduced likelihood of return to use, lower rates of incarceration, increased employment, and improved family relationships. However, insurance payers do not reimburse for a recovering behavioral health patient’s stay in a recovery home because it is not considered medically necessary for treatment, essentially ignoring a vital component in the recovery process. While recovery housing remains a non-reimbursable service, increased attention is being given to the issue following recent legislation—the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023—which requires that best practices for recovery housing be made publicly available and published on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) website. The Act provides the industry with unified standards for recovery housing, and therefore, it is a significant step towards recovery housing becoming a reimbursable service by health care payers.


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