June 02, 2016

Warren, Hatch, and Rubio Call for GAO Review of Sober Living Home Federal and State Oversight

Text of the senators' letter is available here (PDF)

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today sent a bipartisan letter calling for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of federal and state oversight of sober living homes.

"The ongoing opioid epidemic has fueled a high demand for substance abuse services, and it is critical that individuals receive the care they need, and that facilities purporting to help individuals with substance use disorders are actually doing so," the senators wrote. "It is ...important that we provide transparency and information about these sober living homes to ensure responsible stewardship of limited taxpayer dollars, protect vulnerable populations, and promote public health."

Senators Warren, Hatch and Rubio are asking GAO to provide information about the number of sober living homes in the U.S. and how many people they serve; how they are regulated at the federal, state, and local levels; the types and effectiveness of services offered by these facilities; and how these facilities and their patients interact with Medicaid and other federally-funded health care programs. The senators expressed particular concern about allegations that sober living home administrators have received "kickbacks" for referrals of residents to Medicaid-funded drug and alcohol treatment programs.

The senators' letter states, "Sober living homes can be an effective recovery service for those suffering from substance use disorder, but little is known about how this cottage industry functions overall. Additional information about the sober living homes will help us to provide proper oversight to ensure that individuals with substance abuse disorders are receiving the care they need."

A PDF copy of the senators' letter is available here.