The “Florida Shuffle” is when people seeking help for addiction are exploited by fraudulent addiction treatment centers for insurance money. There are many wonderful treatment centers, with great staff that want to see people get better and live full lives (our employees are certainly in that camp!); those involved in the Florida Shuffle are not among them.
How it Works
These facilities often pay “brokers” to recruit clients at 12-step meetings, on phone hotlines, in online groups, and at other places where people who need help might gather. The brokers aggressively persuade people to go to their facilities for treatment, which is often subpar—and in some cases non-existent. The facilities then charge clients’ insurance plans tens of thousands of dollars.
Meanwhile, it’s called the shuffle because clients are sent to multiple facilities and sober homes without getting any real help. In some cases, the people seeking treatment are given drugs in exchange for attending certain facilities.  This happens in other places as well, but it’s particularly common in Florida in part because of, as Palm Beach County’s top prosecutor State Attorney Dave Aronberg put it, “a lack of any good law at the state level.” 
Khary Rigg, a behavioral health services researcher at the University of South Florida, said, “The financial incentive is to get them to use, have a positive urine test, then now they can go back to the treatment center, and the [broker] or sober home owner gets a kickback from the treatment center.”
Getting Real Help
A real treatment center will have staff who care and engage in treatments like trauma therapy and CBT. They will let you know that they are here to help and will answer any questions you have, but they won’t aggressively recruit you. People who truly want to see you get better understand that you can’t force someone to get sober—you can only provide them with resources.
Treatment and Education
Amatus Recovery Centers is committed to offering both quality treatment and prevention. Our show Straight Talk and podcast SHARE are educational platforms for people to learn about recovery. We have partnered with Baltimore County Public Schools to provide drug and alcohol counseling to adolescents. Unlike those involved in the Florida Shuffle, we envision a world where no one needs our services anymore.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for mental health disorders and addiction in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build the tools to thrive in recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.