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The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) is responsible for licensing substance use disorder treatment programs and designating mental health treatment programs that receive public funding. The substance use disorder treatment license identifies the level of intensity of the services provided, including residential, outpatient or withdrawal management (detox), and any specialized populations an agency serves. Specialized populations include individuals referred for treatment following a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction, individuals required through their involvement in the criminal justice system to complete treatment as a part of a court sentence, or mothers receiving treatment tailored to meet their needs. Intensity of service ranges from once per week outpatient treatment all the way to residential services.
The Office of Behavioral Health oversees the mental health programs that provide mental health services to children, adolescents and/or adults. Community mental health centers and community mental health clinics require a facility license from the Colorado Department of Public Health and designation (program approval) from the Office of Behavioral Health. OBH designation is based on state rules and regulations from the Code of Colorado Regulations and is required to receive OBH funding to provide mental health treatment.
A facility that places individuals on involuntary holds or into involuntary treatment for mental health must be designated by the Office of Behavioral Health to provide services as specified under 27-65 C.R.S., Care and Treatment of Persons with Mental Health Disorders. This process may also be called a “72-hour hold”, an “M-1 hold” a “mental health hold.” These agencies must verify that they are in compliance with the conditions set forth in statute, and that they have proper clinical and infrastructure support to protect the rights of individuals whose mental health disorders render them a danger to themselves or others.
1. What is the difference between licensing and designation?
OBH designates mental health programs to provide mental health services. Community mental health centers and community mental health clinics require a health facility license from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and a designation from the Office of Behavioral health in order to operate with public funds.
2. Can you point me toward the licensing standards or requirements that substance use providers would have to meet in order to obtain a license?
All requirements for licensing are contained in 2 CCR 502-1. The licensing standards for substance use treatment facilities are located in multiple locations. They include standards on staffing, admissions, data collection and reporting, quality improvement, application and revocation of a license, license expiration, background checks for staff, use of records, service plans, type of care provided, and rules specific to special populations such as adolescents.
3. How do I know if I need a license? Are both private/commercial-pay providers and publicly funded providers required to be licensed?
Providers are required to be licensed under the following conditions:
4. Do I need to have a mental health designation to bill for services provided in my agency by a non-licensed person?
5. Will I have to have a facility inspection for an SUD license or a mental health designation?
6. What are the steps in the initial licensing or designation process if an agency does not yet have an OBH license or designation?
7. We are a medical practice and want to become licensed as a substance use disorder treatment program so that we can provide medication-assisted treatment for opiate addiction. What do we need to do?
8. We have a set of policies and procedures from an agency we own in another state. Can we submit those for our agency in Colorado?
9. We are applying for an SUD license. Many of our staff are medical, or have mental health licenses. We would like to request a waiver of the 50% certified addiction counselor (CAC) requirement (rule 21.210.1) so that our current staff can be considered sufficient to provide services under the license we want.
10. I am concerned our facility can not meet one or two requirements in rule. How do we request rule waivers so that we can operate the programs we want to?
11. Can I get technical assistance to assist me in completing the application process?
12. I am planning to sell my substance use disorder treatment agency to another company—can I sell my license along with other assets?
13. What is a controlled substance license and why would I need one?
14. How is methadone different from other medications for addiction? Why can’t our doctor simply prescribe methadone to our patients?