If you are considering checking into a Florida luxury rehab, medical detox center, addiction treatment center, or any other mental health facility in the State of Florida, you may not know what you are signing up for. I did not and I have been the CEO of The Scott Treatment Des Concierge © for seven years, specializing in addiction rehabilitation. If you have looked into treatment for addiction in Florida, have any of these treatment centers informed you, about The Baker Act? My guess is they have not. I am going to tell you a story about a mature adult named Sharon (Sharon's name has been changed to protect her privacy). Sharon realized she had a problem, and wanted to find help to conquer it. What happened instead was a "Pacific Heights" nightmare. Please, do not let this happen to you or your loved one.
Like most individuals, Sharon and a relative, contacted over 50 addiction programs, before making a decision about which facility to choose. More than likely, all of these facilities accepted her premier insurance coverage, promising they would certainly help her. Yet, every single one of these luxury treatment centers, negligently failed to inform her, or her family member, about The Baker Act Law.
Here is The Baker Act Law in Florida:
"If an individual voluntarily commits themselves into a mental health facility (to include rehabs, medical detox centers, addiction treatment centers) they cannot be released until they have been evaluated, diagnosed, and received treatment."
Ironically, Sharon is a licensed professional in the mental health field, and if this can happen to her, it will most definitely happen to you, if you decide to check into a luxury rehab, or any treatment center in Florida. Sharon signed a treatment center contract, upon arriving in Florida. In she went voluntarily, but little did she know, even as a mature adult she cannot leave voluntarily, due to the Florida Baker Act Law. As soon as she signed her life away, her drivers license, credit card, and cell phone were confiscated. Just like the old asylum days, they basically took her hostage, and reminiscent of the lyrics in the song Hotel California — once you check in you can never leave. Would you feel comfortable under these conditions?
By law in the State of Florida, once you sign a contract with an addiction rehab facility, they are required to give you a copy. If they do not give you a copy, they are subject to losing their treatment center license. Do you think they gave Sharon her copy? No. Do you think she or her family, knew Sharon's rights? No.
If you do not know about The Baker Act Law (which is more than likely in very fine print in their contract) you also will not know, to demand a copy of your agreement. Addiction treatment centers in Florida, are not obligated by law to inform you about any of this. When Sharon realized, what she signed up for, she immediately wanted to leave. Sharon's relative had no authority, in getting her out, and found it much more difficult, than they had both ever imagined.
If Sharon wanted to slowly turn around, and saunter out the front door, first, she would have to leave her drivers license, cell phone and all other personal effects she checked in with behind. The facility also makes it sternly clear, that if you decide to try and leave, they will call the police; which is exactly what happened in Sharon's case. Even if a person in treatment, has a medical problem, such as chest pains, they are sent to the hospital, with two "companions" from the facility to ensure you are released back to them. If you plan your getaway, and make a run for it, remember, you are under a Florida contract that you signed intentionally. With the Baker Act in place, once you make your breakout, and they catch you, you will be arrested. Now, you have an arrest on your record, on top of all the madness you are already going through in your life. This Florida treatment center, has now become your prison — a place you trusted to get help. This was a familiar scenario with psychiatric patients in the 1960’s, until society realized that the straight jacket model did not work. We are now in the year 2016, a mature adult willingly checks into a luxury rehab, and suddenly, they are being stripped of all their civil rights?
Here are a list of things to have in place, should you decide to freely check into any luxury addiction facility, medical detox center, or treatment center in the State of Florida. Your first goal will be to immediately demand a copy of your agreement, then call a Florida attorney. If you are already checked in, and realize you need an an escape route, and it may come to this, here are some options: Have a family or friend call Uber or Lyft immediately. Have a drop off point, then get back into yet another Uber, Lyft, taxi or car service, in order to make it harder, for the facility to track you.
Once you feel you are far enough away from whichever town they are located, find a way to check into a hotel, and you may want to jet out of an airport furthest away from the luxury treatment facility. Thereafter, have a relative or friend overnight your identification to you, so you can fly back home. The treatment center is not obligated to return your identification, nor will they without a fight. They have your signature on a contract, allowing them to keep your possessions for a period of time. This is exactly what happened with Sharon.
If you get stuck in this position, you decide to leave, and they will not let you out, your only solution will be to contact an attorney in the State of Florida. That attorney will then demand a copy of everything you signed, the attorney will send a demand letter, to get you out as quickly as possible. This is not a quick fix, and may take days or weeks. We, at The Scott, highly suggest, you think twice before checking into a Florida treatment center. It may cost you more financially, and emotionally in the long run, than you ever expected. There is no way any individual can heal from addiction, and get well under these circumstances. Treatment centers are supposed to help you, not hold you hostage.
When making the decision to check oneself into an addiction treatment facility, it is not anyone’s best moment. People enter addiction treatment for a myriad of reasons, stressed out CEO's, individual's dealing with pain-management (which by the way make it very difficult to run), parents with children, etc. So how do you find the luxury addiction treatment center, that will best help you get well and stay well? Any luxury addiction rehabilitation center, that will not allow you to leave, while in treatment, is not helping you. Life is still happening during recovery, what if a loved one passes away? What if you have a successful business? What if you have an important court date you must attend? Treatment is not punishment for bad behavior. Treatment is to help you change your life for the better.
If you are warring with addiction the last thing you need to fear is psychological corporal punishment. When people check into any treatment center, they are vulnerable and are looking for rehabilitation, to help them, not imprison them.
For these reasons, we ask you to please consider The Scott Treatment Des Concierge ©, before you check into any Florida luxury treatment facility, until The Baker Act Law is amended. Or, until you have a clear understanding of what you are signing up for, and are aware of the sticky wicket in the Florida Baker Act Law.