Sovereign Health Addiction, Dual Diagnosis, and Mental Health Treatment Programs in Fort Myers, FL

Overall Rating

(2.3 of 5)
Treatment Effectiveness
Accommodations & Amenities
Meals & Nutrition
3331 E Riverside Drive
Fort Myers FL 33916

Sovereign Health Addiction, Dual Diagnosis, and Mental Health Treatment Programs Philosophy

Sovereign Health specializes in mental health, substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment for men and women. The rehab has numerous facilities in California, Arizona and Florida — the Fort Myers, Florida location offers residential treatment and utilizes evidence-based treatment modalities combined with a holistic focus for a well-balanced and sustainable recovery. Clients are encouraged to examine and understand how and why their maladaptive behaviors evolved and to set realistic goals for a happy and fulfilling future.

Areas of Specialization

  • Creative Arts Therapy
    Writing, making art or engaging in theater can be deeply therapeutic for people working to recover from addiction. Many facilities offer one or several forms of creative arts therapy as a way to help patients learn to express their feelings in productive ways.

  • Individualized Treatment
    Some facilities have an addiction treatment protocol that all patients or clients are expected to follow, while others customize or individualize treatment based on a person’s unique needs and circumstances. Factors that may affect treatment decisions include age, lifestyle, medical conditions, type of drug, religious beliefs, etc.

Facility Highlights

Evidence-based Strategies

Fishing Therapy

Holistic Treatment

Meet the Staff

Francisco Cruz, M.D.

Medical Director

Photo of Francisco Cruz, M.D.

Francisco Cruz, M.D., is a Medical Director at the Sovereign Health Group treatment center in Fort Myers, Florida. Dr. Cruz is board-certified in both general psychiatry and addiction medicine. He has been in practice for nine years and was previously employed as the Medical Director of The Recovery Place in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Cruz trained at The Menninger Clinic and Baylor College of Medicine before he completed his residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His areas of expertise include substance use/co-occurring disorders, personality disorders and psychodynamic psychiatry. Dr. Cruz is passionate about his work and strives to provide client-centered treatment within a biopsychosocial framework. Dr. Cruz’s personal interests include music, cycling and travel.

Marlee Hartnett

Lead Medical Liaison

Photo of Marlee Hartnett

Marlee Hartnett RN is the lead medical liaison at Sovereign Health of Fort Myers. She has a strong nursing and administrative background. Marlee has almost 30 years in substance abuse and behavioral health. She ensures our medical department runs efficiently and achieves high standards of care. As part of our senior leadership team, her track record with accreditation surveys is excellent. She also created and spearheads our infection control program following Joint Commission standards. As a motivational leader she lives by this motto: “Do you want to be part of something good or something great?” “Follow me if you want to be part of something great because that is always my goal!” 360 Guide

Review by Contributors


Sovereign Health operates multiple treatment facilities in California, Arizona, Florida, and Texas. The Fort Myers center, which opened in 2014 and is one of two Sovereign Health facilities in Florida, offers medical detox, residential treatment, and outpatient programs for men and women aged 18+ who are struggling with substance abuse, mental illness, and dual diagnosis. The center is located in a quiet, residential area on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River, three miles from downtown Fort Myers, on southern Florida’s Gulf Coast.


Treatment typically lasts 30 to 90 days, beginning, when necessary, with a medical detox program that provides 24-hour medical care and supervision.

The center offers individual, group, and family counseling, including a range of evidence-based modalities, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), biofeedback, and neurofeedback. Holistic options including equine therapy, fishing therapy, art therapy, yoga, and meditation.

Outpatient treatment — which can be either step-down or entry-level care — is offered at a variety of intensities: a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), and general outpatient treatment. Treatment is offered in the daytime or the evening, to suit a variety of schedules.

Sovereign offers graduating clients a year of continuing care services, though it does not specify what these are.


The treatment team includes an MD who is board-certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine, as well as a registered nurse.


Photos of the Fort Myers facility depict a modern, home-like setting. The residences are located in a gated community surrounded by palm trees, with direct access to the Caloosahatchee River. In addition to small, modestly furnished shared bedrooms, clients can enjoy outdoor seating, communal dining areas, and comfortable lounge spaces for resting and watching TV. Families may visit on Saturdays and Sundays.


All three alumni reviews submitted to to date were negative. The reviewers repeatedly claimed that the facility was more interested in insurance money than in helping clients and that they were promised amenities that were not provided. “You might as well go to prison. That's how this facility treated me and all of the other patients… I was told all sorts of nonsense by this man that clearly wasn't true. They will lure you with information and ‘specialties’ of this facility that aren't true… Your level of care is determined by how much your insurance is willing to pay, not by growth in personal recovery or behavior. This place just FEEDS off of your insurance which is why they try to make you stay longer,” C.O. wrote in a representative review.

At the time of this writing, the center had a two-star, a four-star, and a five-star rating on Facebook.[1] Only the two-star reviewer, T.G.M., left commentary with their rating: they praised the location, the chef, and the staff, but criticized the center’s admin, echoing reviewers by writing: “They don't have the facilities nor the treatment that the consultant say they do!”


The single loved one polled by to date gave negative feedback. “He did not come home with any appreciable tools for recovery, there was no follow up from his case manager or therapist once home… He is merely a number there I'm sure,” C.T. wrote of their significant other’s treatment, adding that the center failed to diagnose their partner’s depression and that the promised family involvement was never provided.


Sovereign Health accepts private pay and, according to its website, most private insurance plans.

Despite the serene setting that the Florida location appears to offer its clients, Sovereign’s expansion into Fort Myers has not gone smoothly. Neighboring residents have expressed concerns over client-related disturbances and, in March 2015, Sovereign was reportedly ordered to give up its state license or face daily fines, as it did not comply with the neighborhood multi-family residential zoning designation. In May 2015, Sovereign countered this action by filing a Fair Housing Act lawsuit against the city. In January 2017, local Fox affiliate Fox4 reported that the facility will be allowed to remain open, after the city settled the lawsuit.

Updated January 2017


Published on April 2017

User Reviews

Review this Center

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  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
This place is absolutely horrible. They lie Thier butts off to get you here then once your here your in no luck. And the people who do the admission process aren't even employed by sovereign so therefore they aren't liable for the lies...They staff here is shady. They act all nice to your face but then talk badly about you to other staff... And try to make you look like the bad guy when you have a valid complaint. I'm here now luckily my insurance is getting cancelled in 2 weeks so they can't make me stay much longer. This place is far from professional also...The head Dr. assumes he knows what's wrong with you without even meeting you or talking to you... The staff changes the rules regularly just to mess with you. I've voiced valid complaints to them on the survey's they have you fill out every two weeks and they go unheard. If your diabetic this place will be no good for you. They told me I could ask for orange juice to raise my blood sugar if needed but when I go to ask they don't have any. I brought this issue to the head administrator and she assured me they would get me juice. I go to ask for juice again and still no juice... I could go on and on about how big of a dump this place is but the bottom line is DO NOT COME HERE. YOU WILL REGRET IT!!!

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
Great people that really care. Was able to shoot hoops with fellow patients. Getting to smoke my Marlboro was no problem. Some hot chics in there and friendly.. I did 90 days, it was great.. Also, loved fishing out back in the river. Great views and sunsets

Sovereign Health Group has several locations around the country. I can't speak for all of them but let me say something about the Fort Myers FL location. You might as well go to prison. That's how this facility treated me and all of the other patients. I spoke with a consultant two days before I was admitted. I had no idea this guy was actually speaking to me from headquarters office in a totally different location. Other reviews mentioned that they were sold lies. I was told all sorts of nonsense by this man that clearly wasn't true. They will lure you with information and "specialties" of this facility that aren't true. Also, I was told that this was a 30 day program and they tried to make me stay for 60-90. When I told them what the consultant had told me over they phone, they were confused and refused to hear me out any further on the subject... Phone calls had to be approved by our "case managers" and were never private. All of my phone calls back home were made on my case managers phone, and were monitored by him by having my conversation with a loved on on speaker mode. NONE of the staff members are on the same page. You're told to ask for information from someone, and that person can't even answer your questions. The silliest things such as hair conditioner are considered "contraband." Your level of care is determined by how much your insurance is willing to pay, not by growth in personal recovery or behavior. This place just FEEDS off of your insurance which is why they try to make you stay longer. This facility is a total joke, and lacks real professional help that these consultants promise. It was not surprising to see patients leave early against medical advice. I ended up getting help at a different rehab facility. Absolute waste of time, money, and energy.

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
This place is a scam the whole way through. Starting with the treatment specialists of whom are paid on comission for each patient they get. They are used car salesman and lie. Promise there are things like gym onsite,snorkeling,and massage as well as a horse facility all on site. The food is less nutrition than you'll get at mcdonalds. All prefab and usually cold. That being said, if you really need a treatment to facility, there is one closer to your home than this and guaranteed better...tell you it's a 30 day program but try to keep you 45 to 60 days.regardless of your needs. They have mentally ill patients who disrupt recovery and groups. . With all of that, I still managed to find some help ther, albeit not from a therapist but through the time I had away from home. DO NOT GO ANYWHERE NEAR THEM!!!!EVER!!!!

We were lied to by the original person on the phone. He sold us lies. We gave very specific needs and understandings that was wanted and he promised they would all be met. NOT 1 WAS MET AND IT WAS A TOTAL FARCE AND LOE. THE WORST EXPERIENCE I HAVE SEEN AND HE'S TAKING ADVANTAGE OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES NOT PUTTING THEM IN THE PROPER LOCATION OR HEALTH FACILITY NEEDED FOR THEM. IT DISGUSTING!!!! ABSOLUTE DISGUST!!!

My significant other was in the Sovereign Fort Myers location for over 45 days. The only benefit to being institutionalized there was the fact that he was unable to obtain alcohol. He did not come home with any appreciable tools for recovery, there was no follow up from his case manager or therapist once home, they did not set him up with a sponsor for the interim until he found one at home and they set him up with a therapist at home that was not even covered by their supposed insurance (they assured him this would be covered). The team just called him yesterday after a month home to check up, on my suspicion maybe only because a fellow he met down there called to tell them he wasn't doing well and because HE had reached out to THEM. He is merely a number there I'm sure. I called today to find out about his insurance for counseling on his behalf and spoke with a woman, upon hearing my complaints/concerns, she did the professional thing and HUNG UP on me. Mind you, I was not even raising my voice to her even though I wanted to. Also, on their website, they advertise how important family is to recovery and an integral part of their mission. Not once was there a weekly conference as I was told there would be. The calls made were him calling me for 2-3 minutes to say hi while on speaker phone in the case manager's office while the case manager did other things and other people waited in line for the phone. There was also no diagnosis of depression even though he is clearly depressed and his counselor here was able to see that within 2 sessions. He drinks alone every time and has low self esteem as well- I did not see improvement in either when he came home. I suspect they don't get to actually dig deeper to get to know people recovering there because it's all about the bottom dollar, numbers and statistics. He would have been better off staying home and finding a personal counselor and going to AA meetings. I am thankful that this was free for him, otherwise I would be irate.

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