While millions of Americans are estimated to be suffering with drug or alcohol addiction, only one in 10 will receive treatment each year.
More rehab facilities are developing all the time to offer those struggling with addiction hope and a way to seek recovery. However, addiction treatment is relatively new within the last few decades.
With so many drug and alcohol rehab programs available, it may be difficult to understand which facilities are credible, providing legitimate and effective care, and which are not worthy or credible.
Accreditation of rehab facilities was borne out of the need to help select rehab programs which are both effective and which uphold high standards in addiction treatment care.
What Is Accreditation?
Legitimate drug and alcohol rehab centers must be licensed (receiving licensure), but may also receive accreditation as well.
Accreditation is optional and voluntary. Rehab facilities seek accreditation to signal to patients and their families that their programs adhere to the highest standards of care at all times.
Accreditation is awarded through a number of accreditation organizations which have committed to observing facilities and ensuring they uphold quality of care standards.
Each accreditation organization is committed to its own missions and values, corresponding to the level of care they seek for the community.
These organizations are spearheaded by experienced personnel in the treatment industry, such as doctors, clinicians, counselors, therapists, and more.
Only rehab facilities which meet and continuously uphold the level of care standards set forth by a particular accreditation organization will be awarded accreditation. Once accredited, rehab facilities must re-apply for accreditation at regular intervals to continue to receive it.
Why Rehab Centers Need Accreditation
If all rehab programs must be licensed in order to operate, is accreditation even necessary? The short answer is, “yes” for several reasons.
First, not everyone has an accreditation. This is because it takes time, money, dedication and excellent treatment standards in order to receive accreditation.
Not every rehab center will be awarded this recognition simply because they cannot or do not put forth the effort.
Earning an accreditation can also be a lengthy, involved, and intensive process. Staff, clinicians, doctors, therapists, and the facility are closely surveyed and monitored for a time.
Those rehab centers which earn accreditations have demonstrated ongoing dedication to helping clients reach recovery goals utilizing the most trusted, evidence-based, and innovative treatment methods possible.
All levels of treatment and rehab programs within the facility will be scrutinized to ensure each level of treatment adheres to this same elevated standard.
Ultimately, earning accreditation is a sign to addicted individuals and their families that a certain rehab center will afford them a greater chance at a successful recovery outcome.
Types Of Accreditation
There are a number of accreditation organizations, certification organizations, and addiction treatment support networks which offer credible recognition of facility treatment standards.
The top two rehab facility accreditation organizations include CARF International and The Joint Commission.
Joint Commission Accreditation (JCAHO)
The Joint Commission is considered to be the gold standard of treatment among healthcare providers.
The Joint Commission was first developed in 1951 and has since honed its treatment standards to include a specific and extensive set of criteria by which to survey treatment facilities.
For this reason, the Joint Commission awards its Gold Seal of Approval only to health organizations which have provided and continue to provide safe, effective, and high-quality treatment.
CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) International was founded in 1966 and has been providing accreditation for exceptional drug and alcohol rehab programs ever since.
CARF values a commitment on behalf of the service provider to offer excellent services, as well as to continue to improve the quality of services.
Those rehab centers which earn CARF accreditation must also focus on the unique needs of each individual who enters treatment and monitor service results in order to continually improve.
LegitScript is the only digital certification service for alcohol and drug addiction treatment providers.
This service was established in order to monitor drug and alcohol rehab centers for legitimacy. If facilities are deemed legitimate (i.e. if they are found to be worthy, credible, and trustworthy), they are eligible to advertise their services for treatment.
Alcohol and drug rehab centers which have earned LegitScript certification will display the LegitScript badge on their website.
How Rehab Facilities Become Accredited
The accreditation process is lengthy and intensive. Accreditation is not easily achieved in order to ensure only the highest levels of care are awarded recognition.
Each accrediting organization has its own steps and methods for the accreditation process.
The following steps are usually involved in awarding accreditation to a drug and alcohol rehab center:
- on-site surveys of care practices
- interviews with staff and patients (when necessary)
- documentation review
- thorough evaluation of all information and programs
Benefits Of Accredited Drug And Alcohol Rehab Centers
The greatest benefit of an accredited drug and alcohol rehab center is the service-quality guarantee to patients and their families.
Because accreditation is such an intensive and regulated process, individuals considering treatment through an accredited facility can rest assured they will get excellent care, custom-designed to fit their needs.
Other benefits of an accredited drug and alcohol rehab center include:
- All staff are experienced, trained, and meet high educational standards.
- Facility offers programs which meet high-quality standards for treating both addiction and mental health (co-occurring disorders).
- Facility has undergone multiple surveys which audit staff, programs, and facility overall.
- High level of confidentiality for patients and families.
- High level of safety standards, set forth by the accrediting organization.
- Staff is highly trained in HIPAA regulations and compliance standards, and upholds these standards at all times.
- Standardized and high-caliber treatment services, individualized to the needs of each client.
How To Find An Accredited Drug Or Alcohol Rehab Center
Most rehab facilities are proud of their accreditation, having worked hard to achieve it. Many alcohol and drug rehab centers will post accreditation seals on their websites or inform those seeking treatment of accreditation recognition.
If you or a loved one are seeking treatment and want the best care possible, contact us today. We can help you find an accredited alcohol and drug rehab center which offers rehab programs that best match your needs.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- CARF International — Accreditation benefits
- CARF International — Steps to accreditation
- CARF International — Why does accreditation matter?
- LegitScript — Addiction Treatment Certification
- National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers — Become A Member
- National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers — Mission
- The Joint Commission — Benefits of Joint Commission Accreditation
- The Joint Commission — FAQs Behavioral Health Accreditation
- The New York Times — Fraction of Americans With Drug Addiction Receive Treatment, Surgeon General Says