What Is CARF Accreditation In Addiction Treatment?
The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is focused on quality of rehabilitation treatment and treatment outcomes. This non-profit agency evaluates and offers accreditation to rehabilitation facilities that meet a specific set of standards.
An accrediting agency since 1966, CARF has been trusted to evaluate rehabilitation providers. They also provide consultation and advise best practices to many health and human service administrations. Since 2001, CARF has also been one of the agencies that accredits opioid treatment facilities that meet federal regulation guidelines.
These standards for CARF accreditation include business practices and treatment services, which means that the patient receives quality care and payers (like insurance companies) can feel confident in the services being provided.
CARF Accreditation Process
The process for CARF accreditation can take a long period of time to complete, sometimes up to 12 months. Although it does take time, completing the accreditation process shows a level of dedication to patient services, treatment being offered, and commitment to continued growth as a facility.
Completing an internal examination is the beginning of the CARF accreditation process. This allows the provider to explore and evaluate its own facilities program and business services. After this step, CARF selects a group of expert practitioners to visit the facility and conduct an on-site survey. It is during this survey that the program will be evaluated to ensure that CARF standards are being demonstrated and maintained.
The on-site evaluation includes observations, interviewing people getting services, document review, and consulting with staff. After reviewing the findings of the evaluation, CARF will render a decision, and grant accreditation if criteria are met.
After the decision, a provider has 90 days to complete and submit a quality improvement plan (QIP) as condition of the accreditation. The QIP addresses any concerns or areas of improvement CARP outlined in their on-site evaluation. A plan of action to correct these areas, or proof of completion needs to be included with the QIP.
During the time a provider is accredited, CARF will maintain contact to ensure standards continue to being met, and a yearly report, called an Annual Conformance to Quality Report (ACQR) needs to be submitted to CARF.
How Does CARF Accreditation Benefit People Receiving Treatment?
There are many advantages to choosing a CARF accredited substance abuse and addiction treatment provider, which include:
- guaranteed top-level industry standards, through accountability and risk reduction
- patient focused treatment using internationally recognized standards of care
- standards of performance that were developed with both professional and consumer involvement
- knowledge that the program has met consumer standards
- positive treatment outcomes with the patient in mind
- insurance companies recognize and accept CARF accreditations
The overall mission of CARF is to improve the quality of life for every person who receives services from a CARF accredited program. By using these standards of care that were developed with individuals who use these services and professionals who treat them, CARF accreditation can ensure that each patient is receiving a standard of care that only a CARF accredited program can offer.
CARF has recently collaborated with ASAM to create a certification process to ensure that services provided within substance abuse rehabilitation centers meet criteria that adheres to ASAM standards of care.
Who Are The ASAM?
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) is a professional group with over 5,000 members in the field of addiction medicine. This includes physicians, researchers, and clinicians, among other substance abuse professionals.
This group has several goals, including supporting research, prevention measures, public education, increased access to substance abuse treatment programs, and improving the quality of available treatment programs.
How Are CARF And ASAM Improving Addiction Treatment?
Both of these agencies are important in substance abuse and addiction treatment. CARF helps maintain a standard for the patient by holding providers and facilities to a specific standard of care, while ASAM has diligently worked with professionals in addiction treatment to maintain a standardized quality of care using evidence-based, outcome-oriented treatment methods.
Nearly thirty years ago, members of the ASAM developed what has come to be known as
“The ASAM Criteria”. This set of criteria is the standard by which addiction treatment facilities operate, and is required in over thirty states.
Until the collaboration between CARF and ASAM, there was not a process available to ensure that treatment facilities were, in fact, abiding by The ASAM Criteria. Because substance abuse and addiction have become a significant health concern in the United States, this certification program will provide the assurance that a treatment facility is using effective intervention methods that are defined by The ASAM Criteria.
The certification from this pilot program, scheduled to begin early 2019, will be referred to as the ASAM Level of Care Certification. CARF will provide an independent review, similar to their other accreditation processes. This review will explore levels of treatment and dimensions of patient care. If a provider meets the criteria, CARF will grant ASAM Level of Care Certification for up to three years, with annual reviews.
CARF Accredited Treatment
Being a CARF accredited substance abuse treatment facility means that a gold-standard level of care is provided. If you or a loved one might benefit from a CARF accredited inpatient substance abuse program, contact us today.
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- The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities — About CARF
- American Society of Addiction Medicine — ASAM and CARF Reshape Addiction CAre with Landmark Treatment Delivery Certification