How do the best rehab centers get accredited?
By: Lakeview Health
Published: June 7, 2019

Have you identified that you need help for a drug or alcohol problem? Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the treatment center options? Have you been speaking to admissions representatives- only to feel overwhelmed and left with more questions than answers? Locating the best addiction treatment isn’t always the most straightforward task. A simple Google search will yield thousands of results of beautiful rehabs who can’t wait to meet you! It can be challenging to discern high-quality care from the wannabes. After all, are the lofty promises real? Are the reviews and testimonials legitimate? Is there a way to even tell? It’s no secret that quality treatment can make a profound difference in your sobriety. Subpar treatment, on the other hand, can lead to only more problems later down the road. We’re going to be examining the measures and accreditations to look for when finding treatment.

What Does It Mean To Get Accredited?

Most rehabs need to meet state licensure requirements at a bare minimum. However, specialized accreditation refers to meeting specific criteria of designated standards. Unfortunately, in behavioral healthcare, it is not required to get accredited. In other words, anyone with a semblance of a vision (and some money) can start a treatment center. Accreditation is what separates random rehab owners from top-notch, medical care. Accreditation means that the organization is compliant with all designated standards. Consistent evidence shows that having accreditation improves clinical and healthcare outcomes. You can expect that the treatment facility is “up-to-code” with healthcare requirements. Their staff is appropriately trained to handle a variety of critical issues. Furthermore, they must adhere to maintaining best practices. Failure to do so can lead to loss of accreditation. When you attend an accredited facility, you and should expect:

  • An educated and competent multidisciplinary staff
  • Safety and cleanliness within the accommodations
  • Evidence-based practices for clinical care
  • Compliance and attentiveness to client needs
  • Transparent practices from the admissions through the aftercare process

Why Don’t All Centers Receive Accreditation?

In a nutshell, it’s not a simple process. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Research shows that fewer than half of all treatment facilities have any accreditation at all. The accreditation process is long, arduous, and can require dramatic organizational shifts to maintain compliance. First, the company must organize its resources and staff to ensure they are in compliance. Then, the accreditation staff comes through the facility to regularly conduct audits. These audits may be planned, but they can also be spontaneous. Auditors examine program practices, treatment outcomes, and staff efficacy. Issues with any of these areas can result in failure to receive or maintain accreditation. Accreditation also requires a financial investment, which can cost a company thousands in fees. Remember that ethical facilities are willing (and happy) to pay these fees to ensure their organizations meet the highest standards of care. This process can take several months. However, the work is never done. Facilities must stay consistently compliant with accreditation standards to maintain status and receive renewals.   Are Unaccredited Programs Bad? It’s a loaded question with an even more complicated answer. We all know how fragile drug and alcohol addiction can be. Unfortunately, even the best, accredited programs cannot guarantee total success in one’s recovery. That said, accreditation is respected because it’s so intensive, rigid, and thorough. There isn’t room to “try hard.” Instead, treatment centers need to put forth their very best if they want the seal of approval. It’s an objective process- the accrediting bodies set specific standards, and you must reach them if you seek the accreditation. It’s hard to say whether or not unaccredited programs are bad. However, it’s nearly impossible to determine what to expect once in their care. You don’t know what standards they follow. You don’t know which protocols they must maintain. In some regards, this can resemble a ‘wild, wild west’ phenomenon. It’s like going into surgery without knowing if the surgeon is qualified for the job. There’s a “good chance” the professional will know what he or she is doing. However, do you really want to bank on having just a “good chance?” If there was a way to know for sure, wouldn’t you prefer that option? If you are looking for an accredited treatment center, call Lakeview Health today (866) 704-7692.

Who Accredits Rehab Centers?

There are numerous healthcare accreditations. Each accrediting body has its particular regulations for standards of practice. The high CARF The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Centers (CARF) is the largest, non-profit accreditation body that assesses and evaluates both substance and co-occurring disorder programs. Founded in 1966, CARF accredits nearly 60,000 programs and services at almost 30,000 locations across North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. Regarding specifics in addiction treatment, CARF accredits programs related to:

  • Detoxification treatment
  • Inpatient treatment
  • Day treatment
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Office-based opioid treatment
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Residential treatment
  • Case management/services coordination
  • Crisis intervention and stabilization

JCAHO The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) is the country’s largest accrediting body for medical facilities and hospitals. After CARF, JCAHO is known as the second leading accrediting body for addiction treatment facilities. JCAHO accredits and certifies over 21,000 programs in the United States. They are identified nationally as a symbol that conveys high healthcare performance standards. The accreditation process takes about 6-9 months, and the application for accreditation is good for 12 months. Accreditation lasts three years.   Certification of Opioid Treatment Programs The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides certification and accreditation for opioid treatment. Known as OTP, the program must complete the process within one year. It must also seek to gain state and DEA approvals. The unique characteristics of OTP certification include:

  • Medication compliance (proper dosing, dispensing, disposal)
  • Appropriate business hours
  • Comprehensive treatment planning
  • Diversion control plan

Other Benefits of Accreditation As mentioned, accreditation naturally means that the treatment facility complies with all standards of ethical care. However, there are other benefits to consider, as well. Positive Treatment Experience Successful treatment isn’t just about staying sober. It’s about building a sense of community and cultivating self-esteem and self-worth. Accredited centers must vet the best staff for the job. You’ll have access to top-notch psychiatrists, doctors, and therapists, and clinical staff throughout your care. It’s not just people who are ‘passionate’ about the work. It’s people who are passionate, qualified, and efficient. Authentic Marketing Anyone can pump thousands of dollars into a splashy marketing campaign. That’s why so many treatment facilities have such flawless websites! However, you can’t ignore the simplicity (and the power) of accreditation stamps of approval. In a sea of false claims and promises, they speak for themselves. You don’t need to waste your time determining if the rehab is being honest or not. Insurance Reimbursement Third-party payers (insurance companies) may use accreditation as a marker to determine which facilities they approve for reimbursement. If you intend to use insurance to subsidize your treatment, you’ll have better odds at an accredited center.

What Else Makes For A Standout Rehab?

We all know the harrowing statistics of addiction. When it comes to drug or alcohol treatment, finding the right care can become a life-or-death necessity. Accreditation is one major component in narrowing down your treatment options. As the first line of defense, you should always check out the facility’s accreditations, certifications, and credentials. Not sure what one of them means? Ask the admissions representatives! Treatment That Meets Your Needs Everyone has different needs when they arrive at treatment. You want a facility that can meet those needs- without a problem. Whether you struggle with chronic pain or work a demanding, full-time job, your treatment center should be able to accommodate your circumstances. Individualized Support The best treatment centers focus on individualized attention for their clients. This means comprehensive therapy, groups, and medical support. You should feel comfortable (and encouraged) with your treatment team throughout your episode of care. Quality Aftercare Treatment doesn’t stop once completing a program. Recovery is long-term, and it requires daily maintenance. Transitioning out of treatment can be challenging. You want a program that can support you in managing potential obstacles. Quality aftercare can include continued peer support, certified recovery coaching, and long-term connection with both clients and staff.   Final Thoughts Unlike finding a good restaurant for dinner, finding the best treatment isn’t as easy as a Google search or word-of-mouth referral. It takes persistence and dedication. As an informed consumer, you should know what to look for- and you should always ask questions if you need clarification. At Lakeview Health, we pride ourselves on adhering to the highest levels of quality client care. Moreover, we believe that our credentials speak for themselves. You deserve a comprehensive treatment that meets your unique needs. You deserve a facility that can provide you with the utmost attention and professional support. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you on your journey.