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There are many different metrics that play into deciding which treatment facility is best for you, and it can seem overwhelming at times. A Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation is one such metric, and we will discuss what requirements a treatment center must fulfill to obtain this accreditation and what, exactly, this accreditation means for you.

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CARF Accreditation

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There are many different metrics that play into deciding which treatment program is best for you, and it can seem overwhelming at times. A Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation is one such metric, and we will discuss what requirements a treatment program must fulfill to obtain this accreditation and what, exactly, this accreditation means for you.

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CARF Accreditation

What Is CARF?

The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, or CARF, is a nonprofit organization that accredits healthcare facilities based on the following types of care:

  • Aging Services
  • Behavioral Health
  • Child and Youth Services
  • Employment and Community Services
  • Vision Rehabilitation Services
  • Medical Rehabilitation
  • Opioid Treatment Program

At its core, CARF approaches each organization in a collaborative manner as they believe that the best way to provide the highest level of care is through evaluation and improvement, not solely through inspection. They are made up of eleven elected board members that are constantly approving and amending policies and standards for the accreditation process. This keeps their survey process as up-to-date as possible. These board members come from all over the country and all have varying backgrounds. They have currently provided accreditation for over 60,000 programs and services and are dedicated to continuing to improve the standards and expectations of healthcare providers.

CARF Accreditation

Benefits of a CARF Accreditation

CARF accredited organizations are required to submit a yearly Quality Report, which not only holds the individual organization accountable for maintaining those standards but also allows CARF to continuously provide feedback on how each specific organization can improve its practices. The specific benefits of a CARF accreditation include:

  • Clients and individuals seeking care are receiving services that have been compared against and conform to standards that are not only internationally accepted but that have been approved by board members and by the public.
  • CARF is always communicating with its accredited organizations and vice versa on how those programs and services can continuously be improved upon for the best-guaranteed results for each client’s needs.
  • CARF holds organizations accountable to funding sources, referral agencies, and the community to which those services are provided.
  • The accreditation shows governments that the organization has committed to providing the highest level of programs and services when they receive government funding.
  • Constantly improving upon standards for both management and employees, and holds them accountable for the services they provide at a personal level.
  • CARF constantly supports its accredited organizations through consultation, publication, conferences, training opportunities, and industry newsletters.
CARF Accreditation

How Does the Accreditation Process Work?

Like most accreditation organizations, CARF representatives will visit the specific facility and complete a survey of the programs and services offered. The process begins when the organization reaches out to a CARF resource specialist. A self-evaluation will be conducted against the current standards, and once the organization has complied with those standards for at least 6 months, a survey application can be submitted. After a service fee is paid, a survey team will be selected based on their expertise of relevant services and experiences for that specific accreditation request. The survey team will visit the facility and complete the actual survey. This may involve interviewing the staff and clients and observing services and programs offered. After the review process, the survey team will give accreditation of either: three years, one year, provisional accreditation, or non-accreditation.

Behavioral Health Programs

With regards to behavioral health and addiction treatment services, CARF looks at a variety of different programs that could be offered, such as:

  • Assertive Community Treatment
  • Case Management/Service Coordination
  • Crisis Intervention and Stabilization
  • Day Treatment
  • Detox/Withdrawal Management
  • Inpatient Treatment
  • Intensive Outpatient Treatment
  • Outpatient Treatment
  • Partial Hospitalization
  • Residential Treatment
  • Therapeutic Communities
  • Community Housing
  • Employee Assistance
  • Supported Living

By evaluating each of these programs based on their own set of individual standards, CARF is able to help these organizations improve upon the services already offered and maintain the highest quality of care for their clients. Not only is this beneficial for people coming into a CARF accredited organization for treatment, but it also helps that treatment program market for new clients, thus allowing them to help more and more people struggling with addiction and possible co-occurring mental health conditions.

CARF Accreditation

What to Consider When Choosing a Rehabilitation Center

Like with most things, you should always do your research to determine which rehabilitation center is the best for you. A CARF accreditation is just one of many metrics that should be taken into consideration, because even a center that has been accredited may not offer the programs or staff that you need for treatment. It’s important to consider what your values are, what treatment goals you have, and what specific programs and therapy options you want for yourself or for a loved one.

  • Look at the accreditations. It’s better to choose a treatment program that has either been accredited by CARF or by the Joint Commission as this offers another level of comfort knowing that internationally accepted standards are being used to evaluate the treatment program you may go to.
  • Look at the online reviews. Even if a center has been accredited, if they have 500 Google reviews rated less than two stars, it’s probably not the best place to go.
  • Check through CARF or Joint Commission that the treatment program you are looking at actually is accredited. People can do almost anything on the Internet, so it is important that you double-check that their accreditation is real.
  • Consider the location of the facility and the programs that are offered. You may want to consider traveling for inpatient treatment.
  • Do they provide on-site holistic services like yoga or equine therapy, or are they added to treatment at an additional cost?
  • Does your insurance cover the treatment program, or will you need to pay out of pocket?

All of these are things you should consider when looking for a rehabilitation center. It can be overwhelming, so if you don’t know where to begin, we have hand-picked some of the top dual diagnosis treatment centers which include both inpatient drug and alcohol rehabs and outpatient rehabilitation centers in each state and major city around the US. All of the centers have either been accredited by CARF or the Joint Commission and were rated based on a number of different metrics.

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Getting Help

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring mental illness, calling one of these accredited centers is critical in your recovery journey. Find a rehabilitation program near you and give them a call today to find help. You can also give us a call and we will help point you in the right direction to ensure that you receive the treatment you need as soon as possible.

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