Written by Christopher A. Parrella, J.D., CHC, CPC, CPCO
The American Society of Addiction Medication (ASAM) and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF International) have teamed up to launch a national certification program designed to provide an independent, comprehensive assessment of a treatment program’s commitment to deliver services consistent with established national guidelines for levels of care.
The pilot certification program, which is expected to be rolled out early next year, will add a second verification phase and make the program broadly available later in 2019.
The move is being seen as ASAM’s next step in its mission to bring national standards to the drug and alcohol treatment industry and provide patients with a tool to help them better decide which rehab centers are providing the best care. The partnership comes at a time when many addiction treatment facilities have come under fire for taking advantage of vulnerable patients.
The ASAM level of care certification initially will offer certification standards based on Level 3 of the ASAM Criteria, specifically levels 3.1, 3.5, and 3.7, covering residential treatment programs. Certifications for other levels of care may be developed at a later date.
- Level 3.1 Clinically Managed Low-Intensity Residential Services
- Level 3.5 Clinically Managed Medium-Intensity Residential Services for adolescents and Clinically Managed High-Intensity Residential Services for adults
- Level 3.7 Medically Monitored High-Intensity Inpatient Services for adolescents and Medically Monitored Intensive Inpatient Services Withdrawal Management for adults
Introduced in 1991, the ASM Criteria was developed to give clinicians a standardized set of guidelines on substance abuse treatment. It has been continually revised and updated over the years.
ASM and CARF worked together on the development of proprietary ratable certification elements and scoring methodology, which will include pass/fail elements that ASM has determined are essential to an applicant’s certification.
To obtain certification, programs will have to demonstrate to CARF they have the capacity to deliver services at the level of care defined by the ASAM criteria, as represented by satisfaction of the applicable ratable elements in accordance with the scoring methodology. Programs will submit applications to CARF directly and CARF will independently perform the certification process, including reviewing individual provider applications and conducting site visits.
The certification will be good for up to three years, as which time the program will have to re-apply.
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