What are Treatment Center Accreditation and Certifications, and Does It Really Matter?
When you get your haircut, you might not care if the stylist is currently licensed; you might even have a friend without proper training cut it for you. Even if it turns out poorly, it will grow back. But, when you go to the doctor, you certainly want them to have a appropriate degree and to be licensed to practice. Your health matters immensely.
When you are choosing a rehab program, there are some major considerations and one of them is the state of the center’s accreditation and certification. National accreditation programs are in place to monitor the treatment center’s approach and to keep it in line with what has been proven to be effective.
The following discussion will focus on accreditation and what it means in the context of a rehab center. Ideally, this will make you ask each potential rehab center on your list about their certifications and accreditations. You deserve the best care possible.
To learn more about accredited, professional rehab centers, call 800-681-7369Who Answers?. Specialists are waiting to link you to programs with current certificates and proven track records of success. Don’t hesitate. Someone is ready to help you right now.
Is Accreditation the Same as Having a License?
No. Licensing is done on a state and federal level and it is a requirement. Each state will have a different set of regulations related to standards of care and the facility will have to meet these to gain a license. The focus of the requirements is generally on procedures, safety, and legalities. Operating without one may be illegal.
Accreditation, on the other hand, is completely voluntary. It concentrates on the quality of the care being offered and can truly make a difference in the level of care provided. Training, inspection, and recognition by a third-party group can elevate quality of care considerably. In order to be officially recognized, specific standards must be in place.
For example, The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities requires the rehab centers it recognizes use “current research, evidence-based practice, peer-reviewed scientific and health publications, clinical practice guidelines and/or expert professional consensus.”
Because of the rigorous process of accreditation, it is often accepted by state licensing agencies on the way to completion of licensing requirements. Accreditation bodies actually maintain higher standards than state licensing boards. They review:
- Program practices
- Program structure
- Clinical programming
- Program outcomes
Who Are the Most Common Accreditors?
In the United States, you will most often encounter accreditation by:
- The Joint Commission: They are the second largest accreditor of drug rehab centers and the largest one for health care services in general.
- The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities: This non-profit, independent organization focuses exclusively on dual diagnosis and addiction programs; it is the largest accreditor of drug rehab centers.
The National Survey on Substance Abuse Treatment Services compiles treatment center demographics using data from the programs that choose to respond. Of the 13,339 rehab centers that replied, the following percentages were accredited:
- The Joint Commission: 19.2 percent
- The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities: 21.8 percent
- Neither: 56.9 percent
What Are the Benefits of Certification and Accreditation?
For extremely specific benefits, you can research the accrediting body and review the details of their certification process. For example, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities requires rehab centers to follow care stages that last a sufficient length of time to meet your needs. This means you will benefit from having a proper period of treatment.
More generally, accreditation must be maintained continuously. This means that not only did the rehab center create a program that met these high standards, it has continued to meet them and will continue to for as long as it is recognized by the accrediting or certifying organization. There are often surprise inspections and they must prepare quality reports, as well.
On the other hand, once a license has been granted, the rehab center need only maintain paying fees and administer continuing education to maintain it. Accreditation requires much more.
To learn about which programs have accreditation or certification, call 800-681-7369Who Answers?. We can help you determine which programs meet your needs and help you determine what specific certifications and accreditations mean.