In October 2018, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and the accreditation nonprofit CARF International (CARF) announced a partnership to launch a pilot program for certification of addiction treatment programs.
The pilot program will assess treatment programs on their ability to adhere to a specific level of care, based on ASAM criteria. To start, the program will offer certification standards based on Level 3 of the ASAM Criteria, which includes residential treatment programs. The organizations may eventually develop certifications for other levels of care.
ASAM and CARF expect to launch the pilot program in early 2019. A second phase will add verification, and the program may be more widely available later in 2019.
What is ASAM and the ASAM Criteria?
ASAM is a U.S. addiction medicine society that represents professionals such as clinicians and physicians. The organization aims to improve access to and quality of addiction treatment, and to educate professionals and the public about addiction treatment.
The ASAM Criteria is a set of guidelines for the placement, treatment, and discharge of patients with addiction and co-occurring disorders. Patients, providers, and other stakeholders can all use ASAM criteria to develop an individualized addiction treatment plan. More than 30 states now require the use of the ASAM Criteria.
The criteria takes a holistic approach that considers the whole patient, as well as their specific needs and strengths, and not just a single behavioral health condition. Patients can better understand their treatment options and be actively engaged in their own behavioral health care. Clinicians and therapists are more prepared to determine the best service for the patient’s goals and help the patient through addiction treatment.
What is CARF International?
Originally founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, CARF International independently accredits health and human service providers. This includes behavioral health, medical rehabilitation, and opioid treatment program providers.
Through its accreditation, CARF promotes quality, value, and best outcomes that help improve patient quality-of-life. The organization promotes dignified, respectful treatment of patients, and their empowerment to make informed choices.
How will this partnership benefit providers?
Addiction treatment providers must meet specific criteria under the new certification program. This will not only help them receive certification, but also achieve results-based care for addiction disorders.
According to Dr. Paul H. Earley, ASAM president-elect and an author of The ASAM Criteria, the new pilot program will help addiction treatment programs “validate their ability to provide care consistent with ASAM’s nationally recognized best practices.”
The certification may also improve an addiction treatment provider’s standing among their industry, patients, and community. Receipt of ASAM Level of Care Certification will demonstrate their dedication to quality and research-based treatments.
How will this partnership benefit patients?
Certification under the pilot program could provide transparency to addiction treatment patients. By choosing a provider with ASAM Level of Care Certification, patients will be assured that their behavioral health provider is dedicated to working with them on results-driven addiction treatment that will be tailored to their individual needs.
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