What Requirements Must a Residential Treatment Center Meet Before It Can Admit People Into Their Program?

What requirements must a treatment center meet before it can admit people into its program? Well, all states impose minimum licensing standards for the operation of a drug rehab recovery or detox facility. In addition to that, all medical and other professional staff members must in turn hold a valid license to practice from the state’s licensing board. However, licensure and independent authority accreditation are not the same things. Moreover, drug rehabs may employ many staff members who don’t necessarily hold any license in the substance abuse treatment field at all. Of course, persons working in administrative support or facility maintenance jobs who don’t directly treat residents don’t need licensure to do their jobs.

However, some of these unlicensed persons may participate in resident care under the supervision of staff who are licensed. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an excellent, evidence-based type of therapy may have unlicensed people working under the state-licensed therapist. This isn’t necessarily a problem but when choosing a rehab, it’s important to ask what the facility’s resident to professional licensed staff ratio is. You want to be sure that enough licensed staff is employed to serve the resident population at maximum capacity.

This article will cover licensing of rehab and detox facilities only very generally. There are 50 states, and it’s beyond the scope of this article to include exact requirements from all of them.

In general, regulation of substance abuse and detox facilities will fall under the authority of the Department of Health Care Services or the Department of Children and Families. These departments typically require any facility providing the following services to be inspected and licensed:

  • Detox
  • Group or individual therapy
  • Educational services
  • Treatment planning for and the administration of such treatment for drug and alcohol abuse treatment
  • Any kind of medical services

There would also be other types of licensing required, such as those related to city ordinances, zoning, business taxes and miscellaneous local requirements that may vary from state to state. This doesn’t include certifications for food handling and pharmacy services. The facility’s onsite pharmacy would be also be subject to the licensing requirements of the Board of Pharmacy for that particular state.

Although not all states will have the same regulations, some require that the facility must also designate an LOC or level of care. This means that it must state the level at which it plans to operate within the following LOC levels:

  • LOC 3.1 Low intensity clinical services
  • LOC 3.2 Residential withdrawal management (inpatient detox)
  • LOC 3.3 High intensity residential for targeted population
  • LOC 3.5 High intensity residential

In addition to basic state licensure, the facility must also obtain at least one LOC designation certification from either ASAM, the American Society of Addiction Medicine or the Department of Health.

Special Certification

When a substance abuse facility says it’s state-licensed, don’t be too impressed, because this is just a basic requirement. The facility cannot legally operate without it. Special certification from authorities in the substance abuse treatment field is called accreditation. It’s like a premium endorsement for a drug recovery center, and it’s your assurance that the facility has met or exceeded the much higher standards of authorities like CARF or the Joint Commission. A drug rehab without accreditation may still be a good one, but accreditation is a reliable indicator of a superior drug treatment facility.

When you’re choosing a rehab to attend, ask if they’re accredited and by whom. They will know what you mean and will be proud to tell you they hold accreditation from CARF, the Joint Commission, or another authorized entity. This is because the accreditation process is a thorough one. The third-party authority will inspect not only the facility itself, but its business records, staff, programs, client care, safety protocols, policies, and operations. All professional staff is examined to be sure they’re up to date on the latest treatments and that their skills comply with the high accreditation standards. The process leaves nothing to chance and gives its accreditation only to facilities that truly deserve it. It’s pretty safe to put your trust in an accredited facility.

If you Need More Information

We’re available to help you with any kind of substance abuse issue 24 hours a day at 833-497-3808. We can help you find an excellent, accredited drug treatment rehab near you that exactly fits your individual needs. We look forward to your call.