What is CARF?
CARF is the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities located in Tucson, Arizona. Established in 1966, CARF International is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services providers in the areas of Behavioral Health, Child and Youth Services, Opioid Treatment Programs, Aging Services, Durable Medical Equipment, Employment and Community Services, Medical Rehabilitation, and Vision Rehabilitation Services. CARF assists providers in improving the quality of their services by applying sets of quality standards during a consultative on-site survey.
What are the benefits of being CARF accredited?
The benefits of conformance to the CARF standards can be realized by both the organization and its persons served. For the organization, CARF accreditation is a catalyst for continuous quality improvement. CARF surveyors apply a consultative, rather than inspective, approach. They bring with them not only their own wisdom, but also the experience of similar organizations to promote quality within the industry. All surveyors employed by CARF are currently working in CARF-accredited organizations. For the consumer, choosing a CARF-accredited program or service can provide confidence that an organization is consumer focused and has met international standards for service delivery.
CARF emphasizes the delivery of person-centered services. Persons served play an active and vital role in the CARF accreditation process, from helping to develop the international performance standards to giving input on the quality of services they receive. Through accreditation, providers demonstrate their belief that all people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, have access to needed services that achieve optimum outcomes, and are empowered to exercise informed choice.
When a service or program is CARF accredited, it means it has undergone an in-depth review of its services and demonstrated substantial conformance to the CARF standards during the on-site survey. The service or program has demonstrated its commitment to delivering quality services that focus on the client’s specific strengths, abilities, needs and preferences.
For more information about CARF International, the standards, or the survey process, visit www.carf.org. Two documents that may be of interest are “Guide to Promoting Your Accreditation” and “CARF Surveyor Information.” (These are available in the public domain on the CARF website.)
CARF Accreditation Outcomes
As described on the CARF website, there are several categories of accreditation decisions:
- Three-Year — optimal, most cost-effective outcome
- One-Year — re-survey in one year
- Provisional — re-survey in one year
- Nonaccreditation — loss of accreditation
- Preliminary — re-survey in six months
A Three-Year accreditation is the optimal outcome (i.e., the most beneficial and cost-effective result for the organization). Receiving a One-Year or Provisional Accreditation is very expensive for organizations as the re-survey will occur in one year. A Nonaccreditation decision is likely to result in adverse effects for the organization, to include inability to provide services. Contracting with an experienced Behavioral Health Resources consultant can increase the likelihood of an optimal accreditation outcome.
Why does Behavioral Health Resources focus only on CARF accreditation?
Because consultants at Behavioral Health Resources are independent contractors who are also employed as CARF surveyors, it would be a conflict of interest to provide consulting services to agencies that are accredited by (or seeking accreditation from) competing accreditation organizations.
Note. When providing consulting services as employees of Behavioral Health Resources, consultants are independent contractors who do not represent CARF International. All consultants at Behavioral Health Resources adhere to the CARF Surveyor Code of Conduct, especially as related to providing consulting services to organizations preparing for CARF surveys or re-surveys. The Code of Conduct can be reviewed in the “CARF Surveyor Information” document mentioned in the previous section.
Consultants of Behavioral Health Resources, LLC do not represent CARF.
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