Determining the Quality of a Drug Rehab Facility

What should you look for when deciding on a California drug rehabilitation facility?  In many cases, consumers believe the higher the price of the facility, the better the care.  However, many high-end drug rehabilitation facilities in Southern California have victimized patients, and a number of them sustained serious and fatal personal injuries.  Should you look, instead, to see whether a facility has been accredited?  How about facilities that have been licensed and/or certified by the state?

Needles & Therapy

A lot of terms exist to suggest that a facility provides high quality care.  Yet it’s important to remember that neither the price tag associated with a facility, nor its accreditation or certification status, can promise a safe environment for a loved one battling addiction.

Drug Rehab Facility Safety in California

In California, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has “sole authority to license facilities providing 24-hour residential nonmedical services to eligible adults who are recovering from problems related to alcohol or other drug misuse or abuse.”  When must a facility be licensed by the state of California?  If the facility provides one of the following services, then it’s required to be licensed by DHCS:

  •      Detoxification;
  •      Group sessions;
  •      Individual sessions;
  •      Educational sessions;
  •      Alcoholism or drug abuse recover; or
  •      Alcoholism or drug abuse treatment planning.

Certification is different from being licensed.  A number of facilities that are licensed are also certified.  But according to the DHCS website, “certification by DHCS identifies those facilities which exceed minimum levels of service quality and are in substantial compliance with State program standards, specifically the Alcohol and/or Other Drug Certification Standards.”

In other words, a facility that’s both licensed and certified is likely to have met higher standards than other facilities.  But those terms alone can’t always promise quality care.  And how do they compare to accredited facilities?

Accreditation Standards for Drug Rehab Facilities

According to a recent article in Psych Central, accreditation isn’t synonymous with quality treatment.  Why not?  First thing’s first: not all accreditation is equal.  In fact, many accredited facilities haven’t been licensed by the state to provide care for people seeking to overcome alcohol or drug addiction.  Instead, many facilities have been accredited by third parties.  And some of these third-party accreditors aren’t as thorough as others.

In most cases, facilities seek accreditation either from CARF (the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) or The Joint Commission.  Generally speaking, “facilities that meet CARF or Joint Commission standards have demonstrated their commitment to being among the best drug rehab facilities in the world.”  And in some states, accreditation by one of these facilities can go toward fulfillment of certain licensing requirements.

Yet we need to remember that simply being licensed or accredited doesn’t ensure excellent care.  Indeed, patients sustain injuries and endure abuse even at high-end facilities that have been licensed in California or accredited by CRF.  According to the article, “several correlations exist between accreditation and quality care, but the association isn’t uniform across all accredited programs.”

Accreditation is one of the “best indicators of quality that we have,” according to Dr. David Sack, who is board certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, and addiction medicine.  However, rather than simply rely on a facility’s price tag, its certification status, or its accreditation status, it’s essential that you “do your homework.”

If you or a loved one sustained injuries due to abuse or neglect in a California drug rehab facility, the Walton Law Firm can help.  Even high-end facilities can be held accountable for abuse, and we can discuss your options with you today.  Contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer to learn more.

Photo Credit: JohnONolan via Compfight cc

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