ALEF Accreditations: CARF

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)

The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is an international, non-profit organization with offices in the United States, Europe and Canada. CARF accreditation could be considered the equivalent to Joint Commission certification.

CARF’s funding comes from its 48-member in-house International Advisory Council (IAC), which includes everyone from AARP and Aetna to the National Council for Behavioral Health. The IAC also provides expert guidance on the development of CARF standards and offers valuable input on all issues affecting fields in which CARF offers accreditation.

In short, CARF provides accreditation standards and surveyors for a wide range of global human-services organizations, including those who operate opioid treatment programs. It is in this capacity that ALEF works with and is accredited by CARF.

CARF accreditation helps health service providers improve the quality of their programs and services, as well as to meet internationally recognized organizational and operational standards. Accreditation, however, is an ongoing process. And as such it ensures a health service provider is fully committed to continually improving services and serving the community.

CARF has been recognized by Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush, as well as the Substance Abuse and Mental Administration (SAMHSA) and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). Both SAMHSA and CSAT consider CARF to be an approved accrediting organization for Opioid Treatment Providers (OTPs).

There is no rehabilitation facilities commission more accredited than the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). And ALEF is proud to have earned CARF accreditation.

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How CARF Works

CARF applies a rigorous set of internationally recognized organization and program standards during its initial on-site survey. CARF is not, however, a policing commission. Instead, the organization works with stakeholders to ensure they meet exacting standards. That is to say, CARF’s surveys are consultive rather than inspective. And accountability and quality are its main objectives. Nevertheless, CARF doesn’t interfere with the health service provider’s mission, vision or identity.

CARF accreditation is evidence that a health services provider continually strives to improve efficiency, fiscal health and service delivery. This, in turn, creates a foundation for continuous quality improvement and client satisfaction. CARF’s greatest asset is ensuring each provider meets the unique needs of the persons and the families being served.

Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT)
The CARF Field Review

In 2018, CARF convened more than 170 advisory council participants and field review respondents to provide feedback concerning Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT). The objective? To create the first national OBOT best-practice framework

OBOT programs provide Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) to people who are suffering from opioid use disorder. This means combining FDA-approved medication such as buprenorphine, methadone and Suboxone with comprehensive treatment services. MAT is becoming more and more prevalent in light of the ever-growing opioid epidemic. Consequently, CARF’s Behavioral Health division thought it wise to spearhead its own rigorous Field Review.

MAT works best when the program is paired with therapy, counseling, recovery support, case management and other comprehensive psychosocial components. Extensive research proves this fact. The CARF Field Review, however, revealed a wide variability of OBOT access and availiabilty around the country.

CARF set out to address and remedy that disparity. To that end the organization published an entire new set of OBOT standards in the 2019 edition of its Behavioral Health Standards Manual. CARF’s new set of standards were designed to play an important role in the OBOT oversight model being drafted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They also introduced an established, national mechanism for the OBOT field to share, as well as a field-driven best practices model for MAT providers to adopt.

CARF’s OBOT Standards include:
  • Creating a standard definition of Office-Based Opioid Treatment.
  • Outlining the psychosocial supports services that a program must provide or arrange for.
  • Specifying the qualifications and requirements of a program’s medical director.
  • Defining and providing examples of vital procedures that a program must have in place, especially in relation to induction, stabilization, maintenance, and monitoring.
  • Requiring a program to provide specific training and education for staff and persons served.
  • Addressing components of community relations.

“These standards are the result of CARF’s effort to define a quality framework for OBOTs,” says Michael Johnson, CARF’s Managing Director of Behavioral Health. “Providers that attain this accreditation will be able to demonstrate to persons served, regulators, and payers that they offer a comprehensive array of services and supports designed to help persons served achieve recovery.”


ALEF is proud to have earned full accreditation from the Commission of Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). We consider CARF to be an exceptional organization, and we fully support everything it does to maintain and advance health care in America. We’re especially proud to be right alongside CARF in the advancement of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), as well as the organization’s emphasis on increased availability of Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT). We believe evidence-based treatment is a key component in effectively treating opioid use disorder (OUD). And we’re proud to uphold what CARF considers to be the best practice standards for Opioid Treatment Providers (OTPs).

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The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) ensures addiction treatment providers maintain the absolute highest recovery standards. And ALEF is proud to be an accredited member of CARF.

CARF - Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Centers