Level OF Care Certification

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About the ASAM Level of Care Certification

Launching in Spring 2020, the ASAM Level of Care Certification, delivered in partnership with CARF International (CARF), is the first program of its kind to independently assess and verify treatment programs’ ability to deliver services consistent with Levels of Care described in The ASAM Criteria®.

The ASAM Criteria plays a critical role in national efforts to advance evidence-based treatment for the disease of addiction. The common language and universal standards set by The ASAM Criteria establish a framework to help payors and healthcare systems ensure they are offering the full continuum of care to meet patients’ needs. Until now, there hasn’t been an independent verification of treatment programs’ ability to deliver services with fidelity to evidence-based standards found in The ASAM Criteria.



Getting Certified

ASAM Level of Care Certification demonstrates a program’s capacity to deliver a specific Level of Care, thereby differentiating between the many Levels of Care available for addiction treatment. ASAM Level of Care certification will initially cover adult residential programs at Levels 3.1, 3.5, and 3.7 of The ASAM Criteria. Certification covering adolescent programs, co-occurring enhanced programs, and programs at other Levels of Care may be developed in the future.

When the program launches in Spring 2020, providers of residential substance use disorder services will submit applications directly to CARF seeking certification for Level 3.1, 3.5 and/or 3.7. CARF will conduct onsite surveys to evaluate the providers’ satisfaction of ratable elements applicable to the applied-for Level(s) of Care and issue an independent certification decision. This independence ensures there will be no conflict of interest when treatment programs operated by ASAM members apply for certification.

To be issued certification, programs must demonstrate during survey the presence of ratable elements sufficient to satisfy the proprietary scoring methodology, including but not limited to the presence of all “defining elements” – those certain ratable elements that are crucial to the operation of all treatment programs or are a hallmark of a particular Level of Care. Once certified, programs must promptly address any deficiencies in a plan of action submitted to CARF and annually attest to continued satisfaction of the applicable ratable elements. To maintain uninterrupted certification beyond the three-year term of certification, programs must timely apply for and successfully complete a recertification survey.

What Certification Means for Patients, Providers and Payors:

Our Level of Care Certification program benefits patients, clinicians, treatment programs, and payors and insurance providers:

When patients and their loved ones see the ASAM Level of Care certificate, they will feel secure in knowing that the treatment program is equipped to deliver the evidence-based treatment needed.

Treatment programs already capable of delivering the evidence-based care outlined in The ASAM Criteria will receive well-deserved recognition for their commitment to helping patients. Treatment programs seeking to improve so that they are capable of offering evidence-based care will be able to turn to ASAM for assistance. ASAM will offer publications and trainings to help treatment programs craft and implement policies and procedures that will help them achieve this goal.

The ASAM Level of Care Certification will help to differentiate between the various levels of residential care that are often grouped together as one. As such, this certification will provide an independent assessment of the services that treatment programs are equipped to provide. Payors may use this information to reduce prior authorization requirements, structure reimbursement models, or create centers of excellence for addiction treatment. Above all, certification will provide a method for ensuring that patients enter treatment programs that are equipped to deliver evidence-based care.