CARF Standards: Change Happens

Robert Johnson - Monday, March 28, 2011

Life is a process. We are a process. The universe is a process.”  -- Anne Wilson Schaef

 

Them Changes

I use the above quote to answer a question I often get: “Why are the CARF standards always changing?” Contrary to the belief of some folks that the standards are changed to support a continuous demand for CARF’s products, standards are created, revised, and/or discontinued as part of an ongoing improvement process of which the changes are a result. Overall, modifications of the accreditation standards serve to facilitate (through conformance necessary to obtain and/or maintain accreditation) improvement in administrative and clinical practices.

Old Days

I remember the “old” days when I first entered the “helping profession” and was completing an employee orientation. I was fresh out of graduate school studies that included multiple assignments reviewing current and available research and scholarly papers related to “helping people change.” Part of my introduction to the work environment included observing a person in the treatment program being “hot seated” by program staff and peers. The goal was to confront, or “shame” the person into admitting they had a problem. I asked the facilitator, “How do you know this is the best approach?” He replied, “It worked for me.”

Move On Up

I refer back to the “old days” (actually not that long ago!) as a marker, or reference point, to demonstrate the relative infancy of the art and science of “helping people change,” and to highlight the importance of having published standards, based on the best available research and evidence-based outcomes, to guide the process. Are there organizations that are “ahead of the curve” with regard to evidence-based practices and the current CARF standards? Yep, and many of those organizations are involved in, and supporting the process of revision and change.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch Changes

Okay, before I forget (and the reason why you most likely came to this blog); changes in the 2011-2012 CARF standards. There are what I would consider to be minor changes in ASPIRE, Section One, of the CARF manuals. Thirty-plus standards have been “restructured” to improve clarity (good!), and twenty-plus have had a word or phrase changed or deleted. For folks accrediting behavioral health and opioid treatment programs (Section Two: General Program Standards), my count is 10 new standards, 15 revised standards, and three standards that contain new elements. That’s substantial….IMHO.

Further On Up The Road….

See you in April!