CARF Accreditation Guidelines

CARF accreditation process

CARF, or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, provides a set of stringent standards for health providers to attain and maintain. Earning CARF accreditation is a hallmark of excellence and a commitment to upholding high standards of quality care. As an independent nonprofit, CARF has spent more than 50 years developing stringent guidelines that encompass governance, fiscal responsibility, and requirements for care. Currently, CARF accredits over 59,000 programs and services at more than 27,000 locations internationally. 

Earning CARF accreditation can seem daunting. However, with the correct preparation and mindset, the process can be enriching and transformative for your organization.

The CARF Site Survey

The preliminary step in attaining CARF accreditation is preparing for a site survey, which could take your organization a year or more. During the site survey, the surveyor will look for your strengths, weaknesses, and consistency of policies and procedures.

Appoint a designated staff member to be the primary liaison for providing the requested documentation and materials. The survey is your opportunity to shine, so ensure all employees know what’s going on and are ready to respond to interview requests. Take advantage of your surveyor’s expertise, experience, and recommendations, using them as a resource to ensure you conform to the standards.

The 10-Step Guide to Achieving CARF Accreditation

At MVP Consulting Group, we bring a wealth of operational expertise to help health providers apply for CARF accreditation and complete the process successfully. Here’s what you can expect.

  1. Initial guidance: Engage with a designated CARF resource specialist to gain insights into the accreditation process.
  2. Self-evaluation: Assess how closely your organization aligns with CARF standards.
  3. Submit an application: The application should include information about your leadership, the programs you wish to accredit, and service delivery locations.
  4. Survey fee: Fees can vary depending on surveyors and duration. Ensure clarity on any additional costs.
  5. Survey team selection: CARF selects a team whose expertise complements your specific needs.
  6. On-site survey: Surveyors assess compliance through observations, stakeholder interviews, and documentation review. Use this opportunity to gain insights and consultative feedback.
  7. Accreditation decision: After reviewing the findings, CARF will grant one of the following accreditations: one year, three years, provisional, or non-accreditation.
  8. Post-survey actions: Within 90 days of the decision, submit a response detailing the actions you’ve undertaken to address areas of improvement. MVP Consulting Group can help you complete this report.
  9. Annual quality report: Submit an Annual Conformance to Quality Report every year post-accreditation. CARF will send you the form for this report approximately 10 weeks before it is due.
  10. Ongoing engagement: CARF is a continuous partner. During your accreditation tenure, you can and should contact them proactively to ensure conformance to the standards.

Beyond Accreditation: An Ongoing Commitment

Achieving CARF accreditation is not an endpoint, but a starting milestone in your mission of sustained excellence. Do not allow the standards manuals to sit dormant, even if your organization is not due for another survey anytime soon. Instead, treat them as living, breathing documents – a roadmap to guide your organization and ensure its alignment with industry best practices.

At MVP Consulting Group, we understand the nuances of the CARF accreditation process and the immense value it brings to healthcare providers. Our experienced team can conduct on-site reviews and mock surveys to help you get ready for the real thing, providing a report with recommendations and consultations.

Trust our experienced consultants to guide your organization every step of the way, from initial preparation to maintaining the high standards set by CARF. Reach out today and let us partner with you in your quest for excellence.

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