MHW: CARF Releases Accreditation Standards for Health Homes

CARF Releases Accreditation Standards for Health Homes

Mental Health Weekly  July 30, 2012


CARF International on July 17 released new standards for accreditation of health homes citing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that offers states an option to provide health home services for Medicaid enrollees.


Health home is a healthcare delivery approach focused on the whole person and provides integrated coordination that includes primary care and behavioral healthcare.


Health homes are a strategy for helping individuals with chronic conditions manage those conditions better. An eligible individual - for example, a person with diabetes and a mental illness - selects a provider or team of health care professionals to be his or her health home.


“A health home is not a facility or dwelling,” said Nikki Migas, managing director of CARF International’s behavioral health accreditation area. “Rather it is a central point to coordinate an array of primary and acute physical health services, including prevention and wellness, behavioral healthcare, and longterm community-based services and supports, especially for persons with chronic conditions.”


To be eligible for health home services, a Medicaid beneficiary much have at least two chronic conditions, one chronic condition and be at risk for another, or one serious and persistent mental health condition. A chronic condition might be asthma, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, a mental illness or a substance abuse disorder.


CARF International’s health home standards were drafted by a series of focus groups and then submitted to CARF’s International Advisory Council for comment. The organization’s approach to an inclusive standards development process culminated in a broad field review, which invited feedback from persons served, the public and professionals prior to the standard’s adoption, said CARF officials.


Service providers may begin applying the new standards in their organization immediately. CARF International surveys leading to health home accreditation may be conducted as soon as a provider is able to demonstrate six months of conformance to the standards, say CARF officials.


The standards will remain posted at through the end of this year. The health homes standards will be published in the 2013 Behavioral Health Standards Manual, available in electronic and print formats at in early 2013.


Service providers interested in being accredited for their health home services may contact a CARF International behavioral health resources specialist for guidance at us or toll free at 888-281-6531.