At the state level, licensing requirements are established for health and human services professionals. Depending on the state, professional counselors in the behavioral health field go by various titles, such as licensed professional counselor (LPC), licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC), licensed clinical mental health counselor (LCMHC), and licensed mental health practitioner (LMHP). Each state offers its own standards required for the licensure or certification of professional counselors.
States also regulate substance use disorder programs based on the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS). The N-SSATS identifies the types of programs that require licensure by state, in addition to the specific requirements for every modality. Program licensure for each state is provided through the agency responsible for the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.
The Joint Commission is an independent, non-profit entity that certifies health care organizations and programs, including those in the behavioral health industry. Health services providers voluntarily pursue Joint Commission accreditation and certification because it demonstrates to potential clients or patients that the provider is following state-of-the-art standards. The standards were developed with input from health care professionals, government agencies, consumers, and other experts in the field. Currently, the majority of insurance companies require behavioral healthcare programs to be accredited by the Joint Commission or CARF.
The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is an independent, non-profit organization that established rigorous industry standards in the fields of behavioral health and other human heath services. The purpose of CARF is to help ensure quality, value, and optimal outcomes for individuals who access services at the accredited facilities through current field-driven standards. Being CARF accredited sends the message that the facility is committed to providing clients with the highest standards of care, and that results are monitored.