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Do Residential Drug Rehab Centers Need State or Federal Certifications or Licenses?

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The certification of residential drug treatment facilities is primarily undertaken by different states according to the state’s statutes; however, not all states have the same requirements. In addition, not all states oversee these facilities. There are numerous operational and maintenance issues that must be met before a facility can even begin to accept patients. States may have different requirements regarding the types of employees who can work in these facilities. Some states may require that individuals undergo a background check and not have any significant legal entanglements in their background whereas others may not.

The state ensures that federal regulations regarding safe housing are held in compliance for residential centers as well in many of these instances. The licensing requirements that are generally imposed on these facilities by states include:

  • A formalized process for new applicants that must be followed
  • Fees for each site and for each residential bed
  • Acceptable operational plans for the facility
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • Certificate of occupancy that is typically required from all businesses
  • Certification from local and federal inspections
  • Inspections by fire marshals
  • Kitchen inspections by appropriate authorities
  • Inspections of electrical, gas, and other utilities by appropriate agencies
  • Submission of a floor plan and other requirements
  • Adherence to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Numerous qualifications and certifications that must be met if medications are to be administered on site
  • Specific licenses, demonstration of qualifications, and other requirements that are placed on personnel

The required licensing and certifications of the staff will typically vary from state to state. In order to get an idea of the actual requirements required by a specific state, visit the state’s website.

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Other Requirements in New Jersey

The state of New Jersey has some specific requirements for residential treatment centers that treat patients with substance abuse issues. Some of these include:

  • Completion of most of the above general requirements
  • A specific license is needed to operate a residential treatment facility from the New Jersey Office of Licensing, which requires various inspections and the completion of other requirements in this section.
  • The facility must have a medical director who is a licensed physician in the state of New Jersey, must be certified by an Addiction Medicine Association such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and must be in good standing with the state medical board.
  • Other physicians working at the facility must also be licensed by the state of New Jersey and have certification from one of the major societies in addiction medicine.
  • The site administrator should have at least a master’s degree and appropriate certification.
  • Facilities are required to have nursing departments that have licensed nurses who are in good standing with the state of New Jersey and also have a nursing director who is a qualified licensed nurse.
  • Pharmacists who are associated with the facility must also be licensed by the New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy and have the appropriate qualifications and documentation.
  • There should be a director of substance abuse counseling services who is a licensed psychologist with at least five years of experience in addiction services with two of those years spent in supervision. The individual should also have certification in the treatment of alcohol and other substance use disorders from a qualified organization.
  • Other counselors should be licensed by a national organization. At least 50 percent of the staff must have these licensors, and the remaining 50 percent can be interns who are actively seeking licensure. Interns working toward licensure cannot be working toward their license for more than three years.
  • Volunteer staff should be supervised by the appropriate department, including nursing, physicians, and other licensed staff. Volunteer staff should not engage in medical management or counseling services.
  • Non-counseling and non-medical staff must be a minimum of 18 years old and have a high school degree or equivalency degree.
  • All staff members are required to complete an orientation session that explains the regulations and rules associated with working in the facility.
  • There are formalized standards and regulations regarding the handling of complaints by staff and patients that must be followed.

There are numerous other specifications and regulations specified by the state of New Jersey. The document explaining all of these regulations and specifications is nearly 200 pages long and can be viewed by going to the link provided at the beginning of this article. The specifications are very precise and outlined in detail. They are different for residential and inpatient programs and for programs that primarily provide outpatient treatment. For information regarding outpatient treatment regulations, licenses, and other specifications, visit the New Jersey state website.