Advancing Quality Standards in a Dynamic Industry
May 18, 2021
Quality standards are an important component of health care, in every sector and for every kind of service. However, standards of care continually change as science and research evolve and regulatory bodies adapt to industry advancements. Leading providers must work not only to meet but to exceed regulatory standards and deliver the best possible care and service to patients.
Pioneering an Industry
Since it was founded in 2009, CleanSlate has been a pioneer in improving the way addiction treatment is delivered. In Massachusetts, where the company originated, CleanSlate became one of the first providers to have its core approach to office-based opioid treatment accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) when the licensure was introduced in 2015. Additionally, CleanSlate is licensed by the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, which is only required of providers treating more than 300 patients.
One of the challenges that come with working in a rapidly evolving industry is that regulations often lag patient needs. This does not mean providers should operate without regard to any sort of standards, on the contrary, they must adapt to meet the changing scope of regulations while ensuring patients are safe and receiving the highest quality care reflecting evidence-based research. This means sometimes going beyond what is typically considered addiction medicine to treat comorbidities that affect overall health. For example, CleanSlate began to offer in-center hepatitis C treatment to meet patient needs because of our understanding of how HCV disproportionately affects substance users. We saw the need to offer support for comorbidity often affecting our patient population and we expanded our treatment to include it.
Raising the Bar
What sets CleanSlate apart is our commitment and approach to quality care, and willingness to lead the industry for the benefit of patients and providers. CleanSlate has proudly led efforts to develop new licensures and standardize quality treatment for addiction medicine, and many of its leaders have participated in committees for the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) to develop regulations for this type of care.
All CleanSlate centers in Massachusetts are currently licensed as outpatient opioid treatment services through the Massachusetts state government and also maintain a three-year accreditation through CARF. Additionally, CleanSlate holds CARF accreditations and state licensures in each of the 10 states in which it operates.
Prioritizing Quality Across the company
Just as states and regulatory bodies have adapted licensures and accreditations to keep up with changing patient needs, CleanSlate has expanded its approach to quality as the company has grown. All quality initiatives are managed through the Medical Affairs and Regulatory department, which has evolved over time to include new aspects of the regulatory process as they are established. The department works with the centers to ensure they are operating at the highest level, from designating appropriate emergency and safety protocols to promoting compliance education, licensures, and certifications.
In commitment to its clinicians, CleanSlate supports its physicians efforts to become board-certified in addiction medicine, something that is often not supported by other treatment providers. CleanSlate also enrolls all clinicians in mandatory training about patient rights, accreditation and licensure requirements, HIPAA regulations, and more.
As addiction medicine evolves and expands to improve access for more patients, we can expect to see the emphasis on quality continuing to rise. Federal and state regulatory bodies and professional organizations will expand available certifications and licensures. But it will still be up to treatment providers to adopt these standards and establish their own commitments to quality care. Those who go above and beyond the minimum requirements will continue to set the stage for quality care in the years to come.