Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Accreditation

COA Accreditation, a service of Social Current is a leading option for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) looking to become accredited. We offer research-based and field-informed standards. In addition, our facilitative process helps organizations truly benefit from the accreditation process.

SAMHSA’s 2023 CCBHC Certification Criteria encourages states to require accreditation by an independent accrediting body as part of their state certification requirements.

As more states begin drafting their state certification processes and requiring independent accreditation, we can ensure CCBHCs meet that requirement and successfully implement and build upon the 2023 CCBHC Certification Criteria in key areas.

To learn more about how COA Accreditation Standards align with CCBHC Certification Criteria, download the COA Accreditation/CCBHC Crosswalk.

To learn more about how the COA Accreditation Standards align with the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care, download the COA Accreditation/CLAS Crosswalk.


How COA Accreditation Aligns with CCBHC Certification Criteria

COA Accreditation standards on client rights and service planning and monitoring are well aligned with the CCBHC person- and family-centered treatment planning core service. The standards require that individuals and families be the primary source of information regarding their request or need for care, that they receive all necessary information to make informed decisions regarding services and supports to be provided, and that they are engaged in all ongoing monitoring and decision making throughout their engagement with the provider.

COA Accreditation standards promote culturally and linguistically appropriate practice and inclusive and accessible care. Key features of the standards that support implementation of this component in the CCBHC certification criteria include:

  • Working with the community to improve supports and accommodations for individuals with special needs or marginalized communities
  • Adapting services and written materials to meet the communication needs of persons served
  • Creating non-threatening and inclusive administrative and service delivery environments that are welcoming to all people
  • Training staff on cultural differences among the service population, providing culturally responsive services, and creating an inclusive environment
  • Ensuring staff and governing body members reflect the demographics of the community they serve
  • Honoring the rights of all people to receive non-discriminatory, inclusive services that are respectful of, and responsive to, cultural and linguistic diversity
  • Maintaining an effective grievance process for staff and persons served

Additionally, the standards continue to evolve to keep pace with innovation and advances in the field designed to promote health equity. In 2023, COA Accreditation released a series of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) enhancements to our standards. They are designed to advance administrative and service delivery practices that embed EDI and promote the delivery of equitable services for all people. The EDI updates include new or enhanced content on:

  • Disaggregating data for persons served to identify disproportionate outcomes
  • Developing an organization-wide equity statement
  • Reviewing human resource policies and procedures through an equity lens
  • Providing opportunities for personnel to practice cultural humility

COA Accreditation seeks to promote whole-person wellness through its standards on integrated care and care coordination. These standards address key requirements in the CCBHC criteria including:

  • Facilitating access to, and coordinating delivery of, the full array of social support, behavioral health care, and physical health care services
  • Establishing partnerships and coordination procedures with direct service providers in the community including hospitals, primary care providers, law enforcement, the courts, residential treatment providers, and crisis response providers
  • Offering primary care screening, monitoring, and health promotion activities designed to assist people in managing their chronic conditions and improving their overall health
  • Offering comprehensive transitional care, including appropriate follow-up when transitioning from hospital-based settings
  • Using electronic health records to link services
  • Conducting medication reconciliation

The American Society of Addiction Medicine identifies ongoing maintenance medication with appropriate psychosocial treatment as the gold standard of care for opioid use disorder and 82% of CCBHCs are providing some form of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder directly. COA Accreditation has best practice standards to recognize and accredit providers offering MAT in both office-based behavioral health settings as well as in SAMHSA Certified Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP). Within the context of the opioid epidemic, these standards support improved access to quality programs offering this evidence-based treatment. COA Accreditation has been a SAMHSA-approved accrediting body for certified OTPs since the program’s inception in 2001 and has been accrediting office-based opioid treatment since 2021.

According to a 2022 survey of CCBHCs, peer support specialists were reported as the most frequently hired staff after becoming a CCBHC.3 COA Accreditation has been accrediting Peer Support services since 2015 and the standards were updated in 2021 to reflect current trends and evolving practices in recovery and peer support. The accreditation standards provide a framework for recruiting, training, and supporting peer support specialists and guide organizations in creating a safe, welcoming environment where individuals with lived experience can provide one another with emotional, informational, and practical support that is strengths-focused and person-driven.

The CCBHC criteria requires that organizations adopt telehealth and other technology-based service delivery models to improve the availability and accessibility of care by providing services at the times and locations that work for individuals and families.

In 2016, COA Accreditation partnered with a diverse panel of subject matter experts to enhance its standards to better support the use of information and communications technology such as video conferencing, telephonic services, mobile applications, and interactive messaging platforms, among our accredited organizations.

Today, the standards reflect current and emerging technology trends and best practices and guide organizations in their adoption and use by addressing key topics such as training for staff and persons served, appropriate application, security risk assessments, HIPAA compliance, disaster recovery plans, social media, and the use of mobile devices.

According to a 2022 survey of CCBHCs, 61% of respondents felt that building tools and staff capacity to leverage data is still needed to better support their ability to address health disparities.3 COA Accreditation standards for Performance and Quality Improvement (PQI) provide a roadmap for developing a robust, sustainable, organization-wide PQI system that will increase your organization’s capacity to meet data tracking and reporting requirements in the CCBHC criteria and make data-informed decisions that support achievement of performance targets, program goals, positive outcomes, and staff and client satisfaction.

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Social Current is the premier partner and service provider to human and social service organizations, offering a range of services and learning opportunities, driving the future of the social sector through collaboration, policy, advocacy, knowledge exchange, consultation, training, certification, and accreditation.

COA Accreditation, a service of Social Current, is an independent, objective, and reliable verification that organizations and programs qualify for the confidence and support of their stakeholders. It provides a framework to manage resources, offer best practices, and strive for continuous improvement. This supports an organization’s sustainability, encourages its growth, and helps it to achieve measurable results.

We look at the whole picture.

Our private organization accreditation covers the entire agency. We look at both an organization’s programs and services as well as its administrative infrastructure, as both are critical to producing the best possible outcomes. We want to ensure that you have the internal support you need to best support the people you serve. By making accreditation a whole-organization process, you help to ensure that everyone – from human resources to finance to direct care and clinical staff – is working together to carry out your mission. Everyone becomes invested in best practices, and everyone benefits from them.

We’re powered by our community.

We strongly believe in grounding our process in our human and social services community. That is why we conduct our Site Visits and finalize accreditation decisions not with our staff, but with peer review volunteers. Our volunteers receive no compensation; they generously donate their time and talent and represent a pool of seasoned, skilled professionals in the field.

Our standards are field-driven.

Our standards are grounded in the belief that when organizations invest in strong management practices and understand and monitor the impact of their services, people benefit. Our multi-stage standards development and vetting process involves a diverse set of experts and ongoing feedback from those in the field. This ensures that our standards remain rigorous and reflective of current trends and best practices. It is also why we make our standards available on our website for free.

We are with you every step of the way.

Your dedicated accreditation coordinator will be there throughout to answer any questions and to collaborate with you to tackle the process at a pace that works for your organization.