Posts Tagged ‘residential facilities’

Helping Kids Recover

February 26th, 2013

Our Vision at the Arizona Department of Health Services is, ”Health and Wellness for all Arizonans.”  Part of our mission includes helping individuals with substance abuse issues achieve and maintain self-reliance and independence.  To get there, some individuals simply need occasional outpatient services.  Some need wrap-around, community or home-based services.  Others require more intensive treatment in a residential setting.  Our goal is to provide the most effective kind of treatment to suit every individual’s unique needs. While no two paths to recovery will ever be identical, we do know this: young people recover better in settings as close to home as possible. 

Over the past two years, we’ve taken that knowledge to heart – and our actions have paid dividends. We’re matching more people with effective wrap-around services like in-home counseling, high-needs case management, home-care training, peer support, respite, family support and skills training.  In turn, we’ve reduced the need for care in licensed high-level Residential facilities by 75% in Maricopa County. However, outpatient treatment, home and community-based services can’t always provide the level of treatment people need.  Some individuals require more intensive treatment that only a licensed and regulated residential facility can provide.  

A series of reports in The Republic this week suggests that some juvenile residential treatment facilities in our state are substandard.  While no facility is perfect, our inspectors are well-trained and highly-motivated to ensure each of our licensed residential treatment facilities meets State standards. Those that fail to meet these standards must implement an immediate corrective action plan. 

We inspect residential treatment facilities at least once a year — more often when we receive complaints. When we inspect facilities, our teams make decisions based on evidence. We talk to the residents and the staff; we look at patient and personnel records (including video records); we observe facility practices and examine physical evidence. This helps us separate legitimate complaints and concerns from those that are baseless or intentionally fabricated.  We receive dozens of incident reports every day, which we carefully and promptly evaluate. It’s unusual that a report poses a health or safety problem. But when a situation that does is brought to our attention, we immediately send staff to the facility. 

Successful residential treatment facilities are pro-active, follow their policies and procedures without fail, are meticulous in reporting and documentation and seek ongoing education. They’re not afraid to admit a mistake. Our job is to ensure that facilities comply with our standards and maximize their effectiveness. That’s why our licensing teams also focus on ways to improve our licensed facilities and our Behavioral Health team focuses on the evidence-based treatment that’s best for the patient. Additionally, we’ve been overhauling many regulations to ensure our standards focus on the most important components of care. 

Our actions as an agency must be based in fact and rooted in the evidence demonstrated by a comprehensive review of the facility in question. You can view factual information about the more than 7,400 facilities we license by visiting


Regulatory Reform Update

January 22nd, 2013

We’re continuing to make significant progress in our licensing regulatory reform efforts.  Our overall goal is to simplify and streamline our regulations so they align with our strategic plan and map to improve public health outcomes.  The new regulations will more acutely focus on health and safety criteria- and will put more emphasis on outcomes.  We’ve held numerous meetings with representatives from the medical community, the behavioral health system, advocates and other affected stakeholders to help us reform our regulations for Inpatient Behavioral Health Facilities, Residential Facilities, DUI Services, Domestic Violence Offender Treatment Programs, Outpatient Treatment Centers, Nursing Care Institutions, Assisted Living Facilities and Hospitals.  Public comments are being solicited through online surveys.  

In all, 18 Articles of regulations are being overhauled.  Draft Articles and online surveys can be found at the Health Care Institution and Behavioral Health Service Agency webpages.  By April 1st final drafts will be posted on our website for another round of comments.  The completed rules will be submitted to the Secretary of State by July 1, 2013. Thanks to all who have helped to advance the licensing of integrated health in Arizona!

Rules Rollin’ Along

September 26th, 2012

Our regulatory reform effort in Licensing is rolling along.  We’ve already held rules work group meetings with representatives from behavioral health inpatient and residential facilities and are incorporating the Stakeholder comments into our next iteration of our draft rules.  In November, we’ll start holding rules work group meetings with representatives from behavioral health outpatient settings. This’ll truly represent an integration effort since some facilities providing outpatient services are currently licensed under Chapter 10, while others are currently licensed under Chapter 20

We’re continuing to look at all Articles in Chapter 10, Health Care Institutions to see how they can be incorporated to support the integration of Behavioral Health Services. This involves more work than we originally anticipated- but still do-able with a full court press by the Summer of ’13 finish line.  On a side note, although it isn’t a “health care institution,” we’re holding a rules work group meeting to discuss revisions to the Domestic Violence Offender Treatment rules, which will go into Chapter 20 (the non-health-care institutions rules chapter).