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  • FAQs Regarding CARF Accreditation During COVID-19

    Q: How is CARF accreditation impacted by COVID-19?
    A: The safety and well-being of persons served, staff of accredited programs and services, and CARF surveyors are our foremost priority. Accordingly, CARF has rescheduled surveys with start dates between March 16 and May 31, 2020, and temporarily adjusted accreditation expiration dates as necessary and appropriate to the unique circumstances and needs of each affected organization.

    CARF is following the guidance, recommendations, and mandates of federal, state/provincial, and local governmental and public health authorities. As information on the spread of COVID-19 is evolving, we will continue to respond appropriately and provide timely and relevant updates.

    Q: What if my organization needs to postpone an upcoming survey?
    A: The organization’s survey key contact or designee should contact CARF as soon as possible to discuss rescheduling options.

    Q: Will organizations be charged a fee for postponing surveys due to COVID-19?
    A: No.

    Q: When will survey activity resume?
    A: CARF is currently scheduling surveys for June 2020 and later. CARF will work with each organization to determine an appropriate timeframe for scheduling, with priority given to surveys postponed or required by state/provincial or federal mandates. Surveys will be scheduled and conducted taking into account all risk factors, including geographic area, travel restrictions, and population served.

    Q: What will happen to our expiration date?
    A: CARF will be flexible and temporarily extend accreditation expiration dates on a case-by-case basis for those surveys rescheduled due to COVID-19.

    Q: Is CARF able to conduct a survey remotely?
    A: Yes. If your organization has an eligible upcoming survey, the survey key contact will be given information about CARF’s Digitally Enabled Site Survey program.

    Q: What are CARF’s expectations for meeting the standards if we have temporarily changed our service practices because of COVID-19?
    A: CARF is aware there are many factors regarding COVID-19 that will influence an organization’s regular day-to-day practices and may impact implementation of the standards. The CARF standards require that organizations have a process to comply with all applicable federal, state/provincial, and local laws, which may include safety precautions, sheltering in place, and/or social distancing guidelines. We understand situations may warrant altering practices to mitigate risk to persons served. The health and safety of persons served should be of the utmost importance in accredited programs.

    Providing clear, open lines of communication with both persons served and staff will be critically important to ensure access to the resources they need during this exceptionally difficult time. If this requires organizations to temporarily modify regular procedures and implement alternate practices (e.g., virtual home visits, electronic client signatures, telehealth services), policy and procedure deviations should be documented and new expectations clearly communicated.

    CARF recommends that organizations review their current conformance to CARF standards contained in the 2020 standards manuals applicable to the well-being of persons served, staff, and other stakeholders, including, but not limited to, those standards specifically related to health and safety (Section 1.H.) and standard 1.I.9. The Health and Safety section of the manuals also includes a number of helpful resources that organizations may want to review and consider.

    CARF will assess all standards applicable to each survey as usual; however, the impact of any issued recommendations on the on-balance accreditation decision may be mediated by the countervailing effect of the pandemic.

    Q: I still have questions, who do I contact?
    A: Contact a resource specialist in the appropriate program area.

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