how to start a rehab center

Learn the Steps To Opening a Rehab Center

The desire to open a rehab is a noble goal. No matter how much you want to help people, the truth remains that your program still must turn a profit. To run a successful rehab center it is a must that you take the right steps when forming it.

Running a behavioral or mental health rehab program requires several key actions in the planning phase. Learning how these critical steps can make or break your program’s bottom line.

Before sinking time and treasure into a treatment center you will need to craft a clearly stated mission statement. The mission statement will help direct all other steps going forward. Define your vision for the rehab program, your short and long-term goals and any other key details. All of these shall support your core mission statement.

10 Steps to Start a Rehab Center

Although it may seem fairly cut and dried, starting a treatment center involves a great deal of planning and effort. It’s easy to see why, as behavioral and mental healthcare fall under the healthcare guidelines. These are laws and codes that protect patient safety and best practices. To learn how to start a rehab center, consider these steps:

1. Select the right location.

If you are thinking about starting your own rehab center, never lose sight that it is all about location. Before making any other business decision, you will need to conduct a market study. This means picking the region for your treatment center that offers the best chance for success.

Think about whether there are many rehabs in a certain region and ask yourself if there is really a need for another one. What are the local zoning laws? What are local leasing costs or real estate values? Is there a target market for your services?

2. Feasibility study.

The level of care your program offers will impact costs. Will your program offer the full spectrum of care? How many beds are proposed? Is it a dual diagnosis program? Is it an IOP? What are the tax rates in the city being considered?

3. Licensing.

Before you open a rehab center you must meet the state and local licensing statues. In some states you need to file for a Certificate of Need (CON). This tells the state your plans for the rehab as you move through the license process.

4. Define Policy and Procedures.

You will need to define the program and create P&P best practices while in the licensing process. Program development elements include the therapies and activities your rehab will provide for the treatment of the clients. These might include:

  • Psychotherapy.
  • Group therapy.
  • 12-step program.
  • Family group.
  • Medication.
  • Education.
  • Relapse prevention.
  • Holistic.
  • Wellness actions.
  • Recreation.

Other program details to include in P&P:

  • EMR software plans.
  • Create the employee handbook.
  • Design the daily program schedule.
  • Create a code of conduct.

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5. Determine staffing needs.

Staffing is based on the level of care, proposed number of beds, and the scope of service being offered. Behavioral or mental health centers require:

  • Medical Director.
  • Executive Director.
  • Psychiatrist.
  • Psychotherapist.
  • Nursing staff.
  • Intake staff.
  • Case-workers.
  • Managers.
  • Administration.
  • Janitorial.

6. Create a business plan.

For your rehab to succeed you must treat it as a business. You will need to create a business plan prior to seeking financing for the rehab center. The plan will outline short and long-term goals and will include a pro-forma financial study. When making the plan, think about the many costs involved in operating a treatment center.

7. Funding.

Financing the project is done by getting funds from many sources. These might include private partners, banks, personal funds, or grants. If seeking a grant to fund the rehab, you will need to complete some steps. These include the grant application, writing an essay, and the budget process.

8. Accreditation.

When starting a rehab center keep in mind it is the same as a private medical practice. Accreditation is the standard for the mental health field. In fact, being accredited is now needed for being insured. There are two main accreditation bodies for treatment centers. These are CARF and the Joint Commission (JCAHO).

9. The center itself.

Once a property has been secured, the planning and design of the rehab takes place. The JCAHO standards plus local zoning laws help define this process. The physical plant must adhere to healthcare construction guidelines that focus on patient safety and quality of care. All supplies must be ordered and installed.

10. Marketing plan.

Your marketing efforts will help to highlight your rehab as distinct from the rest of the field. You will need a lead-generation marketing strategy in place to drive traffic toward your rehab center. The marketing budget should include website design, logo design, SEO marketing services including social media, and other marketing branding collateral.

Once you have finished all these steps toward starting a rehab center, it is time to open your doors. Now you can begin to impact peoples’ lives for the better. The journey from drafting your mission statement to welcoming your first clients is a complex one. If you would like some guidance during the process of starting your own treatment center, consider Circa Behavioral Healthcare Solutions.