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Thread: Model SCI Center vs. CARF rehab facility

  1. #1

    Model SCI Center vs. CARF rehab facility

    What is the difference between the two? Why is a Model SCI center usually preferred to just a CARF rehab facility?

  2. #2
    An model SCI center of which there are only around 6 does reearch in SCI & is specialized and provides multiple services for SCI and of course has a special interest in thecare of those with SCI. CARF hospitals or units can have a generalized or numerous types of patients and my or may not include SCI.


  3. #3
    I can just expand on this a little.

    A Model SCI System Center is a SCI specialty program that has applied for and been approved for a US federal grant and designation as such a center through NIDRR (National Institutes of Disability and Rehabilitation Research) which is a branch of the NIH (National Institutes of Health). These grants have to be renewed every 3 years, and have been in place since the late 1960s. The system of care must cover the entire continuum from EMS/Trauma/ICU care through outpatient care. The grants are to support both clinical research and training of rehabilitation professionals, and to establish model SCI systems of care in a community/state. The number have varied between 9 and 21, and there are currently 16. Each center has a different focus for its grant, which you can see here:

    CARF (the Commission for Accrediation of Rehabilitation Facilities) is a voluntary organization that accredits rehabilitation programs of a wide variety in the USA, Canada and Europe. It is not a government organization. There are several divisions, including Medical Rehabilitation, Aging Services, Behavioral Health, Child & Youth Services, and Employment and Community Services. Organizations must apply for a survey and it is not required legally (except in a few states) in order to call yourself a rehab program, but does indicate that the program has met a high level of standards related to how their program is run. To receive and maintain CARF accreditation, the center must already be JCAHO accredited, and they then have a 2-3 day on-site CARF survey where they must show that they meet all the standards, and have maintained these standards since the last survey. Surveys are done every 3 years, so a full accreditation is good for 3 years. We just had ours last week.

    Both inpatient and outpatient physical rehabilitation programs for people with disabilities fit into the Medical Rehabilitation Division, which is further broken down into various categories:
    • CIIRP (Comprehensive Integrated Inpatient Rehabilitation Program) which is usually a rehab center that does a combination of stroke, TBI, orthopedic, amputee, and perhaps some SCI rehab.
    • SCSC (Spinal Cord System of Care): This is a CIIRP which does a lot of SCI rehab, and has meet both the CIIRP standards as well as the more specific SCSC standards. This is the best program if you are looking for SCI rehabilitation programs for someone with a new injury or for outpatient SCI care.
    The remaining Medical Rehab program are listed below:
    • Interdisciplinary Pain Rehabilitation Program
    • Brain Injury Programs (of which there are several sub-categories)
    • Outpatient Medical Rehab Programs (of which there are also several categories)
    • Medical Case Management programs
    • Health Enhancement Programs
    • Pediatric Family-Centered Rehabilitation Programs
    • Occupational Rehabilitation Programs, and
    • Stroke Specialty Programs (this is the newest program just added this year)
    You can read more about these here:

    Most Model SCI Systems Centers (but not all) have also applied for and received CARF accreditation as a SCSC. Some may be only a CIIRP, or may have decided not to go through all the work of meeting the CARF standards.


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