Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Mental Health and/or Substance Use Services (MHSU) 8: Ambulatory Detoxification Treatment

Detoxification treatment is provided based on the needs of the service recipient.
NA The organization does not provide detoxification treatment.
2020 Edition




Individuals and families who receive Mental Health and/or Substance Use Services improve social, emotional, psychological, cognitive, and family functioning to attain recovery and wellness.
Note: Detoxification can occur at varying levels of intensity.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Criteria for determining the level of care
  • Sample job descriptions from across relevant job categories
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Clinical/Medical director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records


MHSU 8.01

Qualified personnel determine the appropriate level of detoxification care and treatment for the individual using diagnostic criteria outlined in clinical decision support tools and clinical practice guidelines.
Examples: Organizations can utilize the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria to determine the appropriate level of care.


MHSU 8.02

Detoxification services include:  
  1. assessment and evaluation; 
  2. monitoring and stabilization; and  
  3. preparation for entry into substance use treatment.

Fundamental Practice

MHSU 8.03

Detoxification treatment is provided by a qualified team of trained and licensed professionals appropriate to the intensity of services offered.
Examples: Organizations providing medically-monitored detoxification may employ an interdisciplinary staff of nurses, counselors, social workers, addiction specialists and/or other health and technical personnel, whom all work under the supervision of a licensed physician.