DHCS Level of Care Designation

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In accordance with California Health and Safety Code Section 11834.015, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is required to adopt the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) treatment criteria, or an equivalent evidence-based standard, as the minimum standard of care for licensed adult alcoholism or drug recovery or treatment (AOD) facilities. DHCS has adopted the ASAM treatment criteria as the standard of care required of all licensed residential AOD facilities.

To ensure that all licensed AOD facilities are capable of delivering care consistent with the ASAM treatment criteria and meet all of DHCS’ requirements, DHCS has developed a level of care (LOC) designation program for AOD residential facilities.

The following are the DHCS LOC Designations:

  • DHCS Level 3.1 – Clinically Managed Low-Intensity Residential Services
  • DHCS Level 3.2 – Clinically Managed Residential Withdrawal Management
  • DHCS Level 3.3 – Clinically Managed Population-Specific High-Intensity Residential Services
  • DHCS Level 3.5 – Clinically Managed High-Intensity Residential Services

All licensed AOD facilities must obtain at least one DHCS LOC Designation and/or at least one residential ASAM LOC Certification consistent with all of its program services. If an AOD facility opts to obtain an ASAM LOC Certification, then that facility will not be required to obtain a DHCS LOC Designation. However, nothing precludes a facility from obtaining both a DHCS LOC Designation and ASAM LOC Certification.

To obtain a DHCS LOC Designation, an AOD facility must submit a DHCS LOC Designation Application (DHCS 4022) and all required supporting documentation to the Department. Refer to Behavioral Health Information Notice (BHIN) No.: 21-001 for additional information on LOC designations and requirements.

Upon review of the licensed AOD facility’s application and supporting documentation of the program, DHCS shall determine the appropriate DHCS Provisional LOC Designation(s). All DHCS LOC Designations shall remain provisional until DHCS has completed an on-site or virtual compliance review to verify the AOD facility’s ability to comply with the requirements specified in BHIN No.: 21-001. Once verified, the AOD facility’s license will be revised to remove the DHCS LOC’s provisional status.

Disclaimer: The DHCS LOC Designations are not equivalent to, or affiliated with the ASAM LOC Certifications developed by ASAM©, in partnership with Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) International. An approval for a DHCS LOC Designation does not guarantee eligibility for an ASAM LOC Certification. However, an approved residential ASAM LOC Certification is sufficient to meet the DHCS requirement. Licensees must directly contact ASAM to obtain information regarding its certification process and requirements to obtain ASAM LOC Certification.

Email: LCDLOCDesig@dhcs.ca.gov

​LOC Application/Forms                           


Last modified date: 11/2/2022 9:03 AM