Residential Treatment Center Licensure Enhances Clinical Effectiveness And Improves Outcomes


This is the Lodge at Red River and is where many of our families stay when they come to visit.

Residential treatment centers, sometimes called rehabs, provide treatment for a wide-range of issues including mental disorders, behavioral issues, and substance abuse and addiction problems. Residential treatment centers are clinically focused, intensive, live-in programs where patients, or clients, are continually monitored and supervised by trained staff.

People often ask, “As an Accredited Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program (Wilderness Therapy Program), how did you meet the stringent qualifications to become licensed as a Residential Treatment Center (RTC)?”

The short answer is: We invested in the clinical personnel and programing to meet the high clinical expectations required to qualify for the RTC license. Of course, this was no small task, and in the world of Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare it is a milestone. In the graph below we have provided more details on just how the RTC requirements enhances the clinical programing.

The next question we are often asked is “why go to all the trouble to meet the qualifications for RTC level of care?"

There are really two answers to this question: 1) We recognize and value the importance of providing a high level of clinical services to our clients. 2) By meeting the RTC requirements we can preauthorize and bill insurance on behalf of the families we serve, allowing us to expand access to this highly effective form of treatment.

What have the results been? The results of enhancing clinical programing with the RTC qualifications have been undeniably positive. As you can see in the graph below our clients are arriving in high clinical distress, slowly progressing back into normal functioning range, graduating well below clinical cut off, and most importantly these treatment gains are maintained 6-months and 12-months post discharge.


Not all residential treatment centers are the same in regard to programing, however there are some common high standards and qualifications that need to be met for a program to qualify for the RTC licensure. The following are some of the standards and programing that Legacy and Juniper Canyon have in place that helps us meet and or exceed the standards of RTC level of care. These measures make a meaningful impact on the quality of our outcomes.

  1. Our clients have continuous 24/7 support. This is a huge advantage compared to other levels of care. This constant support helps build relationship, enhance client investment, track client progress and identify areas of struggle.

  2. Change of environment. Changing the environment in which a client is receiving treatment helps create space from the client’s current life and disfunction. Clients are often living in situations that hinder their ability to improve on their own. Creating separation from potentially toxic environments, people, triggering places, etc. is often is the first step on the path to healthy progress. During this process clients often gain insight and perspective and how to assess their core values and identify the compromises they have been making.

  3. Legacy and Juniper Canyon provide diverse and individualized modalities of therapy. We have gone to great lengths to provide many avenues for treatment so that we can truly meet a client where they are at, and so we can provide individualized treatment throughout our organization. We also go beyond traditional forms of treatment by incorporating holistic approaches and offering modalities that treat the mind, body, and spirit. Some common modalities that we incorporate into treatment include trauma therapy, adventure therapy, equine therapy, art therapy, and various kinds of experiential therapies.

  4. Numerous clinical sessions. Not only do we provide our clients and families with an abundance of therapeutic modalities, but we also provide significantly more clinical sessions and groups than often found in traditional wilderness therapy. Our clients see a therapist multiple times throughout the week and have services provided by a licensed clinical staff on a daily basis. This level of clinical service helps kick-start the therapeutic process and enhances the therapeutic relationship. The therapeutic relationship is not only nurtured by the frequency of sessions, but also the fact that our unique approach of combining residential treatment with Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare, provides our therapists the opportunity to see clients in other settings (not just within the confines of an office). Our therapists and counselors often facilitate therapy groups, go out on adventures, share meals and participate in experiential activities with our clients. This allows our therapists to see clients in multiple situations and gain further insight into who they are and what they struggle with.

  5. Structure and Routine. This is a common factor for residential treatment centers. Clients have some clear set expectation in regard to adventure prep, roles and responsibilities, scheduled clinical sessions and medical appointments. However, at Legacy and Juniper Canyon we have been very intentional about empowering our clients to take ownership in the process by inviting them to help plan and prepare for each adventure and to work with clinicians and guides collaboratively to create the structure. By taking this approach we see a higher level of ownership in the process from clients and in turn they are able to celebrate the successes as their own.

Again on the graph shown above you can see some of the qualifications that Legacy Treatment Center programs have in place to meet RTC level of care as well as what to look for in seeking residential treatment, such as:

  • Accreditation and/or Licensure – The state has set the licensure requirements for mental health treatment centers, in addition to receiving licensure, Legacy has qualified for additional accreditation, self-selecting to go above and beyond by going through a series of evaluations to reach high standards in quality of care and outcomes. While not required, it is our goal to set the standard in high quality treatment and outcomes.

  • Access to Emergency Care Services – Any good residential treatment facility will have working relationships with the local hospitals and/or urgent care facilities. We work locally with our clinic and have established relationships with the hospitals and detox’s we work with.

  • Aftercare Planning – Understanding the Legacy and Juniper Canyon are just the beginning of a new path for our clients we emphasis quality life planning. While the process for this often starts soon after admission, Legacy and Juniper Canyon have dedicated a portion of the programing specifically to support our clients with aftercare and life planning. We created what we call Summit House, this is the graduation phase of our program and clients have increased access to computer and phone so they can be actively engaged in making arrangements and preparing for the transition. Whether our clients are going on to an aftercare or home they are graduating with a plan in place and will be prepared and aware of what is in store ahead.

  • Credentialed Staff – It is important for any quality RTC to have appropriately trained and credentialed staff, but also an adequate number of staff available. At Legacy and Juniper Canyon our staff are at the heart of our work, each potentially employee is vetted and invited to take a good look at us to see if we are who we say we are, in turn we do the same, and only after collectively we have concluded that the staff has the qualifications and fits within our culture will employment be considered. This high level of vetting has resulted in strong work culture, very low turnover rates and high levels of job satisfaction.

Legacy Outdoor Adventures and Juniper Canyon Recovery Center are Licensed Residential Treatment Facilities for adult men and women. If you have a loved one who is suffering from mental health or co-occurring substance abuse disorders, finding the right placement is essential. We have created safe caring programs with certified professionals to provide your loved one with effective treatment that meets and exceeds the highest standards of care. For more information contact admission at (866) 436-4458.

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Legacy programs are highly respected by the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBH) as well as other leaders in mental and behavioral healthcare. 



ADDRESS: P.O. BOX 400 LOA, UT 84747

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