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Michael W. Johnson, MA, CAP - CARF International. Tucson, AZ, US

Michael W. Johnson, MA, CAP

Senior Managing Director of Behavioral Health | CARF International


A creative, solutions-oriented leader who is passionate about improving quality in behavioral healthcare.






Michael Johnson at The National Council's Hill Day loading image Michael Johnson presenting at the 2019 Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention executive committee meeting loading image Michael Johnson moderates a town hall session titled: Behavioral Health: A National Perspectives Town Hall loading image Michael Johnson leading an International Standards Advisory Committee to develop new standards for Medication Assisted Treatment Programs loading image


Interview with CARF Behavioral Health Managing Director Michael Johnson




Experienced executive in behavioral healthcare, Michael joined CARF in 2013. He is a certified addictions professional and has more than 30 years of experience as a clinician, manager, and executive working in mental health, substance abuse, and intellectual disabilities. He was a CARF surveyor for 16 years. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal communications and a master’s degree in communications, both from the University of Central Florida.

Areas of Expertise (9)

Office Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT)

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics

Mental Health (Severe Mental Illness) Practice and Policy

Suicide Prevention

Substance Use Disorders

Addictions Counselling

Performance Management

Behavioral Health Stigma

Addictions Treatment

Accomplishments (2)

Leaders Leading Leaders Award (professional)


Inaugural award winner from the Marcus Buckingham Company

Certified Addictions Professional (professional)


Certified Addictions Professional, State of Florida

Education (2)

University of Central Florida: M.A., Communications


University of Central Florida: B.A., Interpersonal Communications


Media Appearances (6)

CARF Accreditation: It's Not An Event, It's A Process

Simpiflyance  online


Simplifyance™ had the privilege of speaking with Michael Johnson, Senior Managing Director of Behavioral Health for CARF International. We delved into the world of accreditation, discussing its immense value, the supportive process for organizations during surveys, and uncovering key best practices. CARF is renowned for its commitment to ensuring excellence in healthcare delivery and service outcomes. Michael shared valuable insights into the accreditation process and shed light on how CARF assists organizations in achieving survey success. Michael emphasized the importance of person-centered care, evidence-based practices, and fostering a culture of accountability and learning. These elements are crucial in driving positive outcomes and delivering compassionate, effective care to those in need.

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New CARF standards address variability of care in office-based opioid treatment settings

CARF International  online


More than 170 advisory council participants and field review respondents provided feedback to create the first national best-practice framework. “Providers that attain this accreditation will be able to demonstrate to persons served, regulators, and payers that they offer a comprehensive array of services and supports designed to help persons served achieve recovery," says Michael Johnson, CARF’s managing director of behavioral health.

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Ill Treatment podcast

Ill Treatment  online


Michael Johnson was interviewed for the podcast 'Ill Treatment." The mission of Ill Treatment is, "To continuously improve in informing the public, in collaboration with other prominent figures within the field, by evaluating drug and alcohol addiction treatment organizations and inspiring them to safely and effectively make an informed decision on where to obtain the highest quality of care."

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Suicide prevention standards address public health crisis

CARF International  online


“In the United States, someone dies by suicide every 13 minutes. For veterans, that rate is roughly every 70 minutes,” says Michael Johnson, CARF’s managing director of Behavioral Health. “This is happening every hour, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. But we don’t talk about it; it doesn’t consume our news cycle. We are responding to a crisis. We need to strengthen and mainstream a response that can get traction on a broad scale.”

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CARF’s specialty standards for older adults address the coming demographic shift among persons served

CARF International  online


"We recognize that the treatment of older adults with behavioral healthcare needs requires special attention," says Michael Johnson, CARF's managing director for behavioral health. "As people age, they sometimes experience behavioral healthcare needs for the first time in their lives and, although this population is often underserved now, the demographic shift in our population will demand organizations meet their needs. We want to make sure that the needs of this population are addressed through specialty standards that focus on care coordination, training, and attention to their unique family circumstances. Having an Older Adults designation should help both persons served and organizations match up with each other for the benefit of both."

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Baby Boomers Haven't Forgotten How to Get High

Psychology Today  


Michael Johnson, M.A., C.A.P., Managing Director of the Behavioral Health Division at CARF International, stated, “We at CARF International are concerned about the growing substance misuse and addiction in the older population. We will be adding standards for providers to include drug education and assessments more thoroughly when serving older adults.”

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Event Appearances (5)

Understanding the ASAM Level of Care Certification Program

Executive Summit on Addictions Treatment  Hilo, Hawaii


Translating evidence to practice – Leveraging accreditation standards to promote best practices in suicide care

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention executive committee meeting  Washington, DC


Measurement-Based Care

Addictions Executive Industry Summitt  Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida


Accreditation and Certification Programs For Medical Homes & Health Homes: Where Are We Now, & Where Are We Headed in the Future?

Open Minds  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

The Future of Behavioral Healthcare, Keynote Address

Georgia Association of Community Service Boards  Chateau Elan, Georgia


Articles (1)

Best Practices in Care Transitions for Individuals with Suicide Risk: Inpatient Care to Outpatient Care

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention 


This report advances goals 8 and 9 of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and presents feasible, evidence-based practices that health systems can take to improve patient engagement and safety during the transition from inpatient to outpatient behavioral health care. Mike Johnson, as a member of the advisory group, contributed to the report, handout and video.

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