Later this month, LegitScript will officially begin the initial phase of our certification program for drug and alcohol addiction treatment providers. This aligns with the timing of Google’s implementation of its advertising policy around addiction services; advertisers with LegitScript certification will be able to request certification with Google starting later this month.
Over the last three months, we completed a sort of “pre-launch” phase in which we aimed to certify up to 30 facilities or advertisers as a ramp up to our program and to Google’s acceptance of addiction treatment advertisers. We want to give an update of where we’re at in the process, and what applicants can expect in the near future as we enter into our next phrase of the program.
First, before the end of July, our initial batch of certified applicants will be notified by email. I’m pleased to note that, at this point, it appears we’ll have exceeded our goal of 30 facilities or advertisers: it looks like we’ll exceed 100 approved facilities or advertisers approved in the pre-launch phase.
I also wanted to clarify that just as Google will begin allowing advertisers in this space later this month, we’ve also viewed LegitScript’s program as officially starting and being at full speed at the same time, with the past three months having been a preliminary phase designed to be intentional and methodical about designing a certification process. I know that many of our applicants have been eager to get certified, especially as part of the pre-launch batch, which was always intended to be a bit more limited in scope. Having a pre-launch phase has afforded us the space to effectively address unanticipated issues and solicit feedback from applicants about the process. For example, we retooled the way in which we approach addiction treatment providers that have many closely related facilities. We’ve heard from applicants about what we’re doing well and what we can do better, and we’ll continue to refine and improve our processes as we move forward. And now, we’re looking forward to more fully launching the program.
To be transparent about our process, we want to note that not every applicant we’ve reviewed has passed certification. Whenever possible, we work with applicants that have minor problems to help them come into compliance. However, applicants in violation of any of our certification standards that refuse to remediate will not be certified. We will also regularly monitor those that are certified to make sure they stay in compliance.
As we transition out of our preliminary phase, we’ll begin to ramp up our certification efforts to a speed that allows us to maintain our rigorous vetting standards while efficiently working through the completed applications that are ready to be processed. Once an applicant is certified, the website of the facility or service will be searchable on legitscript.com and will show up as being LegitScript-certified. Members of the public looking for addiction treatment services will be able to go to our website to verify whether a provider has been certified by LegitScript.
As we stated in our addiction treatment certification FAQ, we’re initially offering certification only to providers in the US, and at present we are not accepting applications for recovery residents (a facility that is not providing clinical services or addiction treatment, but that instead provides a cooperative living environment and is typically located in a private residence or similar setting and is not part of a larger treatment program offered by an addiction treatment provider). Our priority for the time being is to work through the US-based in-person addiction treatment facilities, mutual support groups, and crisis hotlines that have applied for certification.
Once Google reopens advertising for addiction services later this month, we know that providers of addiction treatment services who have submitted completed applications to us will want to receive their certification as soon as possible to take advantage of Google Ads. We have a growing team of analysts and policy experts working on this certification program, and we’re committed to quickly moving the good actors through the process while also serving as a filter to weed out those who fail to adhere to our standards.
Later this summer, we will also be offering a way for members of the public to report opportunistic addiction treatment providers that fail to provide quality service to patients, similar to the way people can report an illicit online pharmacy. We’re excited to see this program unfolding, and we’re honored to be part of the solution to stop the problematic and exploitative addiction treatment services that are contributing to our nation’s addiction epidemic.