When people think of addiction rehab, they may first think of inpatient or residential programs, but they are not the only effective type of substance abuse treatment available. A partial hospitalization program (PHP) offers intensive services as an alternative to inpatient care or as a step down after an inpatient stay.
What is a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)?
A partial hospitalization program or PHP is a step between intensive outpatient and residential services for substance abuse. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), PHP programs are those that offer at least 20 hours of services each week. PHP services may be standalone or they can operate within larger hospitals or healthcare systems as distinct treatment units.
Benefits of PHP Treatment
One of the clear benefits of PHP treatment is that clients who participate in such a program can go home at night. They do not have to be away from family for extended periods of time to participate in treatment.
PHPs also offer a wide range of services within the same location. Clients who opt for this form of treatment can often have all of their needs for addiction services met within the same program.
PHP treatment is more intensive than traditional outpatient or even intensive outpatient services. Clients who are living with severe substance use disorders may find that PHP is especially helpful. It keeps them on track and prevents relapse since they spend so much time in a rehab setting.
Finally, a PHP can prevent people from needing to be hospitalized or placed in inpatient or residential treatment, which can generally be more expensive than less intensive services.
Types of Treatment in PHP
Partial hospitalization programs provide a variety of treatment services to clients to meet the wide range of needs that come with a substance use disorder. A PHP program can offer the following services:
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- Education groups
- Various forms of therapy
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- Family therapy
- Medical care and laboratory services
- Treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions
Who Qualifies for PHP?
PHP services are intense, so they are beneficial for people living with severe addictions that require structured programming and daily monitoring. Clients who require intensive care but do not need to be in a residential or inpatient setting may qualify for PHP.
To be successful with PHP, it is important to have reliable transportation to and from treatment each day. Clients must also have safe housing with supportive family members or roommates to benefit from PHP. Those who are homeless or who live with others struggling with addiction will have difficulty being successful in PHP treatment since they return home each night.
What to Expect in PHP?
If you enter a partial hospitalization program, you can expect to spend a significant amount of time in treatment each day. You will likely have a daily schedule that requires you to meet with various members of a multidisciplinary team. If you choose to complete rehab in a PHP, expect to spend four or more hours each weekday in treatment. Some programs are even more intense.
Your daily schedule in PHP may involve drug testing, individual therapy, group sessions and educational programming. If you participate in MAT, a nurse or doctor may dispense medications to you to help you remain sober. If you have a co-occurring condition like anxiety or bipolar disorder, you may meet with a treatment provider to receive mental health services.
After completing a partial hospitalization program, you may transition into an intensive outpatient or standard outpatient program to allow you to strengthen the skills gained in the PHP and continue to stay sober.
Some insurance plans offer coverage for partial hospitalization, but each plan is different. While not all insurance programs cover addiction treatment, those that do offer coverage must cover addiction treatment to the same extent that they cover medical and surgical services, according to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. You can contact your insurance provider directly to verify your specific substance abuse insurance coverage.
The cost of a PHP will vary based upon the type of insurance you have, whether or not your plan covers addiction services and your copay for services. If you have questions about what treatment will cost for you, reach out to your insurance provider or the facility offering the PHP. If you lack insurance, some PHP programs offer payment plans to meet the budget of the client.
The length of a PHP stay varies based upon each person’s unique needs. According to 2009 claims data, the average length of treatment for PHP is about 36 days in a hospital and 66 days in community treatment centers.
You can find a PHP rehab in your area by contacting your local mental health board or community mental health clinic. SAMHSA also offers a behavioral health treatment locator tool that allows you to search for services near you. This tool will also provide information about what sort of insurance and payment methods each service provider accepts.
American Society of Addiction Medicine. “What are the ASAM Levels of Care?” May 13, 2015. Accessed May 3, 2020.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).” October 27, 2016. Accessed May 3, 2020.
Leung, Musetta, et al. “Impacts Associated with the Medicare Psychiatric PPS: A Study of Partial Hospitalization Programs.” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, February 2009. Accessed May 3, 2020.
Medicaid.gov. “Overview of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Care Clinical Guidelines: A Resource for States Developing SUD Delivery System Reforms.” April 2017. Accessed May 3, 2020.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.” Accessed May 3, 2020.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.