Partial hospitalization programs bridge the time between inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment and help people prepare for life in recovery.
A partial hospitalization program (PHP) connects the acute, structured setting of inpatient treatment and the autonomy of outpatient treatment. These intensive programs offer at least 20 hours of weekly services, and the duration of care depends on facility policies and individual needs. At The Recovery Village, group therapy sessions in our PHP occur six days per week, for five to six hours daily. On average, people remain in a PHP for one to three weeks.
Research shows that PHPs can reduce symptoms of substance use disorders and mental health conditions at less cost than inpatient or residential settings. Partial hospitalization offers access to acute medical and mental health services in a compressed time frame and is particularly well-suited for people managing co-occurring disorders or two conditions simultaneously.
What Is Partial Hospitalization?
One way to define PHP is to understand the differences between PHP and its inpatient and outpatient treatment counterparts. Partial hospitalization programs consist of short-term, intensive treatment. It’s less intense than inpatient programs but has more services and a higher level of care than outpatient treatment.
Most PHPs offer similar amenities to inpatient treatment. Activities in a PHP usually include:
- Medical support
- Mental health counseling
- Several types of therapy, including traditional talk therapy and holistic options like art activities
- Relapse prevention planning
- Education about mental health conditions
- Psycho-educational activities
- Access to indoor and outdoor amenities, as medically appropriate
- Family counseling
- Medication-assisted treatment
Partial hospitalization can be a starting point for recovery but is usually a direct segue from inpatient hospitalization. Since PHP is often the first treatment after inpatient, it is integral to establishing healthy habits for sobriety. PHP can also be a good fit for patients with co-occurring mental health disorders or medical problems that make treatment needs more complex.
How Partial Hospitalization Works
The PHP treatment model became widely popular in the 1990s due to its effectiveness. A growing body of research shows that partial hospitalization programs reduce symptoms associated with addiction and mental health conditions.
Typically, partial hospitalization programs are offered as a step-down program after completing an inpatient hospitalization or residential treatment. These programs allow patients to reintegrate into the world outside of the protective structure of acute inpatient care. However, PHPs can still offer high-level services and therapeutic programming on a relatively short-term basis. Some people may begin with a PHP to reduce their risk of requiring hospitalization.
In PHP, patients are usually physically and psychologically stable and do not need inpatient hospitalization. Patients participate in activities several times daily. These activities consist primarily of individual and group therapy sessions designed to improve a patient’s self-confidence, decision-making skills and communication abilities. Nurses provide continuous assessment and education about medication, and patients have regular access to medical and psychiatric care.
Planning for treatment in a PHP usually starts during the preceding inpatient or residential stay. Program administrators help patients understand the program’s structure and ensure their understanding of exactly which costs will be covered and by whom.
Services Offered in PHP
Partial hospitalization programs usually offer several different services, including:
These include evaluations of mental health and substance abuse. At The Recovery Village, patients often receive intake services in medical detox or inpatient care, as PHP is a step down from these higher levels of care.
Partial hospitalization programs are often housed within a larger healthcare system, meaning they provide a range of medical services, which can include:
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Care for acute medical issues
- Laboratory testing
In addition to medical services, patients in PHP receive therapy, which can take the form of one or more of the following:
- Individual talk therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- Mutual help groups, like AA
- Holistic activities like art, music and yoga
Benefits of Partial Hospitalization Programs
Since PHPs bridge the space between inpatient hospitalization and outpatient treatment, the benefits of partial hospitalization programs include elements common to both treatments:
- Structured, intensive therapy
- Expanded access to medical care
- High access to mental health care
- Regular meetings
Additional benefits of PHPs include:
- Program hours: The partial hospitalization hours are often similar to those of office-based employment, designed to help patients transition back into working hours and solidify their understanding of how much work sobriety requires.
- Structured daytime treatment schedule: The schedule underscores the importance of a PHP to the recovery efforts of someone in early sobriety and serves as a reminder that learning sobriety skills must be a top priority.
- Better chance at life-long sobriety: People who participate in PHPs as a continuum of rehab programs, like starting with medical detox and transitioning to inpatient and then a PHP, typically have stronger recoveries than people who participate in only one program.
PHP for Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders
When a mental health condition accompanies a drug or alcohol addiction, it intensifies the treatment level required. Without treatment, co-occurring addiction and mental health conditions result in worse outcomes. With integrated treatment, both conditions improve more than treating either independently.
Partial hospitalization programs are particularly well-suited to meet the needs of patients with co-occurring mental health conditions. It takes time and expertise to understand how addiction and mental health conditions interact and how treatment affects the outcomes of these conditions.
At The Recovery Village, medical professionals and psychiatric care providers are well-versed in co-occurring disorders treatment and understand its impact on a person’s ability to engage in a full recovery effort.
Are You a Good Candidate for PHP?
The candidates most likely to be a fit for partial hospitalization programs are:
- Those who demonstrate the desire and capacity to participate in therapy actively
- Patients who have completed medical detox
- Patients transitioning from residential treatment or inpatient hospitalization
- Those with stability in housing, social support and community
If you are seeking treatment for addiction, a mental health condition or both, it is important to know whether or not PHP is the optimal level of treatment. Patients are most likely to effectively utilize a partial hospitalization program if they:
- Need intensive therapy but do not meet criteria for inpatient hospitalization
- Require medical follow-up without acute medical treatment needs
- Have a co-occurring addiction and mental health condition
- Desire an effective transition from the structure of inpatient or residential treatment to outpatient therapy
Pros and Cons of PHP
While PHP can be incredibly beneficial for people who are a suitable fit for this care level, partial hospitalization programs come with pros and cons.
The advantages of PHP include:
- Access to highly structured programming outside of the inpatient setting
- Treatment of co-occurring mental health conditions
- Provision of medical services
- Lower cost than inpatient or residential treatment
- Linkage to outpatient services upon discharge
Some of the drawbacks of PHP include:
- Many hours are spent in treatment daily, which can make it difficult to maintain employment or care for a family while in a PHP
- Lack of around-the-clock care, which can be a drawback for patients with a severe addiction
How Much Does Partial Hospitalization Cost?
As a rule, the more intensive the rehab program is, the higher the treatment cost. Partial hospitalization programs represent a less intense setting than inpatient or residential treatment, and thus PHP costs less. However, because partial hospitalization provides access to high-level medical care and mental health treatment, it costs more than standard outpatient programs.
One of the primary reasons why partial hospitalization programs have become increasingly popular with patients is because PHP is a cost-effective option for addiction treatment. However, the cost of a PHP depends on factors like:
- The rehab center offering the PHP (e.g., a luxury facility will charge more than a clinic)
- The facility’s location (e.g., rehab costs may vary by state)
- The details, amenities and activities of the program
- Whether a client has health insurance
- Whether a client is only pursuing a PHP or is transitioning from inpatient to a PHP
To understand the cost of PHP, a person can:
- Call their health insurance provider
- Calculate insurance coverage for rehab with an online calculator
- Call the rehab facility directly
- Call The Recovery Village
If costs are a concern, several different payment options may cover PHP. You may qualify for Medicare or Medicaid benefits if you do not have private insurance. Some state-funded programs also offer sliding fee scales based on your income, which can lower the cost of care.
Find Partial Hospitalization Programs Near Me
Since partial hospitalization programs have increased in popularity in the last 20 years, you may readily locate PHPs. To begin your search for a PHP, you can:
- Search treatment options by zip code
- Use a treatment locator map
- See if any locations of The Recovery Village are in your state
- Contact a representative at The Recovery Village
However, it is important to understand if the partial hospitalization programs you find are appropriate for your needs. So, when you type in “Partial hospitalization program near me” into a search engine, it may be helpful to have an evaluation checklist when sifting through the results.
What To Look For in a PHP
Consider certain criteria when searching for quality PHP. First, choosing a fully licensed program by your state that offers immediate access to mental health care is important. A quality PHP should also provide access to medical services and allow you to be seen by a psychiatrist.
Other important things to consider include whether the program offers individual, family and group therapy. Most PHPs provide a combination of individual and group therapy sessions. Selecting a program that offers medication management and MAT services is also helpful, as you may require pharmacological treatment with therapy.
Finally, it’s essential to consider the cost. Before settling on a PHP program, ask what insurance they accept. You may need to verify your benefits or talk with your insurance company to determine the percentage of the program that your benefits will cover. If you do not have insurance, inquire about payment plans or other funding options.
Partial Hospitalization Programs at The Recovery Village
At The Recovery Village, our partial hospitalization program is most often utilized as a step down from being in the intense, 24-hour environment of inpatient or residential treatment. Compared to the more acute treatment types, in a PHP, many of the same services and amenities may be available in a more compressed time frame.
Partial hospitalization programs at The Recovery Village offer these services:
- Comprehensive evaluation and treatment planning
- Continued medical support
- Mental health counseling
- Medication management, if necessary
- Individual, group and family therapy
- Access to amenities as medically appropriate
- Progress reviews on treatment goals
- Recreational therapy options
- Options to transition to intensive outpatient or outpatient programming
The Recovery Village offers many different levels of treatment for addiction and mental health care. To ensure you are connected to the program that meets your needs, our staff will take time to understand the history of your condition and the outcome of your past treatment efforts. We will assess for co-occurring conditions and conduct an initial evaluation on whether you are likely to need medical detoxification. We will help you find the best fit for you.
If you believe you could benefit from a PHP, The Recovery Village can help. Calls to our admissions team are free and confidential, with no obligation to you. Get in touch with us today, and learn more about this opportunity to start your recovery journey.
Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program. “Overview of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Care Clinical Guidelines: A Resource for States Developing SUD Delivery System Reforms“>Overview[…]ystem Reforms.” Medicaid.gov, April 2017. Accessed February 8, 2023.
Leung, Musetta Y.; Drozd, Edward M.; Maier, Janet. “Impacts Associated with the Medicare Psy[…]italization Programs“>Impacts […]tion Programs.” Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, February 2009. Accessed February 9, 2023.
Schene, A. H. “The effectiveness of psychiatric partial hospitalization and day care.“>The effe[…]and day care.” Current Opinion in Psychiatry, July 2004. Accessed February 9, 2023.
Rush, B.R.; Dennis, M.L.; Scott, C.K.; Castel, S.; Funk, R.R. “The interaction of co-occurring mental d[…]pation and recovery.“>The inte[…]and recovery.” Evaluation Review, 2008. Accessed February 9, 2023.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.