While every addiction treatment center has varying program lengths, it is generally agreed that the longer somebody with a substance use disorder stays in treatment – the better the outcome will be after discharge. After years of substance misuse and abuse, developing the skills necessary for long-term recovery will not happen overnight. Early recovery is a fragile time, clients are extremely vulnerable to relapse; longer time periods in treatment will protect clients from the pressures and temptations of the outside world.
Not surprisingly, on the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website the organization states that less than 90 days in treatment for addiction is of limited effectiveness, and “research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length.” NIDA is a federal government agency, one that lawmakers turn to when making decisions regarding addiction treatment in the United States.
This week, the governing body of Medicaid proposed to cover 15 days of inpatient rehab per month for anyone enrolled in a managed care plan, NPR reports. While the proposal is a step in the right direction and one that would take some of the fiscal burden off state and local mental health agencies, there are a number of experts in the field of addiction medicine that say 15 days is not enough.
“Where they came up with the 15 days, I don’t know, but it’s not based on research,” says Mike Harle, head of the nonprofit treatment program in Pennsylvania.
In the past, people battling addiction had to rely entirely upon state and local sources, so when the federal government offers to chip in, it is a sign of changes for the better. However, after 15 days a client is just beginning to come out of the cloudy state of detoxification and it is when the real work begins with regard to learning how to live a life free from drugs and alcohol. Even treatment facilities that offer a thirty-day program will almost always strongly encourage clients to enroll in either inpatient or outpatient extended care program. Clients who opt against taking such advice put themselves at great risk of relapse.
There has been limited funding for researching what the optimal length of an inpatient treatment, with regard to how effective the outcome will be, according to Dr. Jeffrey Samet, a professor at Boston University’s Clinical Addiction research unit. He adds that without such data, private insurance fluctuates with how many days of treatment they will cover.
At PACE Recovery Center we offer extended residential care for men only – gender specific treatment, additionally we also have an intensive outpatient program and transitional living program. We are happy to work with our clients and/or their families to verify insurance benefits and coverage.