Because addiction can change the way the brain works, detox and residential care alone does not provide enough long-term care to create new habits and sufficiently treat addiction in many patients. The majority of patients require additional support that can be found in outpatient programs. Studies show that the more support one has, the more likely they are to remain abstinent, and that the longer one stays sober, the less likely they are to relapse. Aftercare and alumni programs are therefore critical to the long term success of your clients and should be prioritized as part of your program.
The Elements of an Aftercare Program
Aftercare programs can look very different from treatment center to treatment center. Some programs may include sober residences while others focus on outpatient treatment like partial-hospitalization or group therapy.
However, a great aftercare program addresses the many aspects of daily life that can contribute to drug use. The aftercare program should offer resources and support to help connect patients with others in the community who can help them succeed in maintaining their abstinence.
A great aftercare program provides:
Family or group therapy opportunities to build stronger, more supportive relationships
Connections to housing resources in the community to prevent homelessness
Help applying for and accessing financial programs, such as food stamps, TANF, or other assistance programs
Access to legal aid or legal resources
Vocation and job training to give patients purpose as well as financial support
Education on addiction, abstinence and techniques to maintain sobriety
Connections to free or low-cost medical care for other health conditions or help applying for Medicaid or other insurance programs
Mental health care and counseling for other behavioral health conditions like depression and anxiety
Great aftercare programs also provide an understanding, supportive community where patients can meet others who are experiencing the same struggles. Patients can learn from each other, finding techniques and motivation to stay sober. It also offers them social opportunities that they know will be free from alcohol or drug use.
Aftercare programs also work best when staffed by professionals, not community volunteers. A multidisciplinary, full staff of psychologists, social workers, physicians, and others can help keep patients engaged and ensure they receive the right care for success.
The Length of Aftercare Programs
Each patient may require different levels and lengths of aftercare to support sobriety. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that most people require at least 90 days of treatment for success. Unfortunately, inpatient treatment often falls far short of this number. That’s why aftercare programs are necessary; they provide longer term care so patients have a greater opportunity to fight addiction.
How to Bill for Aftercare
You can bill for aftercare and alumni programs in many cases as long as they are run by certified and licensed professionals. These programs also offer the opportunity to better track patient outcomes, which can help you negotiate for higher reimbursement rates by proving that your treatment works.
At Datapro billing, we can help you navigate billing for your various aftercare programs, whether you offer an alumni group or intensive outpatient therapy. Contact us to determine how you can better track patient outcomes and increase your revenue by billing appropriately for comprehensive aftercare services.