Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) for Addiction
What is a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)?
A partial hospitalization program (PHP)—aka day treatment—is an intensive and highly structured form of outpatient rehab that allows patients to live at home as opposed to within an inpatient treatment center. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), treatment programs featuring daily treatment for 6 hours per day or more constitute PHPs. That said, treatment duration and requirements vary by facility.1 For example, PHPs offered by American Addiction Centers typically involve treatment for 3 to 7 days per week in 6- to 8-hour time blocks.
To better comprehend how a PHP compares to other types of treatment, it helps to understand the levels of care set forth by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). This respected organization developed a widely used set of guidelines to determine the placement, transfer, and discharge of people seeking addiction and co-occurring disorder treatment. The ASAM continuum of care is ranked on a scale of 0.5 to 4, from early intervention to medically managed intensive inpatient services, respectively. PHPs fall near the middle of this care continuum, ranking as a 2.5 level of care.2
- Medication management.
- Individual and group therapy.
- Family therapy.
- Educational groups.
- Occupational and recreational therapies.
However, PHP care involves a slightly lower intensity—and a somewhat lower cost—than inpatient treatment. Conversely, the level of intensity at a PHP is greater than that found in both traditional outpatient care and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), the latter of which is another form of structured outpatient treatment.6
Most often, PHP patients have either completed or don’t require detox, and they don’t need 24-hour supervision to ensure their safety and foster ongoing sobriety.6 PHPs can be employed in lieu of inpatient treatment, or they can be used as a continuation of care following an inpatient program. In either case, PHPs provide a balance of structured and regular treatment, but they allow patients to live at home and practice coping and recovery skills in real-life environments.
PHP Treatment Objectives for Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) provide a host of benefits including psychosocial support and individual treatment, both of which can help patients develop coping and relapse-prevention and -management strategies.6 While each PHP is unique, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has established several goals for Level 2 programs such as IOPs and PHPs, including:1
- Achieving abstinence.
- Fostering behavior changes that support a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle.
- Improving coping and problem-solving skills.
- Facilitating participation in community-based support systems such as 12-step programs.
- Assisting patients in identifying and dealing with psychosocial issues (e.g., employment, housing, adherence to probation limitations).
- Aiding patients in developing a positive social network.
What Is the Difference between PHPs and IOPs?
Both PHPs and IOPs are forms of outpatient care, but IOPs (ASAM level 2.1) are slightly less intense than PHPs (level 2.5).2 Additionally, both programs typically last between 30 and 90 days, and they comprise similar therapies, such as individual and group counseling, medical treatment, and case management.1
While both IOPs and PHPs offer structured outpatient treatment, IOPs are generally less rigorous, requiring a minimum of 9 hours of weekly programming, often in 3 sessions lasting 3 hours each.1
Although both outpatient options are best suited to those who don’t need intensive, around-the-clock care, IOPs offer a bit more flexibility with regard to treatment requirements. As such, they’re often viable options for those whose personal and professional responsibilities make it impossible to participate in a PHP.
What Happens During PHP Treatment for Drug or Alcohol Addiction?
Many of the same therapies and services provided in inpatient care are also available in partial hospitalization programs. While individual programs vary, typical services provided by PHPs and IOPs include:1
- Personalized treatment planning and reviews.
- Individual and group counseling and therapy.
- Psychoeducational programming.
- Medication management and pharmacotherapy.
- Case management.
- 24-hour crisis coverage.
- Monitoring for drug and alcohol use.
- Medical treatment as needed.
- Psychiatric exams and psychotherapy.
- Community-based support groups.
- Family involvement and counseling.
- Vocational training and employment services.
- Biopsychosocial screening and assessments.
- Transition management and discharge planning.
Addiction specialists throughout various levels of care use a wide range of behavioral therapies, many of which can also be found in PHP programs. These typically include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which addresses factors contributing to drug and alcohol misuse and builds relapse-prevention skills by helping patients to learn, identify, and change behaviors.. Other therapies, such as motivational interviewing (MI) and contingency management (CM), are particularly helpful at the beginning of treatment as they encourage patients to engage in recovery and build a plan for a change.7
Should I Choose PHP Treatment for Drug or Alcohol Addiction?
Effective treatment is customized to the individual needs of each patient. As such, it’s important to work with a healthcare provider or addiction professional to determine whether a PHP is right for you.
Generally speaking, however, PHPs are often employed following inpatient treatment as a form of continuing care or as a first step in recovery, possibly immediately after detox.
Since PHP patients stay in their homes overnight and typically travel to a facility for treatment, some factors may more positively impact the outcomes of PHP treatment than others. PHPs may be well-suited to patients that:6
- Don’t require (or have completed) detox.
- Don’t need 24-hour monitoring to ensure safety and abstinence.
- Have a sober home environment that supports—rather than challenges—their recovery. (When home environments are challenging, sober living or Oxford house environments may serve as alternative living environments during PHP treatment.)
- Can secure reliable transportation to and from treatment.
What to Look for in a Partial Hospitalization Program for Drug or Alcohol Addiction
If you’ve determined that a PHP is a viable solution for you or a loved one, it’s important to shop around for a quality facility. Factors to consider during your search include:
- Location. Since you won’t be living at the facility, it’s important that the PHP you choose is either relatively close to your home or near other suitable housing, such as outpatient living environments, sober living facilities, Oxford houses, etc.
- Facility accreditations. Reputable rehabs are accredited by various organizations, including both state and national certification programs. Look for accreditations and certifications such as:
- Staff licenses/certifications. High-quality PHPs typically include a mix of specialized professionals as opposed to a couple of generalized individuals that wear multiple hats. Most of these individuals should have state or national licenses such as:
- LADC (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor)
- LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor)
- CAC (Certified Addictions Counselor)
- CCDP (Certified Co-occurring Disorders Counselor)
- NCAC (National Certified Addiction Counselor)
- MAC (Master Addiction Counselor)
- Reviews. Explore online reviews to see what patients are saying about the facility. Also inquire with the facility to see if it has an alumni program, which can offer valuable support following PHP treatment and throughout recovery.
- Payment options. If you have insurance, determine if the facility is in-network with your provider and how much you’ll pay out of pocket for treatment. If you don’t have insurance, ask about other payment options, such as sliding-fee scales, payment plans, and more as described below.
- Special-population programs. Some PHPs cater to specific populations, such as Veterans, single-parent households, pregnant women, trauma survivors, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and more. Members of these groups may feel more comfortable and supported when surrounded by their peers.
- Therapies. Some people prefer specific therapies over other options. If you have strong preferences, inquire about the therapies available through each program.
How Much Does a PHP for Drug or Alcohol Addiction Cost?
PHPs are a cost-effective treatment option compared to inpatient or residential treatment programs.3 That said, costs vary widely depending on each patient’s needs and factors such as:4
- Individual facility pricing.
- Length of treatment.
- Community versus hospital-based programs.
- Insurance coverage.
- Facility location.
- Payment type (e.g., out of pocket, sliding-fee scale, financing, health insurance, etc.)
If you have insurance, PHP coverage varies by plan. Thus, the best way to understand your costs is to verify your benefits with your carrier. Or, contact American Addiction Centers at to determine your benefits for use at one of its facilities.
For those without insurance, there are other ways to pay for PHP treatment such as:
- Cash, credit, and loans. Most facilities accept payment in the form of cash or credit. Additionally, many patients secure funding via loans from family, friends, and/or institutions specializing in addiction financing.
- Sliding-fee scales and payment plans. Some PHPs will adjust the cost of treatment for qualified individuals based on their incomes, or they may offer payment plans that allow you to pay for treatment over time.
- Low cost/free rehabs. Various counties and states offer low-cost or free treatment for those with special circumstances or limited income.
- Local, state, or federal funding. Many organizations such as SAMHSA provide grants and scholarships for treatment.
With facilities scattered across the country, American Addiction Centers (AAC) offers a host of PHP payment options.
How to Find a Partial Hospitalization Program Near Me
The U.S. is home to more than 1,900 PHPs including several facilities under the American Addiction Centers umbrella.8 Search for PHPs nationwide via FindTreatment.gov, a search tool provided by SAMHSA. Or, let AAC do the legwork for you.
Contact American Addiction Centers at to find a PHP near you. Our admissions navigators are available 24/7 to answer your confidential treatment questions, verify your insurance, explore payment options, and help you take your first steps toward recovery today.