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Good Addiction Treatment and Recovery Resources Could be Around the Corner

There are many addiction treatment programs in NJ, but access to the right one based on client needs can be tricky.  Current services offered have not necessarily caught up with the current state of addiction madness, so how can you determine if you are sending someone to a quality program?  If you have ever tried to place someone into addiction treatment in NJ or any other state, most representatives will ensure you that their program is a good fit. But is it?

“Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” is a common phrase in the recovery community. We’re told this is the definition of insanity. Did you know that some facilities track data and bank on the fact that the person suffering from addiction will come back to the facility multiple times? Not all do this, nor would they admit it to a family, but it absolutely happens.  The friendly “follow-up” call every few months tends to happen when the facility has open beds. Did you know that other addiction treatment centers, sober livings and programs in NJ will only allow someone to re-admit 2x? Some of these facilities will allow the second chance but acknowledge that the person may benefit from a different service/program. Others allow them to keep coming back over and over. It is our recommendation that more than two times at one center or sober living is too many. Try something else.

Financial resources and insurance eligibilityare two other factors that should play into placing someone into addiction treatment. First, it is illegalfor a program to entice someone into treatment with “free sober living” and insurance does not cover for sober living or food. In-network facilities have contracted rates with providers and the consumer will be billed accordingly. Usually, you know what you are getting into. Out-of-network facilities use a percentage of the allowable amount that the can collect on, but this does not guarantee the consumer and their family will not get a separate bill. This separate bill is known as “balance billing.” For instance, if the addiction treatment program has a published rate of $25000 for 30 days and the insurance is a 60/40 (this means the carrier will pay 60% and the enrollee will pay 40%) the consumer/enrollee will get a bill for $10000 for the 30-day stay. Based on some minor research it appears that there is no federal regulation that can protect a consumer from balance billing.

For more about this click HERE.

Some families choose to drive new Lexus’ and others take public transit. This is the choice of the consumer based on their financial resources, the need of the consumer and usually research into what will serve them best. If the consumer does not have appropriate choice in addiction treatment programs they may be taking the bus when they could easily and more preferably drive the Lexus. If the research is not done for them or they are not guided appropriately they may be sold on the Lexus, only to arrive and find out they are actually taking the bus. With addiction treatment and recovery services one may find an array of catchphrases like “holistic,” “evidence based,” “structured,” but do you really know what these terms mean and what the program is actually offering? Are you, as an advocate and someone helping others access addiction treatment or recovery services, clear on the services you are recommending and confident that the consumer and the family understands what they are getting?

Credentialing of facility and staff are another important factor when placing someone in a program. Addiction treatment programs in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other states do not have any federal standards on what has “therapeutic value.” This means the counselor could state that hanging out at the gazebo and smoking cigarettes is a group. There are also no real guidelines on credentialing of counselors. Yes, there are Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselors, but this does not mean they work in the facility or that they actually have a caseload and work directly with the clients. Addiction treatment programs are opening faster than staff can get credentialed. Many facilities have high school graduates as “counselor interns” running group and doing the individual sessions. Might as well just send the person to 12-step recovery and save the time if that is the case. Check the website of the facility. Usually there is an “about” tab that has the names, degrees and credentials of each staff.

New Jersey law just mandated sober living facilities to become licensed by the Department of Community Affairs. This has set a baseline for standards of care. If facilities in NJ want to show the consumer that they are even better than the baseline, they can get certified by NJARR –this stands for the “New Jersey chapter of the National Alliance of Recovery Residences.”

Does the addiction treatment or recovery residence you’re recommending have the base credentials? Are the counselors that run groups and individual sessions Master’s level college graduates with certifications or licenses? Do the recovery homes or sober livings have the baseline DCA license?

What is the AMA rate of the program and will they show you the data collected to prove this? This is a simple question that you most likely will not find real data for. AMA stands for “against medical advice” (other terms are APA “against professional advice” or ACA “against clinical advice”). Either way this is the same thing. This is the rate of people leave the program prior to completion. A program with a high rate of AMA speaks volumes about the clinical staff and their abilities. Maybe everyone there is highly qualified, but feeling burned out and tired of trying to motivate people into recovery. Maybe the quality of clinical services or recovery support services are poor. Regardless, transparency should be key here. Is the program or recovery residence tracking and collecting real data on the AMA rate and are they willing to show you the data? Nearly all facilities track their AMA rates. Few will share them.

Some of these basic questions can help you when determining a program’s strengths/weaknesses or guiding someone into addiction recovery. The process can be daunting and troublesome, but with these simple questions you can start to find programs that can potentially produce better outcomes. If you struggle to critically consume information from each program and still need some advice, please reach out to us for help.