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Fast Facts on PHP

1. What is Partial Hospitalization?

Partial Hospitalization is defined as “a time-limited, ambulatory, active treatment program that offers therapeutically intensive, coordinated, and structured clinical services within a stable therapeutic milieu.” This modality, or method of treatment, is an alternative to hospitalization and offers the flexibility to deal with a very wide range of conditions.


2. How does Partial Hospitalization compare with other options?

Where does it fit into the continuum? Partial Hospitalization fits into the continuum of mental healthcare as the option that combines the best facets of inpatient care (strict criteria and intensive care) with the best of outpatient care (schedule flexibility and lower costs). Patients who represent no imminent danger to themselves of others may receive the intensive clinical treatments that their conditions require–without the expense of hospitalization. Treatment may be arranged for day, evening, night or weekends, within the framework of the recommended minimum number of hours per week, so that patients may interact with family, friends, and community and, often, resume work.

Click here for the AABH White Paper on the Contiuum of Care


3. Who might benefit from Partial Hospitalization?

Individuals who benefit from Partial Hospitalization include those experiencing acute psychiatric symptoms, those who otherwise might be hospitalized without the on-going support of a Partial Hospitalization program, or those unable to function autonomously on a day-to-day basis. Treatment may be directed toward crisis stabilization, through intensive programming, or intermediate term treatment, through more extended clinical services.


4. What constitutes a Partial Hospitalization program?

Partial Hospitalization programs may be offered in many different settings, from free-standing, community-based programs to larger psychiatric or medical systems (such as within traditional hospitals). To be a Partial Hospitalization program, the treatment must have a specified structure; be offered within a specific and limited timeframe; have clear guidelines for admission, evaluation, program and discharge; provide clinically appropriate treatment; and utilize professional staff.


5. How do I evaluate the quality of a Partial Hospitalization program?

There are specific criteria that a Partial Hospitalization program should meet, as described in “Standards and Guidelines for Partial Hospitalization” and “Standards For Child and Adolescent Partial Hospitalization Programs.” These guidelines are recommended by the American Association for partial Hospitalization and supported by its members. Programs which do not meet these guidelines should not be designated as Partial Hospitalization.


6. How were these guidelines developed?

Both sets of these standard and guidelines represent collaborative efforts. Highly qualified, experienced professionals representing a diverse group of specialization’s and experience contributed freely and actively in the creation of these materials. The results are criteria that approach Partial Hospitalization care from an unbiased, independent and realistic viewpoint.


7. How can these guidelines help my business?

Partial Hospitalization benefits an organization in two major ways. First, Partial Hospitalization is an avenue of providing clinically equivalent mental healthcare at a much lower cost than inpatient treatment. The direct savings over inpatient benefits usually are 40 to 60 percent — and more than 60 percent in some instances? Second, there are indirect savings because an employee involved in Partial Hospitalization treatment may be able to work on at least a limited basis, thus maintaining productivity. As an indirect, long-term savings, there is evidence that those who successfully complete partial Hospitalization treatment generally will require future treatment on a less-frequent basis.


8. Are there guidelines for the treatment of children and adolescents?

Yes, a specific set of criteria for Partial Hospitalization treatment of children and adolescents has just been published. The use of Partial Hospitalization means that unnecessary, inappropriate — and costly — inpatient treatment may be avoided.


9. Can Partial Hospitalization improve the quality of mental healthcare?

Absolutely! There is a financial component to providing mental healthcare, and costs are continuing to rise rapidly. The direct and indirect savings that can be realized through the use of Partial Hospitalization as an alternative to inpatient treatment mean that significant resources will be saved. These resources could provide more services to a larger audience without sacrificing clinical quality — while controlling overall costs.


10. How do I find out more about making Partial Hospitalization a part of my benefits program?

The Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare, representing hundreds of providers and professionals across the United States, is a leading advocate in the field. The Association welcomes the opportunity to assist you with learning more about Partial Hospitalization and how to integrate it into your benefits program.

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