Government Treatment Centers
Treatment of alcohol or drug addiction can seem overwhelming, and the journey to sobriety can seem all but impossible. A stay in a qualified rehab facility is the most direct course to long-term success, yet the cost of a stay in rehab can be out of reach for those with low incomes and/or no insurance. If you feel like rehab is the right move for you, but you lack insurance or the financial means to cover a stay in a treatment facility, a government-funded center may be the best option.
Government drug and alcohol treatment centers provide excellent care for those battling addiction. Private rehab institutions are known for providing luxury, which state institutions simply cannot fund. However, the basics of the detox process, addiction counseling, and long-term outpatient treatment are the goal of both types of agencies. A study conducted by the Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies at the University of Delaware showed that the success rates of private and government rehab centers are comparable.
Advantages of Government-Funded Rehab Centers
- Price. Government-funded agencies provide their services for free or on a sliding scale. You may be required to pay a small portion of their treatment bill; however, this cost is negligible when it comes to living a sober life. If you are having difficulty with these payments, government agencies have flexibility in providing payment plans or finding other sources of coverage. Profit is not the goal of a government facility, but instead the objective is to provide you with the tools and resources for you to achieve sobriety.
- Professionals. Government treatment centers employ qualified practitioners, all working toward the goal of helping you live a sober life. As government-funded facilities are often teaching institutions, you will learn strategies that use the newest research, medications and interventions. The doctors and counselors involved are often not working at the facility simply for the income, and truly care about your progress and success.
- Accountability. Government facilities are accountable for how money is spent. Unsuccessful programs will be discontinued, and agencies must be able to prove their success and worth to the community to remain open.
Challenges of These Centers
- Quality of facilities. The boarding facilities in a government-funded rehab center are often basic. They will not include the perks of private institutions, instead focusing on detoxification, medical appointments, one-on-one counseling and group therapy, with a lack of extracurricular activities or comfortable amenities provided. Patients are often included in cooking and cleaning duties to reduce costs. However, government facilities focus on the goals that are in the best interest of the patient, which is the medical and emotional assistance necessary to lead to sobriety. Some feel that the perks of private institutions do not guarantee a more successful outcome, and may in fact distract from the treatment process itself.
- Uninterested patients. Patients pursuing treatment in government-funded drug and alcohol rehab centers may not be interested in quality treatment, but may instead be seeking housing and medical attention. While this is not always the case, it is important to keep your own goals in mind in whatever treatment center you choose. Government rehab centers are able to quickly determine patients who have potential for sobriety, however, and may be able to provide non-serious patients with other forms of assistance.
- Wait times. Treatment at a government facility may require a wait time of weeks to months. As there are many people seeking alcohol and drug treatment, space can be very limited in institutions that work with low- or no-income patients. A referral from a primary care doctor from a free or reduced cost clinic can help you to secure a place at a government rehab center more quickly. In addition, pregnant women, those battling HIV/AIDS, and single women with dependent children often get preferential treatment on waiting lists; make sure to communicate any extenuating circumstances with the clinic ahead of time.
- Long-term treatment options. Some facilities focus primarily on detox options, with little funding for ongoing treatment. However, long-term counseling is crucial to success. Check with rehab centers in advance to make sure your treatment will include ongoing care after detox. They will refer you to a long-term treatment center if their program has a different focus from what you need.
*Where Can I Find Resources for Government Facilities?
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, also known as SAMHSA. This organization, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has a web feature that connects interested parties with government treatment centers in their zip code.
- Primary care doctors. If you have a doctor, use this resource. Free clinics in any major city specialize in addiction programs, and can often direct you to a facility that will meet your needs.
- Hospitals that offer detox services work with specific clinics to serve patients in need, regardless of insurance or income.
- Helplines. You can call our helpline for assistance finding treatment options that may be willing to work with your budget. Many private facilities offer sliding scale payment options or financing to those who have difficulty affording treatment.
What to Expect at a Government Addiction Treatment Center
Addiction is complex, and both private and public treatment centers work on a variety of issues, tailoring their programs to deal with both emotional and medical issues of addiction. Successful programs quickly recognize issues of anxiety, depression or other mental health disorders that can affect or derail rehab efforts. Fundamental strategies to treat addiction offered by alcohol and rehab centers include:
- Detox and withdrawal treatment
- A 12-step program to work through addiction in a structured manner
- One-on-one counseling to address mental health, withdrawal symptoms and emotional issues
- Drug therapies to assist with mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder
- Medical doctor appointments to address physical ailments stemming from alcohol or drug use, such as dentition, kidney problems and nutrition issues
The California Department of Alcohol and Drug Prevention notes that over 50 percent of alcoholics in treatment are unemployed and not looking for work. Therefore, the government has a vested financial interest in keeping people off public assistance, providing patients with a smooth transition into sober life, and offering additional programs. These programs include housing assistance, job training or retraining, education assistance, ongoing therapy, and childcare or family assistance.
*Will the Government Provide Insurance for Rehab?
Currently, the government offers older, disabled or low-income individuals benefits, which may include some coverage for rehab services. These insurance policies include:
- Medicare. This insurance policy, available to individuals 65 or older, is widely accepted at government rehab facilities. Certain private rehab centers may also accept Medicare.
- Medicaid. Low-income or disabled individuals may qualify for Medicaid. This insurance is accepted at some rehab institutions. As Medicaid benefits vary by state, check your individual policy to find out which facilities accept this insurance.
Government alcohol and drug rehab centers offer those in need a chance at a comprehensive program to achieve sobriety. While these programs may lack extra perks and luxuries, they provide patients with complex addiction issues with the medical tools and emotional strategies needed to overcome their addictions. For those without insurance or the means to pay for private addiction treatment centers, government-funded rehab is an excellent option.
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