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 What Is a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)?

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is used to treat mental illnesses and substance abuse. The client resides at home in partial hospitalization and commutes to a treatment center up to seven days a week.

Partial hospitalization focuses on the individual’s overall treatment and is intended to avert or reduce inpatient hospitalization. Partial hospitalization programs and partial inpatient treatment are usually identical to inpatient programs, the only difference being that the individual returns home after sessions.

The pioneer of PHP, Dr. Albert E. Moll, believed that some patients would be unable to be away from their families or work and that these programs would reduce the cost of long-term care. Free-standing community mental health centers (CMHC) or hospitals can provide partial hospitalization programs in the United States.

A Further Look at PHP

Treatment during a typical day may include group therapy, psycho-educational groups, skill-building, individual therapy, psychopharmacological assessments, and check-ins. Programs are available to treat alcoholism and substance abuse problems, Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia and bulimia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses.

There are programs explicitly geared toward geriatric patients, adult patients, adolescents, and young children. Programs for adolescents and children usually include an academic program to either take the place of or to work with the child’s local school.1

At Great Oaks Recovery Center, we focus on treating various types of substance use disorders, mental health issues, co-occurring disorders, and chronic health conditions. We know each person has their own story and requires a unique treatment plan, which is why our highly trained professionals are equipped to understand, assess, evaluate, guide, and treat all aspects of disorders and illnesses.

How Long Does Partial Hospitalization Last?

A partial hospitalization mental health or addiction treatment program usually requires the client to attend a minimum of twenty hours and five days per week. The times and frequencies can be higher or lower depending on the patient’s individual circumstances.2

The length of the entire program largely depends on the following:

  • Partial inpatient treatment needs
  • Whether the treatment is a mental health-based or addiction-based partial hospitalization program
  • Partial hospitalization program rehab itinerary
  • Substance abuse program description
  • Partial program mental health treatment methods
  • Logistical circumstances of the patient
  • Severity of the addiction or mental health problems
  • Advice and diagnosis of the medical professional admitting the patient

Addiction Treatment in Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

PHP addiction treatment is essentially a partial hospitalization program rehab. This form of rehabilitation and therapy is virtually identical to inpatient and outpatient treatments. The following is included:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of talk therapy (psychotherapy). Patients work with a mental health counselor (psychotherapist or therapist) in a structured way, attending a limited number of sessions. CBT helps people become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking to view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them more effectively.3

Partial inpatient treatment will incorporate CBT sessions and work the timing around the rest of the partial hospitalization program activities. Therefore, PHP rehab will not affect the number of sessions or the quality of the treatment.

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling, sometimes called psychotherapy or talk therapy, is a process through which clients work one-on-one with a trained mental health clinician in a safe, caring, and confidential environment.

Counseling allows individuals to explore their feelings, beliefs, and behaviors, work through challenging or influential memories, identify aspects of their lives that they would like to change, better understand themselves and others, set personal goals, and work toward the desired change.

Partial hospitalization mental health treatment relies heavily on individual counseling, which is often the primary form of counseling provided to these patients.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves one or more mental health practitioners who deliver psychotherapy to several individuals in each session. In addition, conducting therapy in groups can reduce wait times and give more people access to mental healthcare. Some people attend individual therapy sessions in addition to group therapy, while others only use group therapy.4

Group therapy offers many benefits when it comes to partial hospitalization programs for mental health and addiction. Group sessions will sometimes have a mix of inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization program patients.

Inpatient Group Psychotherapy

Inpatient refers to patients who are hospitalized for permanent periods. Patients in partial hospitalization program rehab will often join sessions involving inpatients when their addiction problems or mental health issues are similar.

It does depend on the nature of the partial inpatient treatment and whether the partial hospital program deems group therapy necessary.

Partial Hospitalization Program Logistics and Medical insurance

When patients are enrolled into a PHP, they often have questions about the logistics of getting there every day. Even people who own motor vehicles should check on the availability of transport to save on gas costs and the wear and tear on their cars.

Many PHPs Include Transportation

Many partial hospitalization program requirements include transportation to and from the clinic or hospital. Unfortunately, treatment centers are often quite far from patients, and many don’t have cars, making it important for PHPs to provide transportation to their facilities.

Some Insurance Companies Include Transportation

Depending on their provider and plan, some patients are provided transportation through medical insurance. Medical insurance will often cover those who don’t have a motor vehicle and need assistance. People should always check with their plan first.

Medical Insurance

Private medical insurances have different rules and policies depending on the provider and plan. Therefore, it is best to check with them for details on the coverage of partial hospitalization fees and extras like transportation.


Both original Medicare and Medicare Advantage cover partial hospitalization programs.

Original Medicare
Part A provides hospitalization insurance in original Medicare, and Part B provides outpatient medical insurance. Partial hospitalization coverage falls under Part B for those otherwise at risk of needing inpatient treatment and those who need partial hospitalization after an inpatient facility has discharged them. At times, a doctor may prescribe a service that Medicare only partly covers or does not cover at all. When this happens, a person must pay some or all costs.

Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage, otherwise known as Part C, is an alternative to original Medicare. It covers all the benefits of parts A and B, including partial hospitalization; however, the costs with Medicare Advantage plans may differ from those in the original Medicare.

Note that there are some exclusions to Medicare’s coverage of mental health services. For example, while Medicare may cover group psychotherapy sessions, it does not cover general support groups.

Additionally, Medicare plans do not cover:5

  • Transportation to facilities providing mental health services
  • Meals and refreshments
  • Vocational training that is not a part of a person’s mental health treatment

When Partial Hospitalization is Needed

There are several criteria for determining the appropriateness of PHP. Nonetheless, the criteria are primarily determined by the therapist, medical staff, and patient’s circumstances.

Some criteria might include that:6

  • The person has an established history of a psychiatric disorder, excluding mental retardation, substance abuse, or senility.
  • The person does not have an established psychiatric history, but a psychiatrist, physician, or licensed clinical psychologist has been consulted and confirmed the presence of a psychiatric disorder that requires this level of care.
  • The person has had an evaluation by a psychiatrist, a physician, or a licensed clinical psychologist at another mental health treatment facility (e.g., inpatient, outpatient, or crisis intervention) and is being directly referred to this level of care
  • The person needs a diagnostic evaluation that cannot be performed at a lesser level of care.
  • The person has difficulty functioning at work, school, or other occupations.
  • The person is not at risk of harming themself or others.
  • The person is medically stable.
  • The person has adequate support at home when they return in the evening.

Patients Who Might Not Benefit from a Partial Hospitalization Program

Similarly, some patients might not be eligible for this type of program. The criteria for this circumstance might include the following:

  • The person is a victim of abuse or severe trauma.
  • The person has family members who use substances.
  • The person has co-occurring disorders.
  • The person has relapsed.

Discuss Recovery with Great Oaks Recovery Center

Here at Great Oaks Recovery Center, we provide various types of programs to meet patients’ unique needs. Our certified mental health professionals and highly trained staff respect each client’s distinct experiences, belief systems, and values. Moreover, we understand that the recovery process is different for everyone.

We offer a number of different programs to accommodate each client and help them achieve a healthy and full life.


Detox is a medically-supervised process that eases the transition from chemical dependence. Our highly-qualified onsite medical team carefully monitors and guides the individual throughout detoxification as severe withdrawal symptoms may arise. We make the detoxification process as safe and comfortable as possible so clients can rest assured in this start of the recovery process.

Residential Programs

Our residential program provides a safe and structured environment for clients to reside at throughout their healing process. The residential program typically lasts thirty to forty-five days, and it will be specialized per a client’s needs. Depending on the individual, the treatment process can include individual counseling and group therapy, 12-Step program integration, relapse prevention programs, and more.

Continuing Care

Continuing care, or aftercare, is offered to those who completed their residential treatment and have moved on to the next step. It may include post-treatment living arrangements, outpatient services, 12-Step programs, and more. Our staff understands that continuous care is essential to long-lasting recovery, and we are dedicated to helping you achieve that.

To learn more about our programs, reach out to our team at Great Oaks Recovery Center today.



Questions About Treatment?

Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.