Admissions at American Addiction Centers
When a person decides to get treatment for an addiction, it must be followed up with action. The first step of drug addiction treatment is to get admitted to a treatment facility. You may find the many different facilities on offer intimidating. This page will help to answer some questions you might have about how to choose a drug and alcohol rehab facility by walking you through the process at American Addiction Centers. While no two facilities admissions processes are the same, understanding AAC’s processes can help you set expectations and answer questions about admissions.
Selecting an Addiction Treatment Provider
Before admitting yourself to rehab, it is important to select an addiction treatment provider that is appropriate for your needs. When choosing a drug and alcohol rehab to attend, some factors to consider include:
- Rehab accreditation. Accredited facilities undergo evaluation and adhere to standards for excellence in care as set by one of two accreditation bodies, either the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) or the Joint Commission.1 (paragraph 3), 2 (about the Joint Commission) You can search for a CARF-accredited rehab here, and for Joint Commission-accredited facilities here.
- Your specific needs. The Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration offers a Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator that can be found here. Using this site, you can search for programs that offer specific services such as detoxification, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, medication-assisted treatment, treatment for co-occurring disorders (substance use disorders plus mental health disorders), and treatment for special populations such as veterans, LGBTQ people, pregnant women, specific age groups, those who also have HIV/AIDS, or those requiring treatment in a language other than English.
- Facility reviews and ratings. It can be helpful to view reviews and ratings from people who have been through treatment at the facility you are considering. Looking at impartial sites such as yelp.com, rehabs.com, or ratings on Google can help you see what people have to say about their experience at specific rehab facilities.
- Facility amenities. You may want to learn about the amenities offered at each facility before deciding which program to attend. Some facilities offer basic services with shared bedrooms and bathrooms and basic meals. Others provide luxurious, spa-like accommodations with gourmet meals.
Contact Your Treatment Provider
Once you’ve found a rehab facility that seems like a good fit for you or a loved one, the next step is contacting the treatment provider to gather more information about the program and the available services. At American Addiction Centers, we call those staff members admissions navigators.
The facility staff–or admissions navigators– will most likely ask some questions to get an understanding of your needs. From there, they can provide suggestions about the services and amenities that would be most beneficial to the patient, such as available detoxification options or medication-assisted treatment to ease withdrawal symptoms during detox. Some facilities have a uniform approach to treatment. Other treatment providers, like American Addiction Centers, will provide a unique treatment plan that incorporates some combination of the use of therapeutic techniques such as creative arts therapy, family counseling, animal-assisted therapy, yoga, meditation, or trauma-focused counseling in addition to more clinically based treatment requirements we just mentioned like detox or medically assisted treatment. This is all information you can use to make sure that this provider is right for you before you decide to admit to their treatment facility.
Think of your first conversation with your treatment provider as an interview. before you call, try to have a few questions ready about topics that are important to you. At this step in the process, it’s the provider’s job to make sure you have the information you need to get help. At American Addiction Centers, our admissions team answering the phones prefers to go a step further. We want to truly connect with you, hear your story, and figure out the best way we can help. We do that by truly listening to your story and treating you with respect.
Just as you are interviewing the treatment provider on your first phone call, they will interview you in a sense as well but from a different perspective. They’ll take you through a pre-intake screening for the purpose of making sure they are equipped to help you by learning more about your specific needs. A pre-intake screening, most commonly done over the phone, is conducted when the person first contacts the rehab. It involves gathering information that can help the treatment provider better understand the needs of the potential patient, identify the appropriate level of care, and ensure that they are placed in the proper facility.
The questions asked during a pre-intake screening are designed to help staff learn about your unique needs. You will be asked questions about you and your substance use history. Some of the questions you’re likely to be asked by AAC’s admissions navigators include:
- What types of substances you’ve used and how often you’ve used them, even if you tried them only once.
- How long you’ve been using these substances.
- Whether you’ve ever been to treatment before and if you’ve had any periods of abstinence in the past.
- If you have been diagnosed with or may potentially have a mental health or emotional disorder.
- Your employment and any conditions regarding your employment.
- Your family life and whether you are experiencing problems at home such as marital/relationship concerns, domestic violence, or other problems.
- Any legal issues, especially related to substance use, such as possession, driving while intoxicated/impaired, or other charges.
- Any physical health issues or medical complaints.
- Whether you have a family history of substance use.
- Any other addictive behaviors you may have, such as gambling, shopping, sex, or disordered eating.
- Whether you have ever been exposed to trauma or abuse at any point.
- If you are currently taking any medications, you may be asked to provide a list of the names and dosages of those medications.
Insurance and Payment Options
The next step in planning admission to a rehab center is learning about your insurance and finance options. Rehab can be expensive, so you want to make sure to choose a facility that is within your budget. It’s always a good idea to check with your insurance company beforehand to determine if they cover substance abuse treatment.
At AAC, our admissions navigators will inquire about your insurance coverage and information during your pre-intake screening. They may need to contact your insurance company to confirm coverage, determine what type of treatment is covered, how long you will be able to attend treatment, and how much your copay is expected to be.
An Admissions Navigator will be able to answer your questions about insurance and financial options that are accepted at their facilities. Different facilities accept a range of insurance plans, but this can change, so it is always a good idea to ask the facility directly. You should also double-check with your insurance provider. Most facilities will accept common insurance policies, but some may not accept government or state-sponsored insurance plans, such as Medicaid or Medicare.
When you speak with an Admissions Navigator, you can also inquire about other payment options. Many facilities will offer some type of payment arrangement or financial assistance options so that treatment is accessible regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay. Below we’ve listed some common payment options as well as some questions you may want to consider asking while you’re on the phone:
- Financial plans or budgets that allow you to break down the cost of treatment into smaller amounts that can be paid off over time, rather than paying in full all at once. This is a good option for people who don’t have health insurance and those whose coverage has a high copayment that they cannot afford to pay.
- Self-pay options that offer a reduced rate for people without coverage. Rather than relying on rates negotiated by insurance companies, the patient pays out-of-pocket for treatment.
- Sliding scale fees based on the patient’s income. The cost is reduced for a person who is considered low-income, making treatment within their financial means.
- Rehab scholarships may be available for people who need the funding to be able to attend treatment. Scholarships may cover some or all of the cost of treatment. It is always a good idea to find out if there are any conditions associated with a rehab scholarship, such as being required to complete treatment or be responsible for the full cost.
- How much does treatment at this facility cost?
- Does your facility accept my insurance? If so, is this facility in-network or out-of-network?
- Does my insurance cover the recommended level of care?
- Does this go toward my deductible? Is my deductible met?
- How much does it cost to choose self-pay?
- How much would my treatment cost on a sliding scale?
- How do I apply for a rehab scholarship?
- What happens if I can’t afford to pay for rehab?
Travel Arrangements & Planning.
You and the admissions navigator will work together to select the facility that is best suited for your needs. You may choose a facility that is not local to get a fresh start or avoid temptation and old associations. If this is the case, you will need to make travel arrangements to begin your path to sobriety.
You will have to decide how you want to travel to the facility, such as by car, train, bus, or airplane. In addition, you will have to coordinate the timing to ensure that you arrive by your scheduled intake date and time. You may need to have someone drop you off at the train station, bus stop, or airport, and arrange for someone to pick you up on arrival and transport you to the rehab facility. American Addiction Centers is often willing to assist you with travel arrangements if needed.
If you are employed, you will need to make arrangements with your employer. Notice should be given in advance and you may need to provide documentation to human resources. The rehab facility will be able to provide this documentation, and the staff will be able to answer any questions you have.
You should also tie up any loose ends before you begin treatment. This may include arranging childcare and pet care, if needed, and ensuring that you either prepay your essential bills or make an agreement with someone you trust to make payments on your behalf while you are away. If you live alone, you will also want to ask someone to collect your mail or have the post office hold your mail until you return home. If you’re looking for more information on how to prepare for rehab, we’ve also written a guide about just that. You can access it here
- CARF International. (2020). The public says: Accreditation matters!
- The Joint Commission. (2020). The Joint Commission enhances substance use disorders standards.
- American Addiction Centers. (2020). Treatment services.