Why do 28 day, drug and alcohol programs exist? The answer is simple - insurance companies. 28 days is the amount of days in the shortest month of a fiscal calendar year. 28 day rehabs exist as such, because it is the easiest and most efficient billing cycle. There is no research to support the idea that 28 days is optimal time for a person to change their life. Programs that offer 6 weeks or 28 days do so for insurance billing purposes only.
Most people who attend a residential treatment program after detox are in need of time to start feeling better physically and emotionally. For the first week of a program, the guest is feeling anxious, physically ill and sometimes angry. It is very difficult at this time for the guest to be attentive and focused.
By the second and third week, the guest is feeling better and ready to perform the task at hand - changing their life.
The fourth week is typically spent focusing on what to do and where to go when it is time to leave the program. In a 28 day program, that only leaves about 2 weeks to focus on learning. Most 28 day programs will then refer people to "after care" aka 12 step meetings in their area.
Insurance companies have recently changed a lot of what they will cover when it comes to drug and alcohol treatment. Some insurance companies will still pay for a 28 day program contingent upon the results of evaluations performed by doctors or clinicians. Other insurance companies will now only pay for 5-14 days of residential treatment and again, refer the person to A.A. or N.A. meetings. Then there are some companies who will not pay for any residential treatment until the person has detoxed and relapsed at least five times. Making such requirements for people who abuse drugs or alcohol is not only insensitive but could turn out to be deadly.
Unfortunately, insurance companies have the power to say yes or no to someone who is in need of a critical life change. Typically, they will not cover anything but 28 day, disease model treatment programs, even though the success rates of those programs are so low (5-15%).
A 28 day program is not always the best choice for everyone regardless of what insurance will or will not pay for. For those who seek an alternative to a 28 day, disease model treatment facility, be aware that your insurance will probably not pay. If funding is an issue, you can always ask for help from many different sources such as family, friends or even charitable organizations, or you can work with us on a finance plan that can be affordable.