Partial Hospitalization Program: PHP Rehab & Treatment

Last Updated: June 10, 2020

Authored by Roger Weiss, MD

For those seeking drug rehab, the idea of being in a facility full time can be intimidating; this is a big part of what makes a partial hospitalization program so appealing. PHP programs do not require overnight hospital stays but do offer high-level, intense treatment during the day. For many suffering from drug addiction, partial hospitalization in rehab is the key to getting better.

Partial Hospitalization: What Is PHP?

Partial hospitalization program (PHP) was developed as an alternative to complete hospitalization for psychiatric care patients. They are designed to provide care that is more intense than that offered at a therapist’s office while allowing the patient to return home at night. They tend to be used most often with adult patients who have responsibilities at home they must tend to even while in treatment.
Partial hospitalization programs in drug rehab started to develop when the medical community began to recognize substance abuse as a mental health disorder. Medical professionals say that the therapies and interventions used in the partial hospitalization program mental health services were also effective when applied to addiction treatment. Given that substance use disorder and mental health disorders are often co-occurring, partial hospitalization drug rehab is a logical form of care to offer. Some PHP facilities operate as dual diagnosis rehab centers.

How PHP Works

Partial hospitalization in drug rehab will sometimes begin with full hospitalization. Usually, this is done when the patient needs to safely withdraw and detox from the substance they have been abusing.

While in the PHP program, the patient attends daytime sessions in the rehab with their care provider anywhere from five to seven days a week. Once the partial program sessions are done for the day, the patient is welcome to return to the daily routine. This makes PHP day programs in rehab particularly well-suited to those with family commitments, such as children to care for. In a residential facility, other care arrangements must be made.
Unlike therapist sessions in an office setting, partial hospitalization in drug rehab is highly structured and focused. The treatment is of the same quality and intensity as that of a residential program. The difference is the supervision of the patient. While this can make it easier for the patient to relapse, it also means that they get the chance to instantly apply the skills they are learning in rehab to their real lives rather than them remaining theoretical until returning home from an extended stay.

How Effective Is PHP

Overall, compliance with partial hospitalization in drug rehab is roughly the same as with general outpatient drug rehab treatment. The main difference is that PHP rehabs provide more intensive and frequent therapies compared to the outpatient rehabs.
Approximately 22 percent of patients will fail to attend all of their sessions in the rehabs, with some of those quitting in full. However, the reasons for failing to attend generally are not attributable to the PHP itself. Common reasons include having a disability that makes getting to the facility difficult, not having the resources to get to the facility on a daily basis, and attending a partial hospitalization program in the drug rehab not tailored to their needs.
Despite how effective these PHP programs can be, they are considered to be underutilized by the medical community. Greater awareness could help patients gain access to the treatment they need in the right rehab facilities.

PHP’s Requirements To Join

There are no universal requirements established for who can and cannot be enrolled in a PHP drug rehab program. However, there are characteristics that can help identify those most likely to benefit from such a program and those who will be better served by other forms of drug rehab.
partial inpatient hospitalization
Those who are most likely to succeed in a partial hospitalization program include:

  • People with a supportive community
  • People with a stable home environment
  • People who have already safely withdrawn from the substance they are addicted to
  • People who need to be able to attend to personal responsibilities while in treatment
  • People who are able to get themselves to and from the facility without issue
  • People who are open to a variety of therapy techniques
  • People who can take prescription medications without abusing them

Those who are unlikely to succeed in a partial hospitalization include:

  • People surrounded by triggers at home
  • People who are homeless
  • People who have easy access to drugs
  • People who are victims of ongoing violence
  • People who have yet to withdraw and detox from the drug they abused
  • People without the cognitive capabilities to process therapy
  • People who lack transportation
  • People without a support system in place

While partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are not for everyone, but for those who meet the right criteria, they can be the key to a sober life after time spent in rehab.

PHP Treatment: How It Looks Like

Partial hospitalization program treatment is not one-size-fits-all; PHP in drug rehab is tailored to the needs of the patient. As such, an individual cannot know exactly what their PHP therapy will look like until they begin their program.

The process will begin with intake. Partial treatment intake includes a comprehensive evaluation that allows the rehab facility to determine if the patient is suited to PHP care and what their specific needs are. This intake assessment generally will include physical, biopsychosocial, and psychiatric evaluations. With this assessment in hand, the staff of rehab will craft a customized treatment plan.

doctors speaking to group of patients

Elements that can be part of a PHP treatment include:

  • Detox for helping with mild withdrawal symptoms
  • Medical treatment of substance abuse complications
  • Pharmaceuticals that promote abstinence or treat co-occurring disorders
  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Group therapy sessions in specialty and peer groups
  • Family therapy to establish a strong support group outside of treatment
  • Progress reviews to determine if the patient is succeeding
  • Holistic treatments such as yoga and meditation
  • Aftercare planning to prevent relapse

Ultimately, the partial hospitalization program level of care is high and similar to that given in inpatient treatment. The only difference is that there is a clear stopping point each day for PHP addiction treatment, and the patient is not monitored after hours spent in rehab.

Partial Hospitalization Program Schedule And Duration

There is no universal partial hospitalization program schedule. In some cases, the schedule is determined by the rehab facility or through a collaboration between the staff and the patient. In other cases, the company providing the patient with coverage will have a certain number of hours that must be attended per day or per week in rehab for them to provide coverage

How long a partial program lasts for will depend on the patient. While some may only be a few months, but other patients may prefer to remain in the partial hospitalization program for six months or up to a year. Before the PHP program in drug rehab stops, it is vital that the patient have an aftercare plan in place to prevent relapse and the need for further drug rehab.

Partial Hospitalization Program Cost

How much partial hospitalization programs costs will depend on the program the patient selects and what insurance coverage they have. There are free PHPs that are offered to those who can demonstrate the need for them; in most cases, they are provided by free addiction centers or state-funded rehab facilities. Additionally, many insurance providers will cover the partial hospitalization program cost in part or in full. This includes Medicaid.

If a patient needs to pay for treatment out of pocket, they can expect to pay a minimum of $3,000 per 30 days of treatment. This cost can increase to as much as $10,000 per 30 days, depending on the rehab facility and therapies needed. However, people with substance use disorder should not be deterred from seeking treatment based on drug rehab costs. There are many rehab facilities available, and the right fit is out there.

PHP vs. IOP: Comparing The Two

For those who are not overly familiar with drug rehab programs, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs might sound like they are the same. They both offer tailored therapy while allowing the patient to return home each day, and they both have been demonstrated to be effective forms of drug rehab.

However, there are some key differences between partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient drug rehab that could make one better than the other for patients. They are as follows.


Criteria Partial Hospitalization Intensive Outpatient
Typical Schedule 6 hours a day, 5 days a week 3 hours a day, 3 days a week
Therapy Types Greater focus on mixed therapies Heavily relies on individual therapy
Cost More expensive than IOP Cheaper than PHP
Holistic Care Has time for things like yoga and meditation Due to time constraints, focuses more on traditional methods

When evaluating an IOP vs. PHP for treatment, it comes down to the needs of the patient. In some cases, it might not even be a matter of one over the other; choosing partial hospitalization vs. intensive outpatient may be better approached by planning to complete one and then the other as a form of step-down therapy.

Why Partial Hospitalisation

PHP treatment is an excellent drug rehab option for those who need intensive care but cannot be in a residential rehab facility. As long as the patient has the means to get to the treatment facility each day, has the support they need, and is in a good position to start the partial hospitalization program, they are an excellent candidate for treatment. There are numerous partial programs available, and patients just need to find the one that works best for them.

Page Sources

  1. Lieberman PB, Guggenheim FG. Reasons for Patient Nonattendance During Acute Partial Hospitalization. Psychiatric Services. 2016; 67(6): 684-7. doi: 10.1176/
  2. Khawaja IS, Westermeyer JJ. Providing Crisis-oriented and Recovery-based Treatment in Partial Hospitalization Programs. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2010; 7(2): 28–31.

Published on: July 29th, 2019

Updated on: June 10th, 2020

About Author

Roger Weiss, MD

Dr. Roger Weiss is a practicing mental health specialist at the hospital. Dr. Weiss combines his clinical practice and medical writing career since 2009. Apart from these activities, Dr. Weiss also delivers lectures for youth, former addicts, and everyone interested in topics such as substance abuse and treatment.


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