Home » Blogs » Ambulatory or outpatient treatment does not involve an overnight stay at a treatment facility. Outpatient or ambulatory care may take place at a doctor’s office, medical facility, hospital, mental health or rehabilitation treatment facility. Treatment could range from acute withdrawal management to maintenance treatment.
Less Disruptive and More Effective at Lower Cost
Outpatient treatment for addiction is more acceptable to patients because it does not uproot them from the home environment in order to access treatment. Ambulatory or outpatient treatment helps reduce the stigma associated with the disease of addiction because it normalizes the disease. Other chronic diseases like diabetes or even contagious HIV do not require confining inpatient treatment, but with addiction inpatient detoxification and rehabilitation is the default modality of treatment, which only serves to perpetuate the stigma associated with the disease.
Ambulatory, or outpatient addiction treatment is also effective because it incorporates the home environment into treatment instead of isolating the individual suffering from his or her living environment. Individuals suffering from addiction have to learn to live sober in their home environment eventually, and in outpatient treatment, learning skills to live sober in the home environment starts on day one of treatment. Well over 95% of patients go through inpatient detoxification and rehabilitation, which has so far delivered abysmal results. The national overdose death rate turned down in 2018 only with the wider availability and acceptance of outpatient treatment for addiction.
Among other benefits, outpatient care tends to be less expensive than inpatient care because less of the hospital’s resources are being used. The cost is relative to the procedure provided by the therapist, physician or surgeon. Insurance coverage applies to outpatient care based on the type of service provided: primary, mental or special care.
When you plan a treatment under Medicare coverage, check whether your treatment is considered inpatient or outpatient. This status makes a difference in how much you pay for nursing facility fees and hospital services such as medications, x-rays, and laboratory tests. Medicare Part B helps patients pay for outpatient care, therapy and preventive services. Under this plan, you pay a single copayment for each service type, which will not be higher than inpatient hospital deductible. However, multiple services can exceed the deductible.
Most of the doctor services are covered by Part B, after the deductible, patients cover only 20% of the cost. Medications given during treatment within the facility will most likely be covered, but you should check regarding prescription medications. In many cases of the outpatient treatment setting, hospitals don’t even provide prescriptions due to the risk involved in taking the drugs at home.
Outpatients care expands operations all over the country because the population demands cost-effective medical care. Based on consumer needs, asking for value-based health care closer to home, this trend continues to grow. More and more providers are listening to that demand, which results in the expansion of outpatient facilities with dedicated care and shorter waiting lines.
Naturally, healthcare moves towards what is best for the patients. Clinics, urgent care rooms, and emergency centers adapt to the outpatient strategy. Additional procedures and services that adopted the outpatient method, include diagnostic, wellness and prevention, rehabilitation and surgical services. For a better understanding of ambulatory care, let’s see which services apply this method of treatment.
Outpatient Care Settings
Patients visit primary care physicians (PCPs) for generic check-ups with a family doctor, pediatrician, or even gynecologist. The PCP also serves as a coordinator for specialized care and ongoing outpatient treatment plan.
Usually located within a hospital, Emergency Rooms (ERs,) are classified as outpatient care because the overnight stay is not involved. A range of specialized medical services defined within ERs, including x-rays, radiology, and other professional care from certified nurses and specialty doctors. Patients visit ERs in serious illness and traumatic emergency cases.
Outpatient Detoxification and Rehabilitation Facilities
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) treat alcohol and substance addictions while addressing behavioral, psychological, and physical needs in a less restrictive environment of the inpatient programs. IOP combines therapy sessions with the support of friends, family and local community. Outpatient detoxification and rehabilitation programs deliver better outcomes because they incorporate the patient’s living environment into treatment from day one.
The Center For Network Therapy has been highly dedicated to the recovery of hundreds of patients through fully-personalized IOP treatments. Patients participate in the treatment during the day and return back home to their families at the end of the day. Treatment in a familiar environment yields higher recovery rates with a lower chance of relapse at the end of the program.
When an overnight admission after the surgery is not required, outpatient care facilities, release the patient home at the end of the procedure. Common outpatient surgical procedures include tissue and skin repair, lens implants, simple superficial wounds, and scar tissue repairs, minor orthopedic procedures, wisdom teeth extractions and more.
Outpatient urgent care clinics provide immediate medical treatments for injuries or illnesses that can not wait for an appointment, but not considered life-threatening when a visit to the ER is needed. In urgent care centers, patients receive dedicated and timely care, while taking off weight from emergency rooms.
In addition to the services above, outpatient care also takes place in the community, home, college, school and work care settings. The outpatient healthcare system continues to expand to a range of industries, driven by the voice of the patients.
Dr. Cidambi is a leader in addiction treatment and innovator of safe and effective ambulatory (outpatient) detoxification level of care for alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates, and suboxone. Prior to founding the Center for Network Therapy, she completed her residency in Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and an Addiction Medicine Fellowship at NYU/Bellevue Hospital in New York. Due to the successful detoxification program, Dr. Cidambi was featured frequently by media outlets, including NPR, CBS, NY Times, and Wall Street Journal.