Looking to provide a level of care not previously addressed within its continuum, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care has opened four intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) for specialty populations. Licensed by the New Jersey Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the IOPs are a new modality of women’s addiction treatment services offered in New Brunswick and Newark, as well as mood and anxiety disorder treatment in Edison, and co-occurring mental health and addiction in Newark.
The move isn’t necessarily in response to a broader trend in New Jersey, says Mary-Catherine Bohan, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care vice president of outpatient services, noting that Gov. Chris Christie has called for an additional 864 inpatient beds across the state for the treatment of co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders.
Bohan tells Addiction Professional she was an advocate for bringing the IOP model to Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care because of the flexibility it provided a Pennsylvania provider for whom she previously worked.
“It’s a level of care that just seems to make sense,” Bohan says. “I think there is a movement to have the right level of care with the right amount for the person. I think IOP can be an appropriate level of care. It can be an entry into care. It can be a diversion to an inpatient level of stay. It can also be a step down from a more acute level of care or a step up where someone is coming in and we’re trying them in a more traditional outpatient setting and it’s not quite meeting their needs, so we step them up to an IOP level of care.”
Program participants receive three hours of treatment per day, three days per week for up to 12 weeks, with treatment being targeted to specific concerns beyond what is provided by traditional outpatient treatment programs. Participants are screened for PTSD and other co-occurring disorders. The IOPs, which accept public and private insurance plans, also include psychiatric evaluation and medication management by psychiatrists and advanced practice nurses, as well as psycho-education sessions, individual and family therapy and access to 24/7 crisis management services.
“We’re seeing it as something that’s an important part of our continuum of care, and allows people the opportunity to continue to work, go to school and be home with family,” Bohan says. “It can be more appropriate for the person’s lifestyle, but still gives them the intensity and level of care they require.”