About

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do you have an adolescent program?
    • No. Because of our open setting, we only work with patients 18 years of age and older.
       
  • What is the average age of a patient at Riggs?
    • The minimum age is 18. The average age of our patient population is typically early thirties, but the patient community usually has patients into their twenties, forties, fifties and older.
       
  • How long is the program?
    • We ask for a minimum commitment of six weeks.  The mean length of stay is four to six months. Half our patients stay longer than five months.
       
  • How does someone become a patient at Austen Riggs?
    • We have a fairly intensive admissions process.  To begin, we must gather information about an individual to determine if they are appropriate for the open setting and if the treatment we provide meets the needs of the individual.  To do this, we need the following:
      • A phone interview with the potential patient to obtain commitments to motivation for treatment and abstinence from substances
      • Clinical information from outpatient clinicians, inpatient clinicians, and records from inpatient or other residential psychiatric treatment
      • Medical records as necessary for any significant medical issues
      • Verbal commitment from the financially responsible party to finance the initial six weeks
    • Gathering the above information will allow for our Admissions Director to make a decision about placing an individual on our waiting list.  As openings occur, we call the prospective patient to come for an in-person consultation with possible admission to follow. 85% of the time admission is offered and accepted.  
       
  • Does Austen Riggs take insurance?
    • The answer is unfortunately complicated, as insurance has become more complex.  Austen Riggs is out-of-network with ALL insurance companies.  If an individual's policy has potential benefits for Residential, Mental Health, Out-of-network, then we will assist the individual/family in trying to obtain some coverage from their insurance company.  About 30% of our patients receive some form of coverage from their insurance.  However, because the rate of insurance coverage is low and often quite slow, payment to Riggs is due in advance.  We work hard to help our patients and their families get as much coverage from their insurance as we can. Read more.
       
  • What does a typical day look like?
    • See our sample schedule.  Schedules are comparable to a college schedule.  A patient may have a couple of appointments in the morning and a few in the afternoon, but there will be downtime between them and in the evenings.
       
  • What does a patient do during downtime?
    • The time is theirs to use as they see fit.  There are a number of common areas for interacting with peers, watching television or playing games, a recreation room with game tables, a full gym, an art studio, music cottage, and greenhouse and other activities for patients to participate in, both on and off campus.
       
  • Is there treatment on the weekends?
    • Groups focused on building relationships are offered on the weekends and nursing staff is available around the clock.  There are doctors on call for emergencies.
  • Can a patient have a part time job or go to school while receiving treatment?
    • During the initial six-week evaluation and treatment phase this is not recommended, as the focus is on immersion in the intensive therapeutic community program and building peer relationships.  
       
  • Can I continue to do my job (via phone/internet) from Riggs?
    • This is something you would need to discuss with your individual Riggs therapist, but, as in the answer about a part time job or going to school, it is not recommended during the evaluation and treatment phase, as your focus should be on the immersion in the intensive therapeutic community program and forming peer relationships.
       
  • What happens if I do not connect with my therapist?
  • How soon can I step down into a transitional program?
  • Why do I need an evaluation if I have already had one recently somewhere else?
    • While you may have already had an extensive evaluation at another hospital, we have learned it is important for our treatment of an individual to make our own assessments.  We also conduct some psychological tests that are only performed at Austen Riggs.
       
  • Can I have visitors?  How often can my family come?
    • Yes!  You can have friends and family visit whenever you like.  They may not stay on campus overnight, but if they stay locally, you may stay with them if you wish.  We encourage contact and interaction with your friends and family during your treatment.
       
  • Do many patients leave on the weekends or for the holidays?
    • Most patients stay on campus on weekends, though you’re welcome to visit home or travel elsewhere.  Depending on where patients live, they may leave for a holiday, but many remain on campus for the holidays as well.  
       
  • If I leave early is any of the prepayment refunded?
  • Do you offer scholarships or financial assistance?
    • We do offer the opportunity for Fee Reductions based on need.  The one page application is completed by the payer and returned with the most recent two years of tax returns of the payer. Our financial department will determine eligibility for a discount based on need that may be 5% to 25% off the cost of treatment.
    • We do not offer scholarships or work-to-pay programs.
       
  • Do I need to bring any money?
    • The prepayment due on the day of admission covers the cost of treatment, room and board provided by Riggs.  You may choose to bring spending money if you wish to go off campus and take part in activities not provided by Riggs.
       
  • Can I continue to have contact with my outpatient therapist?
    • You may have contact with your outpatient therapist while you are here, but you may not receive treatment from him or her while you are a patient here.

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