12 Questions to Ask Every Treatment Provider

Basic questions to ask for an apple-to-apple comparison of alcohol and other drug treatment programs

Use this list to review your options and start your journey.

 1. What type of accreditation or licensing does the program have?

National accreditation programs (such as The Joint Commission, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, or the All-States), look for elements of treatment that research has shown to be effective. State licensing is not the same as accreditation since states vary widely in their licensing requirements.

All Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation service locations are fully licensed in the states in which they operate, and all are accredited by The Joint Commission.


2. What credentials and licenses does the program's clinical staff hold?

Credentials and licenses ensure that the person providing treatment meets nationally recognized standards for professional practice. Some of the credentials held by addiction professionals include LADC (licensed alcohol and drug counselor), LPC (licensed professional counselor), CAC (certified addictions counselor), or CCDP (certified co-occurring disorders counselor).

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's interdisciplinary care teams consist of fully licensed addiction counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists, physicians and nurses, family specialists, spiritual care professionals, social workers, marriage and family therapists, nutritionists, and wellness specialists.

3. Have there been studies to measure the effectiveness of the program's treatment methods?
A treatment center should be measuring how effective their services are as well as using research-based methods.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is one of the few treatment centers in the world to also have an endowed research center. For more than 20 years Hazelden's Butler Center for Research has invested significantly in the scientific study of addiction treatment and outcomes. From doing our own clinical research to collaborating with other researchers, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a recognized leader in publishing scientific findings that advance the field of addiction treatment and recovery.
Our data indicate that 8 out of 10 patients experience dramatic improvements—with more than half of the patients maintaining continuous abstinence for at least one year upon completion of their treatment program with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Our research also indicates that 80% of patients report improved family relationships, better mental health, and an enhanced ability to manage life's problems and challenges after treatment at one of our locations.

4. What is the patient-to-counselor ratio?
It is important to maintain a patient-to-counselor ratio that helps ensure people receive the personalized care and attention required to effectively address their addictions.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation maintains small group sizes and low patient-to-counselor ratios allowing for maximum personal attention from staff. Our program uses an interdisciplinary approach to treatment, which means each patient gets highly-specialized care from a range of care professionals during their stay.

5. Is treatment gender specific?
Research shows men and women recover from addictions differently and have the best opportunity for recovery when separated by gender.

There are times when men and women can benefit from participating in treatment together; however, there also times when gender-specific treatment can benefit recovery. The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation offers gender-specific treatment in our residential primary care programs. When we separate patients by gender, men learn about recovery from other men, and women begin to focus on building a lasting sobriety with the help of other women. Alumni (our former patients) tell us that their gender-specific treatment groups also helped them discuss highly sensitive and personal issues that are unique to a gender.

6. Is medical detoxification ("detox") offered as a part of residential treatment?
Comprehensive, medically supervised detoxification ensures that patients are medically stabilized before beginning the multi-dimensional treatment process.

Upon admission to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, all patients undergo comprehensive medical evaluation of their physical health and receive medical detoxification services, as necessary.

7. Does the program offer an individualized treatment program?
Each person's needs are unique and require an individualized treatment plan based on specific history, issues and needs.

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's abstinence-based, Twelve Step approach is tailored to each individual. The personalized treatment plan, specific to each individual's physical, psychological and spiritual needs, also includes clinical care for co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety disorders.


8. Does the program address a full range of needs to help the individual including medical, psychological, spiritual, social, and health and wellness issues?
Treating patients in a holistic manner, addressing mental health, physical health and spiritual health, will lead to greater success while in treatment and ultimately in recovery.

At the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, each person benefits from an interdisciplinary team of skilled clinicians which consist of addiction counselors, psychologists, physicians, nurses, family specialists, spiritual care professionals, nutritionists, and wellness specialists. On an individual basis, this team works with each patient to ensure that all aspects of addiction and co-occurring disorders that affect the body, mind, and spirit are addressed.

9. What type of help is available for families?
Understanding the recovery process not only helps heal families, but is important for building a healthy support system for those in early recovery.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation has long understood that addiction affects not only the patient but their family as well. To help with the healing process, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation provides a unique Family Program, where patients and family members receive education, guidance, and support for lifelong recovery. And Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's facility in Plymouth, MN offers a Sibling and Parent program. The Family Program is available to anyone, even those who do not have a family member in treatment at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

10. What is the environment at the facility like?
An environment where the patient can relate to others and feel safe will help them focus on learning about their addiction. An environment that reflects respect and dignity will ensure that the patient doesn't feel "institutionalized." Recovery happens in a dignified setting.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation has a strong tradition grounded in the belief that recovery happens in a dignified and respectful setting where a person feels safe and can share in fellowship of others. The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation provides the optimal setting for patients and families to focus on making physical, emotional, and spiritual changes while building lifelong recovery.

Each residential campus is located on rolling, wooded acres with walking trails and abundant natural beauty. Patient living areas and gathering spaces are designed with comfort, safety, and serenity in mind. Our nonresidential settings offer convenient programs for patients to balance treatment with daily work and family obligations.

11. Is there ongoing support after leaving treatment?
Treatment by itself is not enough to sustain recovery for most patients. An aftercare regimen that includes participation in some type of Twelve Step program (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) or other addiction mutual-help group is crucial. A good treatment program will actively help the patient move into the next appropriate level of care.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation knows that treatment of addiction is only the beginning of the path to lifelong recovery. Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation patients can also stay connected through unit reunions, alumni meetings, service opportunities, retreats, workshops and other special events designed for fun and fellowship. The Dan Anderson Renewal Center offers residential, Twelve Step-inspired enrichment opportunities focusing on common issues faced in recovery. Popular retreat topics include forgiveness, spiritual growth, healthy relationships, anger and resentment and meditation. In addition, an intensive, week-long educational workshop called The Lodge Program gives participants the tools to renew their daily practice of recovery.

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's exclusive online program MORE (My Ongoing Recovery Experience) keeps patients connected with us during the critical first 18 months of recovery. The program is free to all residential patients and includes around-the-clock access to information, worksheets and support, plus access to a "recovery coach" and a discussion board with other alumni.

12. Do you work with insurance companies?
Treatment can be a necessary yet significant expense. Navigating the complexities of insurance and other payment options can be confusing, so finding a treatment center that can help you through the details can make all the difference—particularly when tensions are running high.

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is "insurance friendly," meaning not only that we accept insurance, but also that we work hard with insurance companies on behalf of our clients to find the best payment solutions for them. Our financial case managers have an expert understanding of using both in-network and out-of-network benefits, and will work closely with insurance companies to streamline the process for the patient and their family. We also work to determine if patient aid is available and can be used in combination with insurance benefits.

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