Residential Treatment Centers – Teen RTC’s



Residential Treatment Centers

The abbreviation for this type of location is R.T.C. Some insurance companies will pay for placement in a R.T.C. if they do however, they must be accredited with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare or J.C.A.H.O. To be J.C.A.H..O. approved there are more requirements that need to be met than just being licensed as a R.T.C. facility. Usually an insurance company will pay for around 30 or 60 days in a R.T.C. type facility. This sometimes is more like a vacation for the teen. The other drawback is the fact that it is short term. Short term is typically not adequate to help make lasting changes in a teen’s life. If you are considering placement in a R.T.C. you should usually plan on following it up with a long term placement.

This type of placement is usually necessary if the teen has been more heavily involved in substance abuse and will need a de-tox period. Residential Treatment Centers are typically more of a clinical type placement rather than a boarding school placement. There are R.T.C.’s however that include education, and behavior modification as part of their milieu.

Things To Consider

When searching for the best facility for your teen you may want to take the following into consideration. There are long term Residential Treatment Centers that will in some cases qualify for insurance coverage if the facility meets the insurance companies qualifying criteria. Residential Treatment Centers vary in price as well as typical length of stay. Sometimes a program will have two different price structures. They will have one program price for insured families and one program price for non insured families. The program is in essence giving a discount to the family for bearing the total financial burden of their teens care. It is good to find out if and what your insurance plan will cover before you begin the process of searching for a school or Residential Treatment Center. If you know what your insurance companies parameters are it may save you some time in your search.

What if your only hope for help is through your insurance company?

If financially you are unable to pay for a program, school, or Residential Treatment Center and your health insurance is your only hope of financially being able to place your teen. You will need to find out exactly what they are most likely to pay for. You can contact your benefits coordinator at work or review your benefits manually. You can also contact the numbers on the back of your insurance card.

This will require some patients and you should be prepared to be put on hold several times and transferred several times before you find the appropriate person to give you the information you are looking for. Be sure to write the name down of anyone that has been helpful so you can get back in touch with them directly. If possible have your insurance company send you a letter stating that they will pay for the facility you are considering, and if possible have them send you some alternative choices within their network of facilities. If you find an out of network program that you prefer, there may still be some help available but usually at a reduced rate or shorter length of stay. Some R.T.C.’s have a benefit person in the admission’s office that may be able to help you, but usually you will have more time, and interest to pursue this information than they will.

Other Treatment Programs

The term “treatment program” usually indicates that there is some kind of therapy or psychiatric care involved within the program. A lot of the programs and schools popping up today are more of a Teen Boarding Schools than a treatment program. There are two schools of thought regarding treatment programs. First, from the professional you will usually be urged to include some therapy in whatever placement you settle on. This is good if the teen is cooperative. Most of the teens we deal with are not willing to do anything their parents want them to do. Their feeling is: (I don’t have a problem, let my parent get therapy they are the one that has a problem, or if they will leave me alone I will be fine). If you don’t have a willing participant therapy obviously will not work.

The second thought is, if you can get the teen to start to accept the fact that they have a problem and need help they will want to make changes in their life. Sometimes they will work themselves out of the negative situation they are in. This, of course, would not be the case if there are underlying issues of abuse, or problems similar to fetal alcohol syndrome, or detachment disorders, etc. There are, of course, a myriad of diagnoses that are thrown around today. This is not said to undermine the psychiatric community in anyway. It is possible, however, that the teen may just be in need of structure and discipline rather than medication and therapy. With the broad variety of programs now available you should be able to find one that will include therapy and behavior modification, or just one or the other. You will find that you will get a different answer from just about everyone you talk to. You will receive advice from just about everyone.

The decision still ultimately rests on your shoulders, and you will have to live with the consequences. The best advice is to do what you feel is right. After having collected all of the information and having eliminated programs that you know definitely wont work, you should be left with a few good choices. Finances are always a consideration, though they aren’t the main factor. Of course you will do what ever you can to save your child’s life, but you can only help as much as you are financially able. A parent should never consider themselves a failure for having to choose an treatment program.

When your child is sick with a fever you take them to the Doctor. He is able to help because he has been trained to do so. If your teen is in need of behavioral help, it is equally as important to seek help from someone that has had success in helping others with their behavioral problems. This is in no way a sign of failure but one of strength that you had the ability to do what was best for your child, even though it may have been the most difficult choice.

Therapeutic Boarding Schools

One option available to parents with defiant teens is often referred to as a Therapeutic Boarding School. This differs from traditional boarding schools in that they offer therapy along with the other components characteristic of these types of schools. Some have on staff Therapists, Social Workers, Psychologists, even Psychiatrists. Therapeutic Schools have counseling as a part of the daily or weekly schedule. In some cases the more Therapy there is the higher the price of the program. In some locations the Therapist or Councilor, or Doctor may only visit on a regular basis, and is not on the premises at all times. In some programs the Therapist or Doctor may be more hands on working with the kids on a daily basis. This allows the professional to see the child in a day to day setting this cuts down on the manipulation that typically goes on in a therapy session.