St. Jude, a self-pay option for substance abuse treatment

The following is a guest post by Michelle Dunbar, Executive Director at Saint Jude Retreats, an alternative to traditional substance use treatment that that I thought may be of interest to readers at The Self-Pay Patient blog. St. Jude Retreats is not affiliated in any way with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

 The Self-Pay Patient and Addiction Treatment

 The concept of addiction treatment is relatively young.   As a matter of fact, it has only become part of the mainstream lexicon for about three generations.   Contrary to popular belief, for the thousands of years prior to drug and alcohol treatment programs existing, people did overcome drug and alcohol problems.   And contrary to much conventional wisdom about drug and alcohol treatment, most people actually overcome addiction on their own, without ever going to treatment.

While addiction treatment is readily available in virtually every county in every state in the country, and millions of people are cycled through the treatment system annually, the addiction problem seems to be more prevalent than ever. And many people who have tried treatment only to fail over and over again have lost hope in ever being able to change their lives.

After working with those struggling with addiction and their families for more than 20 years, I have heard many stories of individuals seeking help who are continuously turned down because they do not have insurance. When calling a rehab, if you are lucky enough to get a real person to answer the phone, the first question is nearly always, “What kind of insurance do you have?”  For those without insurance, this can be disheartening. They know that if they say they don’t have insurance that person on the other end of the phone will end the call and they will have received no help at all.

Most people believe that they need to have insurance to get help for their substance use problems, but there are programs that exist with self-pay options.  In some cases, these programs offer more personalized services and more effective help than those that exclusively take insurance for payment. The CBE (Cognitive Behavioral Education) Program at the Saint Jude Retreats is one such program offering an approach that is far from the mainstream, disease based, 12-Step mantra that is so common. The CBE Program at Saint Jude Retreats has been developed over more than 25 years of research and experience helping people to overcome their drug and alcohol problems permanently.

The researchers at Saint Jude Retreats developed the CBE® method which is offered exclusively at their three residential retreat locations and to individuals in a convenient long distance program online via Skype or in person at a satellite office in Manhattan. Whereas drug treatment programs consist primarily of talk therapy, pharmacotherapy, and 12 Step meetings, the Saint Jude CBE Program is a comprehensive curriculum that is available for review to potential guests and their families.

The Saint Jude’s CBE® Program is comprised of three distinct modules: the first being a well-researched, in-depth analysis of the addiction problem itself and how people can and do permanently overcome it. The second module takes each guest through an intensive self analysis process wherein they identify their patterns of thought and behavior and assess what they would like to change; and the third module is a process of creating their personal blueprint for a successful future.

Multiple program options are available to fit the needs of each person. Programming costs range from less than $200 for a home version of the program, to a few thousand dollars for a series of private online classes, to $14,000 – $30,000 for a 4-10 week stay at one of the retreats. Financial aid, in the form of scholarship grants, is available to help defray the program costs for those who show a financial need. Saint Jude Retreats also works with a few different financing organizations that have helped guests and their families to secure low interest loans.

Prices are all inclusive and, unlike many drug treatment facilities, there are no hidden costs that are tacked on later. The truth is no one ever loses the power of choice over their own thoughts and behaviors. If people were ever truly powerless over alcohol and drugs, they would never be able to stop: not to sleep, not to go to work, not to go to rehab, and certainly not because they ran out of money.   As Dr. Carl Hart is showing in his groundbreaking research at Columbia University, if provided with other options that they deem more desirable, most “addicts” will choose their most desirable option over the drug.

According to the Saint Jude Retreats, the key to helping people to overcome their addiction problem is to first show them that they can do so and then present options that they may find more desirable. Saint Jude’s admits that no one actually needs treatment to overcome a drug and alcohol use problem as research clearly shows most people stop or moderate their behaviors on their own. The CBE® Program at Saint Jude Retreats not only empowers people to take control of their thoughts and behaviors with respect to substance use, but it can also help them to realize their true potential for happiness and fulfillment as well.

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4 Responses to St. Jude, a self-pay option for substance abuse treatment

  1. Thank you, Sean! We appreciate that opportunity and we will be glad to answer any questions your readers might have. Keep up the awesome work!

  2. Mental health care access including addiction are poorly represented in the market. Thanks for educating folks about an available and long lived program, widely available.

  3. Patients and their families are now scouring the Internet to find ethical, independent, well-trained, and available addiction- trained physicians with whom to partner over time in or out of rehab programs. Can they find them? Motivation for substance abuse Recovery is a complicated issue, especially when coupled with psychiatric comorbidity (which is very common). For addictions care, an accountable, quality doctor-patient relationship is really a big plus. Self-Pay Patients also want and deserve data privacy and confidentiality. They do not want doctors compulsively attending to megaclinic pay-for-performance rules, slavishly inputting electronic medical records , “upcoding” for their employing organization’s insurance company reimbursements, or supplicating rationing decisions by private or public Medicrat bureaucrats.

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