THE LIGHT PROGRAM
I. About the Light Program
What is the Light Program?
The Light Program is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that provides group treatment for individuals in crisis or struggling to function on a regular basis. The groups are held 3 to 4 days a week to provide more support and direction than traditional outpatient care, including those who are suffering with major depressive disorder. The IOP is an effective step down transition for individuals coming out of a hospital or as a preventive measure to inpatient treatment.
The core treatment program involves group therapy sessions held 3 to 4 days per week. Individual and family sessions are scheduled on an as needed basis. These sessions are routinely scheduled with the adolescent program and eating disorder program This is determined through the collaboration of the Primary Therapist and the patient/client. The Light Program offers day, evening and weekend programs in several different office locations.
Intensive outpatient treatment is defined as structured, non-residential day or evening treatment services providing psychotherapy for 4 days per week with a minimum of 9 contact hours. Intensive outpatient treatment is designed for those patients who would benefit from more intensive services than are offered at the traditional once a week outpatient level of care, but who do not require partial hospital, inpatient hospital, psychiatric or residential level of care.
Who is appropriate for the IOP?
The Light Program is appropriate for adults and adolescents struggling to function in school, the community or at home on a regular basis. Most of the patient/clients appropriate for this program include those struggling with Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Panic Attacks with or without Agoraphobia, and Anxiety Disorders (GAD, PTSD, Phobia, OCD). If you are unsure review the checklist below:
1. Are you feeling overwhelmed by school, work or family issues?
___ Yes ___ No
2. Are you feeling overly sad and crying more than you want to?
___ Yes ___ No
3. Are you making frequent negative statements about yourself, your situation or your future?
___ Yes ___ No
4. Have you had recent thoughts of hurting yourself?
___ Yes ___ No
5. Have you had recent thoughts of wanting to die or not wake up?
___ Yes ___ No
6. Are you constantly worrying and feeling like things won’t change or work out?___ Yes ___ No
7. Are you having problems sleeping (too much or not enough)?
___ Yes ___ No
8. Are you having problems eating (too much or not enough)?
___ Yes ___ No
9. Are you having conflicts on a regular basis with family, friends, spouses, co-workers, bosses, teachers, or school staff?
___ Yes ___ No
10. Have you recently been discharged from a psychiatric in-patient facility or partial-hospital?___ Yes ___ No
II. Admission Criteria
What are the Admission Criteria for the Light Program?
Patient/clients must meet all of the following:
- The patient/client may exhibit emotional distress, but he or she is able to maintain behavioral stability over a period of time between treatment contacts (2-4 days).
- The patient/client’s problems may be stabilized with ancillary treatment or medication, and do not present obstruction to the patient’s participation in treatment or to the therapeutic milieu.
- The mental status of the patient/client does not preclude his/her ability to: Comprehend and understand the materials presented, and participate in the treatment process.
- The patient is assessed as not being at risk of harming self or others or is willing to sign a safety contract.
- The patient expresses willingness to cooperate and attend all scheduled appointments.
What other admission criteria should be considered?
The other admission criteria to consider are:
Age - A minimum of 18 years of age is required for admission to the adult program. Adolescent services (beginning at age 11) are available based on assessment of the needs of the individual.
Geographic requirements - The Light Program is offered in several Pennsylvania locations and in New Jersey.
Gender - There are no admission criteria based on gender.
III. Special Circumstances
Are there any populations that the Light Program cannot serve?
The Light Program does not offer treatment for the following populations:
Blind and vision-impaired
What if a client is in a wheel chair or cannot climb stairs?
Many of the office facilities are equipped with an elevator or are wheel chair accessible. If a program normally meets somewhere that is not wheel chair accessible and a patient/client who requires such accessibility is admitted to the program, the Primary Therapist will arrange to have the group meet in an office that is accessible. If an arrangement cannot be made, the patient/client will be referred to the nearest and most appropriate treatment program available.
IV. Referral Procedures
When should you refer someone to the Light Program?
You should refer to the Light Program when:
- Patient/client was just discharged from inpatient
- Patient/client is not keeping up with daily responsibilities and believes things can’t change
- Patient/client is continuing to engage in self-destructive behaviors
- Beck Depressions Inventory II score above 25
- Patient/client is saying they need more or are calling you every week in between sessions
- Patient/client needs more than once a week appointments
How can someone be referred to the IOP?
To refer someone to the Light Program call 888-686-7511 to speak with the Intake Coordinator. The Intake Coordinator will obtain all the necessary insurance and demographic information necessary and will schedule the initial evaluation appointment.
Referrals to The Light Program come from a number of sources. The Light Program accepts referrals from: inpatient facilities, therapists, psychiatrists, the patients themselves or family members, Employee Assistance Programs, Schools and Managed Care Companies. This procedure depends on the referral protocol of each Managed Care Organization.
Each Managed Care Organization has specific referral protocols, which must be followed in order to access Mental Health Treatment. In most cases their Managed Care Organization’s Care or Case management Department refers patients to The Light Program. The Intake Coordinator is available to assist the patient in verifying services their insurance plan will cover. Most health plans utilize similar procedures to determination eligibility and authorization for care based on a review of benefit balances.
What if a Hospital or Residential placement wants to make a referral when one of their patient/client’s is being discharged?
In the case of individuals being discharged from inpatient or residential facilities, the Intake Coordinator can record all information and an appointment can be scheduled for the day of discharge. The Intake Coordinator will also request a copy of the facility discharge summary and results of a physical examination (if applicable) be forwarded to The Light Program, provided the patient’s consent is obtained in writing. The Intake Coordinator will notify the Primary Therapist in advance of planned hospital/residential discharges to the Light Program
What if there is an emergency phone call referral?
In the case of an emergency call, the Intake Coordinator will gather as much general information as possible and immediately refer the call to the Primary Therapist or his/her designee. The Primary Therapist will assess the severity of the emergency. On the basis of the Primary Therapist determination of severity, the patient will be referred to the appropriate level of care. The level of care may include inpatient hospitalization, residential rehabilitation, or outpatient referral. If a patient is considered to be non-emergent, they will refer the call back to the Intake Coordinator for a routine intake assignment.
What if a patient/client walks in and requests admission to the Light Program?
“Walk-in’s” are handled according to the severity of symptoms presented by the patient. Non-emergency cases that appear appropriate for outpatient care with the Light Program will be scheduled for an initial appointment (the same day). The Light Program Intake Coordinator will contact the patient health plan and follow appropriate procedures for authorization of care. Emergency cases requiring a higher level of care will be referred to the appropriate emergency provider.
V. Intake Procedures
How soon will a patient/client be seen for evaluation?
Patient/clients will be referred by a number of sources. All patient/clients will be administratively opened through the IOP Intake Coordinator. The Intake Coordinator will assign the patient/client for an evaluation with the primary therapist of the IOP nearest to where the patient/client lives.
Patient/clients will be seen for initial evaluations within 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes, a patient/client may be scheduled the same day the initial phone call is made.
What can a patient/client expect upon intake?
- The Primary Therapist will greet you by introducing him or herself and welcoming you to the IOP. The therapist will then ask you to join them in an office to discuss the IOP and reason for attending the initial evaluation. During this meeting paperwork will also be completed.
- A determination will be made as to whether or not the IOP is an appropriate level of care. If it is you will start the program as soon as that day. If the IOP is not appropriate, the therapist will provide alternatives to you (e.g. traditional outpatient services, in-patient, psychological testing, etc…).
VI. Expectations of Patients/Client and IOP staff
What is expected of the patient/client while attending the IOP?
The patient/client is expected to attend each scheduled IOP session. The Primary Therapist will explain the scheduled days and times the IOP meets during the Initial Evaluation appointment. If a patient/client cannot attend a scheduled IOP session, s/he should call the primary therapist or Intake Coordinator regarding her or his need to be absent.
In between sessions, the patient/client will often be encouraged to complete homework such as journaling, scheduling daily activities, tracking the times s/he engages in a positive or healthy behavior, etc…
Medication is often part of the IOP treatment. If a patient/client already has a psychiatrist, s/he will have the option to obtain a second opinion with one of the staff psychiatrists.
A patient/client will attend the IOP on average 12 to 16 sessions. This will occur over the course of 3 to 5 weeks.
What can a patient/client expect from the therapist running the IOP groups?
A patient/client can expect the therapist to be on time for each group. The therapist will be welcoming, encouraging, honest, and professional. After the initial evaluation, the Primary Therapist will obtain insurance authorization and inform the client of how many sessions were approved.
What is expected of the psychiatrist?
The psychiatrist will initially meet with you for 45 minutes or longer. The psychiatrist will assess the benefits of medication and discuss any possible side effects you may experience. You are encouraged to ask questions regarding the medications being prescribed.
What if client sees a private psychiatrist or a psychiatrist not associated with The Light Program?
The IOP clinician will obtain a written release for permission to contact your psychiatrist to coordinate services and provide continuity of care.
What About Confidentiality?
Confidentiality will be maintained except under the following conditions:
- * The client provides written and verbal consent to share information or receive information.
Action by IOP staff – request or provide agreed upon information with identified other party (i.e. referral source, Primary Care Physician, etc…)
- * IOP therapist or psychiatrist is made aware of a minor client being abused.
Action by IOP staff – inform client that parent(s) if clinically appropriate will be made aware of abuse. Staff will contact Clinical Director to review case. A decision will be made to contact child hotline and follow mandated reporting requirements.
- * A client describes intent and a plan to commit suicide and will not contract for safety.
Action by IOP staff – If client is a minor, staff will inform parent(s) of the situation. Client will be referred to a psychiatric hospital.
- * A client describes intent and a plan to commit homicide.
Action by IOP staff – If client is a minor, staff will inform parent(s) of the situation. Client will be referred to a psychiatric hospital. If adult, patient will be referred to a psychiatric hospital.
If a client who is suicidal or homicidal and refuses to follow plan for hospitalization or leaves the program against medical advice, IOP staff will call 911 to explain the situation and will follow the directions of the authorities.
VII. Completing/Terminating from the Light Program
What are the requirements for successful completion of the Light Program?
The Light Program defines successful completion of treatment as the attainment of the following milestones:
- Regular attendance and active participation in scheduled treatment sessions
- Client/patient no longer reports active suicidal/homicidal ideation
- Reduction in reported and/or observable symptoms
- Participation in the development of and agreement with the follow-up Aftercare Plan
How does a patient/client know when treatment in the IOP is over?
You will be told the number of sessions initially approved by your insurance company within the second or third session by the primary therapist of the IOP. Discharge and aftercare plans will be discussed with each patient/client prior to the last approved session.
What happens if a patient/client wishes to discontinue treatment prior to the discharge date recommended by the Primary Therapist?
At the time of involuntary termination from treatment the primary Therapist will meet with you to:
- Discuss the reasons for the termination.
- Discuss a referral for continuing recovery.
When would a Primary Therapist recommend premature termination of IOP treatment?
Enforcement of involuntary discharge is the responsibility of the Primary
Therapist and Clinical Director. The Light Program may discontinue a patient’s treatment with the program if the following occur:
- You are physically violent or threaten physical violence toward other patients or staff.
- You refuse to participate in program activities as set forth in the Comprehensive Treatment Plan and program format.
- You fail to reliably attend the program and/or are frequently absent.
Can a patient/client return to the IOP?
If you are in need of the IOP in the future, she or he can be referred again and an Initial Evaluation is scheduled.
VIII. Aftercare Planning
What happens after attending the IOP?
Once the IOP is completed, you will typically be referred to traditional outpatient therapy (once a week) and medication monitoring through a psychiatrist. If you have a therapist and or psychiatrist prior to entering the IOP, you will be referred back to that therapist and or psychiatrist. If you do not have a therapist and/or psychiatrist prior to entering the Light Program, a referral will be made based on their insurance coverage, scheduling needs, and nearest office location.
IX. Program Fees
What is the cost of the IOP?
The Light Program accepts most of the major health plans including Personal Choice, Keystone, and Aetna. This includes some of the HMO
and PPO plans. To find out, you can simply contact the Intake Coordinator with your insurance information. If you are referring a patient/client,
once you obtain the permission of the patient/client, you can contact the Intake Coordinator and discuss the patient/client’s insurance
Patient/clients are expected to pay a co-payment (if any) that is determined by the patient/clients’ insurance plan.
If the Light Program does not have a contract with the insurance plan of a patient/client, sometimes a single case agreement can be arranged.
Also, sometimes insurance plans can view the Light Program as an out of network provider and an arrangement can be made.
If no arrangement can be made, the patient/client would be charged a cash fee. The cash fee is $145.00 per session.
- FIRST UNION WACHOVIA
- BOILERMAKERS UNION
- PERSONAL CHOICE
- PERSONAL CHOICE 65
- AMERIHEALTH PPO
- AMERIHEALTH ADMINISTRATORS
- INDEPENDENCE ADMINISTRATORS
- KEYSTONE HEALTH PLAN EAST HMO AND POS
- BLUE CHIP (KEYSTONE HEALTH PLAN EAST)
- KEYSTONE HEALTH PLAN EAST 65
- KEYSTONE HEALTH PLAN CENTRAL HMO
- AMERIHEALTH HMO AND POS
- AMERIHEALTH 65
- SENIORBLUE PPO
- ALLIED TRADES
- TOTAL CARE NETWORK
- MENTAL HEALTH CONSULTANTS
- HORIZON BLUE CROSS BLUE SHEILD OF NEW JERSEY
- LIFE SYNCH-HUMANA
X. Grievance Procedures
What does a patient/client do if she or he is unhappy with treatment?
If a patient/client is unhappy with the treatment she or he is receiving while in the Light Program there are several options. One is that she or he discusses what she or he is expecting and looking for from treatment with the Primary Therapist. If that kind of treatment is not possible, perhaps other services can be recommended. Or if the patient/client does not wish to speak with the Primary Therapist she or he can call the main number 888-686-7511. In addition, the patient/client can contact any of the agencies or offices that oversee the Mental Health Treatment Programs within that particular county. A list of such offices will be given at the time of the Initial Evaluation appointment. This will also be pointed out to each client within the body of the Informed Consent to Treatment Form. A statement indicating receipt of these additional agencies/organizations will also be indicated on the Informed Consent to Treatment Form.