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 4 days a week in sessions lasting 2 hours and 15 minutes to provide more support and direction than traditional outpatient care. 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. Individual and family sessions are scheduled on an as needed basis. Generally, individual or family sessions are routinely scheduled with the adolescent program and eating disorder program. The type of session 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.
Who is appropriate for the IOP?
The Light Program is appropriate for adults and adolescents struggling on a regular basis to function in school, at work, in family relationships, or at home. Most of the patients/clients who will benefit from this program include individuals struggling with Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Panic Attacks with or without Agoraphobia, and Anxiety Disorders (GAD, PTSD, Phobia, OCD). If you are unsure, please review the checklist below for yourself or a loved one:
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, your spouse, 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
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you or your loved one would benefit by attending The Light Program.
II. Admission Criteria
What are the Admission Criteria for the Light Program?
The client must meet all of the following:
1. The 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).
2. The client’s problems may be stabilized with other treatment and/or medication(s) that do not prevent the client’s active participation in treatment in The Light Program setting.
3. The client is able to comprehend and understand the materials and information presented and will be an active participant in the treatment process.
4. The client is assessed as not being at immediate risk of harming self or others or is willing to follow a safety plan.
5. The client expresses a willingness to cooperate, participate in, 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 and New Jersey locations.
• 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 is unable to effectively offer treatment for the following populations:
• Blind or significantly visually-impaired
• Hearing impaired
• Cognitively impaired
A referral to another program will be provided.
What if a client is in a wheel chair or cannot climb stairs?
Many of our 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 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 at that site cannot be made, the client will be referred to the nearest Light Program or another more appropriate functional treatment program available.
IV. Referral Procedures
When should you refer someone to the Light Program?
You should refer to The Light Program when:
· You or the person was recently discharged from an inpatient facility
· You or the person is not keeping up with daily responsibilities and believes that things cannot change
· You or the person is continuing to engage in self destructive behaviors
· Depression screening score is in the severe range as determined by a qualified mental health professional
· The client is saying they need more help or are calling their therapist every week in between sessions
· You or the person needs more than once a week mental health appointments
How can someone be referred to the IOP?
To refer yourself or someone else to The Light program, call 888-686-7511 to speak with an 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: the client themselves, inpatient facilities, therapists, psychiatrists, family members, Employee Assistance Programs, schools, and Managed Care Companies.
For clients who wish to use insurance benefits to off-set the costs of their treatment, the referral protocol of the Managed Care Organization will be followed to access mental health treatment benefits. Our Intake Coordinators are available to assist the person in verifying services their insurance plan will cover. Most health plans utilize similar procedures to determine eligibility and authorization for care based on a review of benefit balances and The Light Program Intake Coordinators will assist the person in navigating their insurance company’s required processes.
What if a hospital or residential placement wants to make a referral when one of their clients is discharged?
In the case of individuals being discharged from inpatient or residential facilities, the Intake Coordinator will process the registration in collaboration with the facility and schedule an initial appointment with the Primary Therapist. The Intake Coordinator will then notify the Primary Therapist of the client’s information and scheduled appointment in advance of their arrival. The hospital or residential treatment facility will provide information regarding the scheduled appointment to the client.
What if there is an emergency phone call referral?
In the case of an emergency call, the Intake Coordinator will gather information to determine whether the client is in imminent danger. If it is an emergency, the client will be referred to their local emergency room or 911 for immediate assistance and to ensure they receive the appropriate higher level of care. Otherwise, the client will be registered and scheduled for the first available, mutually agreeable initial appointment with the Primary Therapist.
V. Intake Procedures
How soon will a patient/client be seen for evaluation?
An Intake Coordinator will assign the client for an evaluation with the primary therapist of The Light Program nearest to where the client lives or in the client’s preferred location. Clients will be seen for initial evaluations within two business days. Sometimes, a client may be scheduled the same day the registration phone call is made.
What can a patient/client expect upon intake?
The Primary Therapist will greet the person by introducing him or herself and welcoming the client to The Light Program. The therapist and the client will then meet individually to discuss The Light Program and their reason for attending the initial evaluation. During this meeting, paperwork and other documents will also be completed and goals will be developed based on the person’s individual needs.
A determination will be made as to whether or not The Light Program is the appropriate level of care. If it is, the client will start the program as soon as that day. If The Light Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is not appropriate, the therapist will provide alternative resources such as 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 client is expected to attend each scheduled session and be an active participant in the program. Each client will establish personal goals with their Primary Therapist. The Primary Therapist will explain the scheduled days and times the IOP meets during the Initial Evaluation appointment. If a client cannot attend a scheduled session, s/he should call the Primary Therapist or Intake Coordinator regarding her or his need to be absent.
In between sessions, the client will often be encouraged to complete individualized homework such as journaling, scheduling daily activities, tracking the times s/he engages in a positive or healthy behavior, or other agreed upon activities.
Medication is often part of treatment. If a client already has a psychiatrist, s/he will have the option to obtain a second opinion with one of The Light Program’s affiliated psychiatrists. Clients are expected to share any issues or side effects regarding their medication as soon as possible to address the concerns.
A client will attend The Light Program on average for 18 sessions. These will generally occur over the course of 4 to 8 weeks.
What can a patient/client expect from the therapist running the IOP groups?
A 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 authorizations as appropriate and inform the client as to the number of sessions that are approved.d.
What is expected of the psychiatrist?
The psychiatrist will initially meet with the client for 45 minutes or longer. The psychiatrist will assess the benefits of medication and discuss any possible side effects the client may experience. Clients are encouraged to ask questions and share concerns regarding the medications being prescribed.
What if client sees a private psychiatrist or a psychiatrist not associated with The Light Program?
The Primary Therapist will obtain a written release for permission to contact the designated psychiatrist. The Light Program needs to work together with the client’s physician 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
o The Light Program Staff will request or provide agreed upon information with identified other party (i.e. referral source, Primary Care Physician, or others).
· The Light Program therapist or psychiatrist is made aware that a client is being abused.
o The Light Program staff will contact the Clinical Director to review the case. A decision will be made to contact Child Abuse Hotline or other appropriate reporting agencies and follow mandated reporting requirements. In the event that a minor is being abuse, The Light Program staff will inform the client’s parent(s)/caregivers, if clinically appropriate.
· A client describes an intent and a plan to commit suicide and will not agree to plan for their safety.
o The client will be referred to a psychiatric hospital. If the client is a minor, The Light Program therapist will inform parent(s)/caregivers of the situation and the referral to the hospital.
· A client describes intent and a plan to commit homicide.
o The client will be referred to a psychiatric hospital. If the client is a minor, The Light Program therapist will inform parent(s)/caregivers of the issue and the referral to the hospital.
If a client who is suicidal or homicidal refuses to follow a plan for hospitalization or leaves the program against medical advice, The Light Program staff will call 911 to explain the situation and will follow the direction 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
· Reduction in reported and/or observable symptoms
· Client no longer reports active suicidal or homicidal ideation
· Participation in the development of and agreement with a follow-up Aftercare Plan
How does a client know when treatment in the IOP is over?
When the client indicates that he or she feels able to resume normal daily activities, the Primary Therapist will work with the client to develop an Aftercare Plan which supports continued and ongoing health. The length of treatment will depend upon the client’s progress and ability to function on a day to day basis. The Primary Therapist will use the client’s feedback to work with the insurance carrier to have sessions approved as long as they are clinically necessary.
What happens if a 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 the client to:
· Discuss the reasons for the termination
· Discuss a referral for continuing recovery
When would a Primary Therapist recommend premature termination from The Light Program?
Enforcement of involuntary discharge is the responsibility of the Primary Therapist and Clinical Director. The Light Program may discontinue a client’s treatment with the program if the following occur:
· Client is physically violent or threatens physical violence toward other clients or staff.
· Client fails to reliably attend the program and/or is frequently absent.
· Client refuses to participate in program activities as set forth in the Comprehensive Treatment Plan and program format.
Can a client return to The Light Program?
A client may return to the Program if he or she feels unable to participate in normal daily activities. Then the client should follow the initial process by calling Intake at 888-686-7511. He or she may be scheduled for an Initial Evaluation as appropriate.
VIII. Aftercare Planning
What happens after attending the The Light Program?
Once The Light Program is completed, clients will typically be referred to traditional outpatient therapy (once a week individual appointments) with a mental health therapist and medication monitoring through a psychiatrist. If the client had a therapist and/or a psychiatrist prior to entering the Program, the client will be referred back to that therapist and/or psychiatrist. If the client does not have a therapist and/or psychiatrist prior to entering The Light Program, a referral will be made to support ongoing recovery based on the insurance coverage, scheduling needs, and nearest office location.
IX. Program Fees
What is the cost of The Light Program?
The Light Program accepts most of the major health plans including Personal Choice, Keystone, Horizon, Aetna, and many more. To find out if The Light Program accepts a client’s health insurance plan, contact an Intake Coordinator at 888-686-7511 with the insurance information. If you are referring a client, you may contact an Intake Coordinator and discuss the client’s insurance information with the permission of the client. Clients are expected to pay the patient responsibility portion as defined by the insurance plan (usually referred to as a co-payment or co-insurance). This payment is due at each session. If The Light Program does not have a contract with the client’s insurance plan, The Light Program may contact the insurance carrier to negotiate a single case agreement or to make arrangements as an out-of-network provider. If no arrangements can be made, the client would be charged a cash fee which will be determined with the client.
X. Grievance Procedures
What does a client do if s/he is unhappy with treatment?
If a client is unhappy with the treatment she or he is receiving while in The Light Program, there are several options.
· First, contact the Primary Therapist to discuss the issues and the client’s expectations for their treatment. If that kind of treatment is not possible, other services will be recommended if clinically appropriate.
· If the client does not wish to speak with the Primary Therapist, she or he can call 888-686-7511 and ask to speak with the Clinical Director for The Light Program.
· Following these steps, the client can also contact any of the agencies or offices that oversee the Mental Health Treatment Programs within their county. A list of these offices are included in the Client Handbook provided at admission.
For more information or to make a referral, please CALL 888-686-7511.