Is A Rehab Center Considered A Hospital

Is a Rehab Center Considered a Hospital?

A rehab center is considered a haven for people who are addicted to drugs. Here, patients undergo various forms of treatments, such as individual or group therapy. The length of stay is usually a month, although it can go as long as 3 months.

Rehab Center

Many interested individuals often have questions about what it’s like to go to a rehab center. And for some, the lingering question is this: Does a rehab center qualify as a hospital?

Is a Rehab Center Considered a Hospital?

Well, the answer is no. It is a type of residential mental health treatment environment that provides intensive interventions for a certain period (30-90 days).

A rehab center is different from a psychiatric care hospital, which serves people with mental health conditions who need acute hospital care. Here, individuals with severe addiction are treated through detox and other rehab services.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an institution is considered a psychiatric hospital if it meets the following qualifications:

  • Provides psychiatric services such as diagnosis and treatment under the supervision of an MD/DO
  • Meets the general hospital requirements under the Social Security Act
  • Maintains clinical and other patient records
  • Satisfies the staffing requirements that allow the hospital to run its treatment services

Psychiatric Hospital vs. Rehab Center: Which is Better?

This will depend on your condition.

In essence, a psychiatric hospital is better for those with co-occurring mental health illnesses or severe addiction.

A rehab center, on the other hand, provides care for a longer period. It also provides medical treatment, but to a degree that is less rigid than that of psychiatric hospitals. Here, you may feel as if you’re living a normal life – with some restrictions, of course.

Will Medicare Cover Rehab Center Stay Even if it is Not Considered a Hospital?

Yes. Under Medicare Part A or Hospital Insurance, necessary medical care in an inpatient rehab center will be covered.

Will Medicare Cover Rehab Center

To avail of this coverage, your doctor must certify that you need intensive rehab, continued medical supervision, and coordinated care.

According to the Medicare website, the benefits are as follows:

  • $1,364 deductible for Days 1-60
  • $341 coinsurance every day for Days 61-90
  • Days 91 and beyond: $682 coinsurance per each “lifetime reserve day” after day 90 for each benefit period (up to 60 days over your lifetime)
  • Every day after the lifetime reserve days: Entire cost

Medicare coverage includes the following services:

  • Rehab services such as occupational or physical therapy
  • Semi-private room
  • Meals
  • Nursing services
  • Medications
  • Other services and supplies

How a Rehab Center Works

Though a rehab center is unlike a psychiatric hospital, it comes with a process that is somehow similar to the latter:

1. Intake

Each rehab stint starts with the intake process. This is usually carried out with a phone interview. This allows the counselor to determine if you are a perfect fit for the center. If you need more intensive treatment, he/she might refer you to a psychiatric hospital instead.

Interview questions include:

  • History of drug or alcohol use
  • Medical and mental health history
  • Family and social life
  • History of any treatment

Should you have any questions about the program, intake is the best time to inquire about them.

During the intake, the counselor will brief you about the center’s programs and regulations. He/she will inform you of the treatment plans and goals. You will need to complete the necessary documents during this stage as well.

2. Arrival

Once you arrive at the rehab facility, expect the staff to go through your property. They will confiscate drugs, alcohol, or any other paraphernalia that may be considered dangerous during your stay. You will then be ushered to your room.

3. Detox

People addicted to alcohol and drugs such as opioids, stimulants, and sedatives will need to undergo the detoxification process. Here, the doctor or nurse will administer medications that help reduce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Detox is vital as it may help prevent a seizure, which is a fatal side effect that occurs during withdrawal.

4. Treatment Proper

After detox, you can proceed with the regular treatment process. Depending on your program, you may need to attend individual therapy, group therapy, doctor’s appointments, and/or 12-step meetings.

Treatment also includes other activities such as yoga, exercise, reflection, or journaling.

What to Do After Rehab

What to Do After Rehab

Even if you have successfully weaned yourself off drugs in rehab, it’s not the last step towards recovery. You need to work with a counselor and follow your aftercare plan. It may include any of the following:

1. Outpatient Treatment

This can help you get the support you need after leaving inpatient rehab. It may involve individual or group therapy for several hours a week.

2. Psychotherapy/Counseling

This is an aftercare treatment that may be provided by an addiction counselor, social worker, or psychologist. The usual average is 1-2 sessions a week. However, the frequency may be increased according to your needs.

3. Medication Management

The physician will prescribe medications that can prevent your cravings. You will also need to see your doctor at least once a month for side effect monitoring.

4. Sober Living Homes/Halfway Houses

This is a place for people who wish to live in an alcohol or drug-free environment. It imposes curfews, drug testing, and other rules that keep its residents from relapsing. This is less restrictive than rehab centers since patients get to go home at the end of the day.

5. Recovery Meetings

These are free self-help groups for drug or alcohol-addicted individuals. The most popular is the 12-step group. This includes organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Here, the member can share his/her addiction struggles. He/she will also work with a sponsor who can help him/her attain sobriety.

If 12-step groups are not for you, you may try these other recovery meetings:

  • SMART Recovery
  • LifeRing
  • Women for Sobriety
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety


While a rehab center is not technically a hospital, it’s a place where you can battle your addiction demons. However, your road to recovery should not end there. You should participate in aftercare sessions to decrease your chances of relapse.

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