Are Private Addiction Treatment Centres Good or Bad?

As the director of business operations at Top of the World Ranch, I have wanted to address the question, “are private addiction treatment centres good or bad?” for quite some time. One of my responsibilities here is to help market our private addictions treatment centre.  This is easy to do because I have seen so many lives saved here over the years. I have seen people arrive at the Ranch feeling desperate, lost and ready for change.  I have seen people work through so much pain, trauma, guilt and loneliness to find promise and purpose for their lives and the desire to thrive in life-long recovery.   Along this journey, they bravely relinquish the false aids – alcohol, drugs, behavioural addictions.  They face the darkness, learn new processes, accept help, and begin to reclaim their lives. Our staff supports our clients in this work and encourages them to take each brave new step towards recovery knowing that they are not alone.  We provide an emotionally safe environment, tools for recovery, and the support of a whole community while they are here and after they leave.

So, how can this possibly be bad?  And yet, lots of people (mostly in the anonymity of social media forums) say this is just terrible.  I see all the comments in our social media ads.  Many of the comments are positive but some are simply nasty-ugly-awful.  Why?  Because it costs money, too much money, they say.  They say what we are doing is wrong.

So, I thought I’d take a stab at this.  Are private addiction treatment centres a bad thing?  Or a good thing?  I’ll start by simply describing what a client receives during their time at our private centre.  I’ll talk about the cost.  I’ll share my thoughts.  Then of course, you can decide for yourself.

A Week In The Life At Top of the World Ranch

In any given week, our client will experience two sessions of one on one counselling, two sessions of men’s or women’s group, two sessions of small group therapy, two sessions of aftercare counselling, three psycho-educational seminars, one session of equine therapy, three recovery-oriented yoga sessions, two tai chi sessions, one communication/clearing circle, one mindfulness session, one spirituality session, one art or music experience, one AA meeting, one CA meeting, one NA meeting, a Big Book study, a ceremonial sweat lodge experience, a special speaker, an optional opportunity to attend a church service, 21 delicious meals prepared by a Red Seal chef, and be able to use our gym, hike, bike, kayak, canoe, ski, skate, snowshoe, and fish on 300 acres of pristine private land.  It sounds like a lot, and it is.  Everything we do keeps our clients focused on the work they need to do, and their recovery.

Why Does Private Addiction Treatment Cost So Much?

After reading the last paragraph, you now know how much care, therapy, exercise, activities and nutrition a client receives each week while in treatment. Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of where the cost comes from.  We do not receive any government support. All costs are paid either by the client, the client’s family or by a third-party payor such as the client’s employer.  The daily rate for a client attending for 30 days is $598.  The longer you stay, the less the daily rate is.  For a client attending for 90 days, the daily rate is $477.   The 30 days is $17,950 before tax.  90 days is $42,950 before tax.  With these prices, Top of the World Ranch is the middle as far as cost goes, compared to other private centres.

Good Thing Or A Bad Thing?

Here are my thoughts.  First – of course, I wish all people who need and want this help could afford to come here and receive this quality of service.  Government-funded in-patient addiction treatment is available to people lacking financial resources, but the wait time can be quite long.  Is it “fair” that people without money must wait while people with access to money can get high-quality care right away?  This is an ethical question around capitalism, pure and simple.  And the role of capitalism/private enterprise in health care.  All of which is beyond the scope of this blog. I’m sure doctoral dissertations are being written on this topic.  I do know that it makes me sad to think people who need help can’t get it in time.

Top of the World RanchHowever, I also know this.  Having inpatient beds available in private addiction treatment centres takes some stress off the public system, and frees up spaces there.  That is good.  Private centres can also drive innovation and help raise the bar with regard to the quality of services; the sharing of this information across professional circles benefits all.  That is also good.  So many people do recover in private centres like mine.  Again, good.

A Final Thought To Share

I’ve always thought that capitalism can only really work well in a society imbued with justice, compassion and generosity.  I am heartened to say that Top of the World Ranch operates on those principles and apparently, we have alumni who do too.  Every now and again, an alumnus contacts us to pay it forward.  They “scholarship” someone to attend, who couldn’t otherwise.

How good is that!

June Sobocinski 
Business Operations and Marketing – Top of the World Ranch

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