What is the Comprehensive and Treatment (CAT) Program?

The CAT program at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute is a clinical program designed to help gain an understanding of a youth’s mental health and behavioral issues. It is designed as a four to six week program where a multidisciplinary team works closely to evaluate the youth, identify the accurate diagnoses, and actively treat the symptoms. We have expertise in mood disorders (depression, bipolar), anxiety (OCD, GAD, tics), psychosis, autism spectrum disorders, substance abuse, and many other diagnoses.

What makes us stand out from other programs is that many of our child psychiatrists are also pediatricians and thus have a very good understanding of the interactions between medical and psychiatric illness. We can handle many medical conditions that other psychiatric facilities are not equipped to manage.

Who is the treatment team?

The treatment team consists of a child and adolescent psychiatrist, psychologist, pediatrician (when appropriate), social worker, nurses, school teacher, expressive therapists (music, art, and recreation therapy), psychiatric technicians, and nutritionist.

Will my child be in school?

Academics are an important component to a youth’s life and we will evaluate and coordinate his/her academic needs. However, upon initial admission, academics are often a secondary concern given diagnostic confusion of behaviors and symptoms. The school teacher reviews the records concurrently with the treatment team, and we develop an academic plan that is instituted when the youth has stabilized to the point that academics can be productive. Depending on the individual situation, school work may be done on the unit or in some cases in the hospital’s formal classroom.

What sort of other kids will my child be exposed to?

The CAT program is housed on our acute inpatient unit. We have an individualized programing track for these youth. They will be in groups with many other youths who have a variety of psychiatric issues. There will likely be kids with worse problems, many with fewer and others with very different problems from your child. While this is often a concern we hear from parents, we feel confident that our milieu and individualized treatment program provides a very healing therapeutic environment.

What is the family’s involvement?

We strongly encourage the family to be very involved as it is essential to understanding the youth’s presentation and and help us assess their needs. Some parents are able to come out for a few days at the start of the admission. Then we have face to face time with the treatment team before they return home. 

Families have daily phone or email contact with the treatment team and family therapy sessions as clinically recommended via telephone and/or video conferencing. Sometimes, the family will then come back out for more face to face sessions or at the time of discharge.

For some families or some situations, it is not appropriate for the parents to come out with the youth. In these cases, the family will still have daily phone or email contact with the treatment team and conduct therapy sessions by telephone.

What sort of treatment will my child receive?

Each youth’s treatment plan is individualized based on their symptoms and diagnosis. We will review previous records and testing and talk with previous providers (psychiatrists, primary care doctors, therapists, and the like) to obtain a clear understanding of your child. Then, through clinical interviews, appropriate medical evaluations, observation, and further psychological testing, we will refine the diagnosis. This allows us to recommend the best treatment options we can.

Treatment will involve therapy and often can involve medication. Your child’s psychiatrist will discuss medication options with you prior to initiating any treatment. We strongly believe in only providing the best evidence-based care available.

How much does it cost and what is covered?

The cost of our program is designed as a set daily rate that includes all common services from your treatment team (psychological testing, medications, professional fees, and the like). There are times when supplements are charged for non-standard services, such as the need for a 1:1 staffing with your child.

Also, if there are nonstandard medical tests (such as MRIs or EEGs) or medical sub-specialists that your child needs to see, we will work with your insurance to authorize these visits. The business office will be your point of contact for financial questions as we intentionally keep the treatment team focused on providing the best clinical care for your child.

Please call for questions related to billing for the CAT Program.

Why do I have to pay upfront?

Unfortunately, most insurances will not cover this sort of treatment. While we will certainly try to work with your insurance, there is no guarantee that they will pay. Quite frankly, the only way to make this program fiscally possible is to obtain payment at the time of services. If your insurance does indeed pay, you will be reimbursed the difference.

What can I do to prepare?

The more previous records you can obtain prior to admission, the better. That way we have more time to focus on reviewing them and treating your child instead of requesting previous records. Due to HIPPA laws, other facilities cannot send us records they didn’t generate – meaning even if the last placement had all of your child’s records, they can only send their own records.

Because of this we strongly encourage all parents to keep a master file with copies of all of your child’s records. This way you can quickly provide any information to the next provider with minimal hassle. When your child is discharged, we will give you a copy of our reports for your master file and send a copy to your child’s next provider.

What the CAT Program is NOT

The CAT program is not a substitute for an acute inpatient psychiatric admission. While this program can help stabilize a youth and identify the underlying medical and psychiatric conditions, it cannot be done in the typical acute inpatient hospitalization of a few days duration. Often insurances will not authorize for a youth to be in a psychiatric hospital more than three to nine days. While much can be done in this timeframe, it does not lend itself to expansive diagnostic and therapeutic interventions that the CAT program is designed to do.