Update: Sanford Outpatient and Virtual Treatment

The Governor issued Executive Order 2020-21, requiring all people in Michigan to “stay home and stay safe” three months ago. Since that time, Sanford has worked to provide addiction treatment for our clients under these extenuating circumstances. Our Residential Programs are available with testing, increased policies and response protocols. And we were able to pivot quickly to Virtual platforms in Outpatient. Allowing our clients to continue treatment and establish connection while physically distancing during the pandemic.


We were able to turn to virtual options for outpatient treatment. And I am grateful that Sanford is resilient, fast moving, and innovative. All of us at the Outpatient Center miss the in-person connection. And we prefer to conduct outpatient programs face to face. But virtual treatment is here to stay. Our clients have struggled with the added stressors in our country at the moment. Telehealth has allowed us to continue our work, while keeping everyone safe.

Katie Vokes, Director of Outpatient Services, Medical Manager


Updates in Outpatient

Virtual Treatment

It is of note, that virtual programs are still tethered to the “real world” of training, administration, evidence-based practices, government regulations, and HIPAA compliance. Converting to virtual platforms is not just a technical issue. Our therapists must become familiar with the technology, manage capacity, maintain privacy, and track attendance. And our Outpatient Coordinator is stand ready to provide orientation and ongoing support to clients and therapists alike.


Virtual outpatient treatment is HIPAA-compliant, insurance-eligible, and real-time with a master’s level clinician as facilitator. Programs offered are:


Medication-Assisted Treatment 

Sanford’s Medication-Assisted Treatment Program (MAT) combines psychosocial behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy to treat substance use disorders. Treatment for MAT includes group, individual, and family therapy along with medical services and medication management. And our clinicians work alongside our medical team at all levels of care.


Our MAT programs in outpatient, are individualized. And virtual MAT programs always have a component of medical/wellness checks, group therapy, and individual therapy sessions. Our Medical staff is also available for telehealth and/or in-person visits as needed.

Katie Vokes, Director of Outpatient Services, Medical Manager


outpatient addiction location

And waiting for in-person groups to start …


Intensive Outpatient (IOP) – 5 Day Program and 3 Day Program

IOP programs help to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol and drug addiction, individual health issues, and trauma in the lives of individuals. IOP provides structure and accountability while encouraging our clients to integrate their treatment into their personal, home and work life.


Outpatient Programs

Weekly group therapy sessions on topics such as; Recovery Maintenance, Early Recovery, and Mindfulness Meditation. The duration of treatment is determined by individual needs. One-on-one and family counseling provides another opportunity for ongoing treatment and connection.


The Family Programs & Alumni Programs

The Family Programs include the loved ones of our clients during treatment and beyond. Family involvement, at every level of treatment, is one of the most important components for a healthy, long term recovery. Because of this, we provide these programs at no charge. And our alumni, support, and family educational groups are fully operational in virtual programs.


The Future of Virtual Treatment

Sanford will always have virtual treatment available. Virtual platforms break down geographic barriers. This allows us to provide a continuum of care to clients stepping down from all levels of treatment who live outside of Grand Rapids. And it opens up the opportunities to help those in areas without in-person options. We also see it as an opening to continue care to those who are sick or who have at home responsibilities. 

Katie Vokes, Director of Outpatient Services, Medical Manager


Opening Back Up

Sanford is initiating a plan to bring some aspects of Outpatient Programs in-person. This is a phased plan based on safety protocols and risk assessment. Sanford will begin slowly, adding one in-person Intensive Outpatient Program. It may also be an opportunity for those in Virtual Treatment, who meet criteria, to join an in-person meeting once a week. More to follow as plans develop.


I’ll say it again, we prefer in-person treatment. Because there is nothing like the community, connection, and like-minded goals we establish in bricks and mortar addiction treatment. But I am proud of Sanford for our ability to pivot after COVID-19 restrictions. And for me, it makes the innovations we are planning for future more within reach. When it comes to our clients, we have proved ourselves capable of just about anything.

Katie Vokes, Director of Outpatient Services, Medical Manager




Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit www.sanfordbehavioralhealth.com.