Sanford Virtual Programs

The Covid Silver Lining: As we continue to serve our clients while responding to COVID-19, we have implemented and expanded Sanford Virtual Addiction Treatment. At Sanford, we are all healthcare workers on the front lines, looking out for our patients every day. And we are committed to helping public health facilitators contain the coronavirus pandemic and all public health concerns, while also making sure those with substance use disorders (SUD), eating disorders and mental health issues receive the treatment they rely upon.


Virtual treatment or telehealth is the one silver linings during the dark cloud of the pandemic. Telehealth allows our clients to adhere to “stay-in-place” and “socially distance” requirements, while continuing to receive treatment and the benefits of connection to the Sanford community. In fact, as we all begin to emerge from the isolation of the past twenty months, our expanded telehealth programs are continuing for the foreseeable future.

At Sanford we acknowledge that in-person therapy is still the most effective way to treat patients diagnosed with mental health disorders. But the pandemic also brought virtual treatment to the fore, and with it the value of telehealth.

Our virtual programs are still available in Sanford Outpatient Center, Sanford Comprehensive Treatment for Eating Disorders, and the Family Program. We also utilize virtual treatment for those in areas where addiction treatment is not readily available. And virtual treatment is ideal for Sanford patients who have completed Residential Treatment, but live outside of the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. Those patients are able to participate in a long-term continuum of care while integrating back into their home and work environment.

Telehealth is also ideal for those who are not medically stable or who cannot get to an in-person group because of childcare, work, or school commitments.

What is Virtual Addiction Treatment

At this time, almost everyone in the United States has used telehealth for health-related problems. Telehealth use increased 800% during the pandemic! Simply put, virtual addiction treatment utilizes “video chat” technology to offer the same evidence-based practices that our in-person programs provide, but in the comfort and safety of home. This was especially significant during the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs offered in our virtual treatment model are Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT); Day Treatment; Intensive Outpatient Programs; Outpatient Programs; and one-on-one and family counseling. We are continuing to add new programs as demand and our research dictates.

Sanford Virtual Addiction Treatment is HIPAA-compliant, insurance-eligible and developed following Our professional Admissions Specialists are available to answer all questions you may have about our virtual programs.

Interactive virtual programs are accessed using a smartphone with a downloaded APP, or a computer with a video camera connection. Closed captioning is available. Groups are accessible by phone call-in if no Wi-Fi is available. Video groups are real-time and facilitated by a master’s level or higher clinician. It works very much like other group video technology – participants look at the screen instead of each other in a circle when face-to-face. The screen contains a grid of participant faces (similar to the intro to the old TV show The Brady Bunch). And when the facilitator speaks, or anyone in the group participates, the group can see who is talking. At Sanford, we adhere to strict compliance with confidentiality: first names are used to identify group members. Also, email addresses are protected.

How Do I Get Started?

Virtual addiction treatment starts with a phone call to our admissions team: 616.202.3326

  • Our admissions team will conduct a phone assessment and provide verification of insurance benefits, answer questions and “check you in”.
  • You will be assigned a primary therapist and that person will reach out to schedule a biopsychosocial assessment. The assigned primary therapist will give clear instructions on how to enter a virtual group at that time.
  • You will be assigned to a particular group and receive your schedule.
  • Behind the scenes, our facilitators, administrators and clinicians will coordinate schedules, training guides, technical updates and generally keep each other informed.

At Sanford we understand that isolation is one of the earmarks of active addiction. And that community, friends and family connections are key to long-term recovery. In that regard, we make all of our programs, including virtual, a communal experience.

Sanford’s Excursions Magazine is another online resource for all. With articles covering recovery stories, clinical and scientific topics, nutrition, and wellness, Sanford in the news, and more.

Get In Touch

For details on our locations call us at 616.202.3326 or fill out the form below