Thursday, June 3, 2010

Is Behavioral Health Cost Containment Really Worth A Diminished EAP Model?

When I hear in the national news that some employee turned violent in a horrible and tragic incident and shot coworkers, I can't help but wonder if--as the bullets flew--there wasn't in that employee's hip pocket or purse, a health insurance card and a barely visible, small type, "1-800 EAP" number printed on the back of it; a practically invisible, poorly promoted telephone helpline.

Is this sort of cost containment to prevent access to behavioral health benefits really worth it to companies? I think if they knew the real story, and had a different impresssion what risks they really face with a "DEAP" "diminished EAP", they would think twice about it.

A CT-EAP (core technology EAP) can reach out so much more, do more, and be more than what some of these benefits entities have sold or given away to America's employers. Where's the education to change all of this?

If we research the tragedies seen in the news via the Internet, would be discover that there was an EAP, but that it was a diminished model or program that appeared to have a poor promotional plan?

Of course, the next thought is whether a more effective EAP model or promotional effort would have made a difference and saved some lives with effective outreach and solid supervisory referral processes taking place in the organization.

Is health insurance "cost containment" to prevent use of behavioral health benefits, as much as possible, really worth the risk of a diminished EAP delivery model? I don't think it is.

It's simple math. Remove regular EAP promotion, visibility, and the ability to offer "high touch" access to the workforce and you will destroy top-of-mind visibility for the EAP. You will see fewer referrals, less EAP involvement in the organization, less "thinking" about how to use the EAP in new ways, and few supervisor referrals to be sure. You will get more risk to the workplace, coworkers, and the financial well-being of the organization. Only if you have worked for internal EAPs, external EAPs, and office cubicle managed care EAPs, can you truly see the enormous difference in accessibility, utilization, and risk associated with these various contrasting models.

When you get home to tonight, look on the back of your spouse or partner's insurance card. See if there is a 1-800 # to the EAP or leads to an EAP once it is called.

Then ask yourself is this EAP working? And, for whom or what?

Get information to include in your EAP Refresher Training Program here. Increase your supervisor reach and effectiveness of supervisor referral processes in your CT-EAP.