Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Improving EAP Utilization Hack #24: Engage Hospital Emergency Rooms to Refer Employees

If you could sit in an emergency room for a week, you would discover that about 3.5% of admissions would be alcohol-use/abuse/ism related and diagnosed upon admission by the ER docs.

There are many more patient admissions to hospitals that are in some way related to addictive disease, but are not necessarily treated or addressed. Many are ignored. In this case above, I am talking about obvious injury or health problems attributed to alcohol use/abuse. 

Many of these patients are in an acute state of remorse--a crisis exists--and the opportunity to successfully motivate them to enter treatment is high. A referral for help is easier than it will be tomorrow. As a bonus, a family member or concerned friend often accompanies these patients, and they add leverage and influence in the referral process.

If an ER patient is an employee of a company that your EAP serves, an eventual referral of the patient to your EAP by the ER staff during the ER visit could be a way to boost EAP utilization and your alcohol-related stats--the most precious kind.

The key is having the medical staff AND the social workers in the hospital know that you are available via referral--and having them remember your EAP. It's tricky. They should also be encouraged to have the patient phone the EAP at the ER (24/7 if need be) and leave a message for you to get back to them. In other words, this ball should start rolling immediately. The patient should not be sent out the door with just an EAP business card or number on a post-it note. You can kiss this sort of referral good-bye.

ERs will love you for this help because hospitals must refer patients to appropriate resources in the community, and why not have this be you? You can help them avoid the time-consuming brokering role by making yourself available, do an assessment, and motivate the patient/client to accept an appropriate level of care.

You need to create a communication system to help ensure a busy 3-shift, high turnover ER department remembers you. I can't say I know exactly how to do this, but I have ideas. I have walked the walk on this post by the way, but I did not have the communication piece right. If I attempted this again, I would simply send a monthly newsletter like Frontline Employee with a message or specially not on it after doing an inservice that provide CEU/CME credit.

Think about this EAP utilization hack #24. Make it work, and you may increase the relevance of your EAP, save more lives, and keep your program from becoming MCD'd (Managed Care Demised)

*Source: Page 20-22 of