Men­tal health ser­vices in­crease ROI for CHG Health­care

CHG Health­care’s on-site coun­selors have helped em­ploy­ees decrease their health­care spend and in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity

Employee Benefit News - - CONTENTS - BY AMANDA EISEN­BERG

The staffing firm’s on-site coun­selors have helped em­ploy­ees decrease their health­care spend and in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity.

With a high num­ber of anx­i­ety, post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der and sub­stance abuse cases plagu­ing em­ploy­ees at CHG Health­care’s Salt Lake City clinic, Ni­cole Thur­man de­cided the med­i­cal staffing firm needed to hire a men­tal health coun­selor.

“We have a young pop­u­la­tion, so we have an op­por­tu­nity to help with men­tal health is­sues be­fore they turn into sub­stance abuse is­sues or phys­i­cal health is­sues,” says the se­nior di­rec­tor of tal­ent man­age­ment. “I look at this as pre­ven­ta­tive care.”

The staffing firm, which tem­po­rar- ily places physi­cians in hos­pi­tals and clin­ics, is still in its first year of­fer­ing men­tal health coun­selors to its em­ploy­ees, but the ben­e­fit has earned $1.73 on ev­ery dol­lar it spends on its Salt Lake City on-site clinic. The ROI was based on claims where high costs claims that cost more than $25,000 were not fac­tored, ac­cord­ing to CHG Health­care.

The men­tal health coun­selors are solely avail­able for about 1,300 CHG health­care em­ploy­ees in the Salt Lake City lo­ca­tion. CHG Health­care plans to roll out the ser­vice to 600 em­ploy­ees in its Fort Laud­erdale of­fice this Jan­uary, and is still think­ing about its ap­proach for bring­ing men­tal health ser­vices to lo­ca­tions with fewer than 100 em­ploy­ees. The com­pany started out in Salt Lake City to find doc­tors and med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als for the ru­ral west but it now has four sub­sidiary com­pa­nies that all op­er­ate un­der CHG Health­care. So far, only the Utah­based CHG Health­care of­fers this ser­vice to its em­ploy­ees.

In con­junc­tion with their on­site health part­ner, Marathon Health, CHG Health­care added two coun­selors to its on-site clin­ics in Novem­ber 2016 and said about a third of the 75 visits each month are re­lated to men­tal health.

“We have a re­ally high stress, high in­ten­sity work­place be­cause most of our peo­ple are re­cruiters. They need to make their num­bers,” Thur­man says. “[The coun­selors] see a lot of peo­ple with anx­i­ety, home and work-life bal­ance prob­lems, de­pres­sion, mar­i­tal is­sues, sub­stance abuse, fi­nan­cial well­ness. If we didn’t have our clinic here, [our em­ploy­ees] would go else­where.”

The clinic, man­aged and staffed by Marathon Health, of­fers ser­vices such as pri­mary care, health coach­ing, or­tho­pe­dic in­jury treat­ment, pe­di­atric ser­vices and women’s health, among a myr­iad of other ser­vices, so it’s im­pos­si­ble for the com­pany to know if an em­ployee is seek­ing men­tal health ser­vices or treat­ment for a bad back, Thur­man says.

Thur­man de­clined to re­veal the cost of the men­tal health ser­vices out of con­cern that it would de­ter other em­ploy­ers from of­fer­ing sim­i­lar ser­vices. How­ever, she says the ser­vice is eas­ily scal­able.

Orig­i­nally, the men­tal health ser­vices started out as a re­fer­ral sys­tem, where CHG health­care lead­ers could di­rect their em­ploy­ees. From there, CHG Health­care has ex­panded its ad­ver­tis­ing to fliers, ben­e­fit brochures, on­line com­mu­ni­ca­tions and physi­cian as­sis­tant-led lunch-and-learn ses­sions, Thur­man says.

“There is an un­der­cur­rent that hap­pens here,” she says. “It’s all word of mouth. Some­one will have a good ex­pe­ri­ence and tell some­one else. It’s ex­cit­ing to me be­cause that stigma is bro­ken down.”

Thur­man ad­mits that the com­pany has a good cul­ture built upon trust, which makes a ser­vice like men­tal health coun­sel­ing more widely used by em­ploy­ees.

“It’s con­ve­nient, it’s no cost and it’s high qual­ity,” Thur­man says of the ben­e­fit that is not charged to the em­ploy­ees. “That’s why it works.”

“I look at [men­tal health] as pre­ven­ta­tive care.”

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