Partnering with Employers

Workplace Mental Health Same Day Access: Improving Pathways to Employer-Provided Treatment 

Overview of Problem

Employers know firsthand what it means for their employees or their family members to deal with mental health conditions and substance use disorders (collectively, “behavioral health” conditions).  They have also experienced the frustration of trying to get people the help they need so that they can participate fully at work and in the rest of their lives.  


Employers also know, or should know, that untreated behavioral health problems have dramatic, bottom-line impacts upon productivity, health benefit costs, morale, turnover, skill retention, and training expense.

Vision

We state our vision in terms of a proposition: That early intervention through “same day access” improves employee/patient outcomes and serves employer interests. Most adults spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, and workplaces can play an essential role in maintaining positive mental health. (Mental Health Commission of Canada)

Employers can make a positive contribution to the state of mental health by providing high quality benefits to people with behavioral health conditions and by fostering a workplace culture that supports these employees and their rehabilitation.  The focus of this initiative is on that crucial link in the treatment chain that actually gets someone to the help that they need.  We seek to collaborate with employers and clinicians to create model pathways to accelerate employee access to the right kind of quality care in a timely manner.  
When people are at their most vulnerable and stressed condition, navigating a complex mental health system is often a daunting task.  We want to change the employee (patient) experience of the difficulty in finding the right mental health care services and to eliminate ‘falling through the cracks’. 

 

Solution

Our concept of workplace Mental Health Same Day Access ensures that an employee or dependent in need is placed in touch with a rapid access service which would connect the patient to a telephone or televideo conversation with a designated adult or child psychiatrist or psychologist ‘’same day’’ (within 24 hours). 


The initial consulting mental health professional will determine the immediate needs of the patient and have the options of offering advice to the patient's current providers, scheduling a follow-up conversation to focus on diagnosis, beginning treatment, and/or referring the patient to a specialist who will accept and schedule the patient on a priority basis. Referrals may be made within the UW medical system or elsewhere through inter-network collaboration.  In some situations, the best (or only) option may be for treatment to be delivered through a collaborative care arrangement with a primary care provider. 

Next Steps

We seek to partner with selected employers, employees, clinicians, and healthcare proponents to prove this concept through one and two-year pilot projects with local and national employers.  The basic elements of the pilot project(s) include identification of collaborating employers, service referral and delivery design, coordination with designated care providers, and research into outcomes for patients and employers.

Get Involved

Please contact Ali Iqbal, MBA (aliiqbal@uw.edu) for more information on how to get involved with this initiative.

Co-Chairs
Craig Cole
Ali Iqbal

Ryan Kimmel, MD

UPDATES
as of October, 2019

UW Medicine Mental Health CareConnect originally intended for Boeing employees/ dependents in the designated UW Medicine ACN network launched January 1, 2019 with services provided by UW Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences faculty at UW and Seattle Children’s.

What have learned so far? 

  • Mental health navigation services were a high frequency request for employees and dependents in our UW Medicine accountable care network and community

  • About a 1/3 of total calls are actually requesting same day access to psychiatrists

  • UW Psychiatry and Boeing have agreed to expand the population to included attributed members of the ACN network for year 2 of the pilot in 2020
     

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