Have you ever wondered about your employees’ mindsets?  Why aren’t they focused on the task at hand?  Do they care about their work or just earning a paycheck? You believe you have the answers but there’s a strong inkling that things aren’t as good as they could be.

Your inkling is right.  You may be shocked to know that 3% of your employee population use opioids for non-medical purposes.  Tack on another 4% of your employees suffering with severe anxiety, 6% experiencing severe depression and 4% being dependent on alcohol. These are your employees operating forklifts, driving the corporate vehicle, creating budgets and serving meals.  Are you turning a blind eye to this tremendous business risk because of the stigma associated with substance abuse and behavioral health conditions? Have you resigned to an “out of sight-out of mind” attitude because you’re not the cause of their issues?

Now consider that 30% of your working WC claimants, all of whom received injuries under your employment, take opioids more than 90 days and are impaired on the jobsite.

How have we arrived at the point where 50% of all WC claimants are using opioids continuously for 90 days and will remain on them for years?  The short answer is that Americans have lost their capability to cope with stress – stress in the form of physical and mental pain.

The U.S. health care delivery system is not addressing the root causation of patient pain; it is overwhelming reactionary.  Over the past decade, it has become all too easy to obtain a prescription for opioids and we now find ourselves in the midst of an epidemic.  In response, stricter prescribing regulations have been implemented driving patients into the street to obtain the fix that addresses the perception of their reduced pain thresholds.

An overwhelming majority of the provider-based solutions take a short-term, one-size-fits-all approach to substance abuse detox and rehabilitation.  Like care delivery, insurer-based risk management solutions are reactionary and lack the clinical proficiency to effectively address patient needs and pain management.  The best-practice approach for the treatment of substance abuse and behavioral health conditions requires a proactive, peer-to-peer application.  It epitomizes the moniker that medicine is an art, not a science.  Full recovery depends on a long-term, doctor-patient interaction addressing not only the disease but emphasizes non-pharmaceutical pain management, stress coping skills and psycho-social resources.  Success not only encompasses the patient but the family and friends that operate as the support system around them.

The status-quo will no longer do. The time has come to get beyond the stigma and acknowledge the substance abuse and behavioral health conditions within our employee and insured populations.  These conditions pose a tremendous risk to your business operations.  Since a lack of resources in the care delivery and insurance systems are inadequately addressing the comprehensive needs of the lives you employ, the risk is all yours until you engage the proven solutions available in the marketplace.

Written by:
Joe Bosche
SVP, Business Development, Integrated Behavioral Health