New White Paper Examines Advantages of Strategic EAP Versus Gatekeeper Benefit Models

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<strong>New York &mdash; Feb. 27</strong><br />The advent of managed care has cheapened many of America&rsquo;s employee assistance programs, in both costs and in the services they offer. Today&rsquo;s employers have two models of EAPs to choose from: the strategic model or the benefits-driven model, and making the wrong choice can have serious business consequences.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s the theme of a complimentary new white paper from Corporate Counseling Associates (CCA), a provider of human capital consulting, EAP and work-life services. &ldquo;EAPs: Commodity or Workforce Investment?&rdquo; is authored by Robert Levy, president of CCA, and examines the hallmarks of a strategic EAP as well as the pitfalls of what he terms a &ldquo;gatekeeper&rdquo; model.<br /><br />&ldquo;More than ever, organizations need to recognize whether their EAP is a trusted business partner or a simple benefit commodity,&rdquo; said Levy. &ldquo;A consultative program shows its true value when disasters and workplace calamities strike, but it&rsquo;s equally important to have a firm that can handle everyday employee problems such as mental illness, behavioral issues or substance abuse.&rdquo;<br /><br />While EAPs originated in the 1950s and 1960s as a tool for addressing occupational alcohol problems, the rise of managed care has transformed employee assistance programs into a health care benefit, away from their core value of aiding employee performance. Many providers have been shifted to regional call centers, despite the fact that millions of employees suffer from workplace impediments.<br /><br />Even though consultative EAP services cost less than $30 per person to provide, many employers continue to focus more on prices than productivity gains. To that end, the CCA paper also examines the costs of untreated employee problems, including substance abuse, obesity, depression and other mental illnesses. It also traces the history and evolution of EAPs to give context to the current environment. <br /><br />&ldquo;The best employee assistance programs provide a unique business advantage by combining an expertise in human behavior with a deep knowledge of workforce dynamics,&rdquo; noted Levy. &ldquo;If all an EAP offers is a commoditized benefit, it&rsquo;s hard to see the value.&rdquo;<br />

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