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Healthier and Safer Workplaces in Virginia: The CareTrek Answer #3

Posted by Joe Antle on September 26, 2020 11:10 AM EDT
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What are the KEY STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES of CareTrek’s Leading Employer Prospective Clients?  And what is CareTrek's role.....

.... in those key strategic objectives? 

One of the key objectives in presenting our CareTrek EAP enhancement program in responding to the forward-thinking and forward acting employers who see the need to strengthen their Employee Assistance Program as a meaningful enhancement to their employee benefits package and a hedge against non-compliance with their drug free workplace policies is two-fold.  The first aspect is to help employers improve the health, productivity and safety of their workplaces…and to retain and assist valued employees who run afoul of substance use disorder.  The second objective is to enable participating employers to contribute to efforts to make the communities in which they draw employees become more alcohol and drug-free.

In essence,  the primary focus of this particular blog for CareTrek Support Group is to provide appropriate background material to support decisions by leading employers who are employee and family-centric in their orientation and are community stewards as corporate benefactors to strengthen the mental health/substance abuse aspect of its EAP offering.  Our ideal employer client sees the value the need to enable the mental health and substance abuse EAP program to provide more meaningful financial results and operational improvements.  Being selected as a part of the overall EAP offering for such employers versus simply being a recommended referral source among many is what CareTrek proposes and how it is positioned. 

The licensed professionals’ substance abuse monitoring, counseling and testing industry which has had been in existence for decades has produced phenomenal addiction recovery success rates.   In fact, the Physicians Health Programs (PHP) “Gold Standard”, the model upon which all licensure programs are based, has produced amazing results for many years.  CareTrek’s suite of services has been designed to support and expand the Physician Health Programs (PHP) “Gold Standard” model.

Following are some excerpts from an industry study published in 2018 which tout recovery success statistics as evidence of the effectiveness or rigorous compliance to the comprehensive addiction recovery program model.

 “A national chart review of physicians from 16 PHPs showed that 64 percent of physicians completed their five-year contract without incident, 17 percent extended their contracts beyond the initial monitoring period (either voluntarily or due to PHP requirements), and 19 percent failed to complete the contract.4 At five-year follow-up, 78 percent of physicians were licensed and working, 11 percent had their licensed revoked, 4 percent had retired, 4 percent had died, and 3 percent had unknown status”.

“Perhaps most remarkably, over the course of five years of monitoring, 78 percent of physicians     never had a single positive test for drugs or alcohol.5 Of the 22 percent of physicians who relapsed to alcohol or drugs, two-thirds had only a single positive drug test. This national blueprint study of PHPs remains the largest PHP study to date. Subsequent analyses of these study data have shown that the impressive long-term outcomes are consistent among varying medical specialties including surgery, psychiatry, and emergency medicine and, notably, that outcomes are consistent among primary substances of abuse. No differences were found among physicians with opioid use disorders compared to their peers with alcohol or other SUDs, despite the fact that all participated in abstinence-based psychosocial treatment and opioid substitution therapy (e.g., methadone or buprenorphine) was not used”.

“Five or more years after successful completion of a five-year SUD monitoring contract, 96 percent of participants were licensed to practice (none reported lack of licensure was related to substance use), and 91 percent were currently practicing medicine. Thirty-eight percent of participants voluntarily extended their monitoring at some point, and 20 percent reported currently being voluntarily monitored by a PHP”.

“The vast majority (89 percent) of participants reported completing the SUD contract without any relapse during monitoring, and about 10 percent reported only one relapse. Since SUD contract completion, 79 percent of participants reported no use of alcohol, 18 percent reported at least one occasion of alcohol use, and 3 percent declined to answer. A total of 95 percent reported no illicit or nonmedical use of drugs, 5 percent reported at least one occasion of drug use, and 1 percent declined to answer. Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that 96 percent reported they considered themselves to be “in recovery” at the time of the study”.

(Source: “Physician Health Programs: A Model for Treating Substance Use Disorders”, written by Dr. Robert L. DuPont, board certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine, is president of the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. and clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School.  Dr. Lisa J. Merlo is a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Florida. She specializes in health professional wellness.  Published in American Bar Journal, 2018).

So, simple reasoning suggests that at the most fundamental level, CareTrek provides leading employers the answer to their most important questions on how to leverage the loyalty and productivity of valued employees who run afoul of substance use disorder without having to violate their drug-free workplace policies by ignoring such problems or terminating those employees.  In addition, such efforts can contribute to formalized initiatives to deliver on their corporate community steward role and help make the communities in which their employees live, work and play and in which they seek to derive future employees more healthy and free from the scourge of substance abuse.

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