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Healthier and Safer Workplaces in Virginia: The CareTrek Answer #4

Posted by Joe Antle on October 5, 2020 9:45 AM EDT
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How does CareTrek Enable Virginia Chamber Members as Employers Create Drug-Free Workplaces and Strengthen Employee Productivity and Engagement?

CareTrek is a comprehensive addiction recovery employee assistance program that is based on the highly successful “PHP Gold Standard” which has been in place for decades in the licensed professionals’ industry.  In this RFP response, PHP stands for Physicians Health Programs.  The medical industry has pioneered a very successful “model” that has been adapted to legal licensure professions, and DOT-regulated industries where public safety is of utmost concern.  CareTrek is the platform which RecoveryTrek has chosen to bring these successful programs to the broader employment market as an enhancement, an innovation if you will, in the employee assistance programs component of employer-sponsored employee benefits. 

RecoveryTrek believes that the need to make the mental health/substance abuse element of employee assistance programs better and more results-driven is urgent for all employers, including those of all sizes and employees of all skills and demographics.  

RecoveryTrek’s core business is to provide healthcare, legal and other state-licensed professionals programs with licensee testing and monitoring programs via advanced technology solutions and best-in-class customer service. Unlike our third-party administrator (TPA) competitors who provide employment screening solutions and attempt to ‘reuse’ their services, RecoveryTrek was formed to focus on and serve recovery monitoring programs.   And CareTrek is an expansion of the core offering, and includes case management and counseling services, meetings attendance, monitoring and the other components needed for recovery success.

The technology we bring together—RecoveryTrek’s Success Management Software (SMS), the Participant Portal (Phone IVR and web-based applications), the PROOF mobile app and collections and testing platform, MobileTrek (the first participant recovery monitoring mobile application), and MobileBAC (fully integrated mobile breath alcohol testing); are all proprietary applications owned by RecoveryTrek.

THE CHALLENGE:

The Employee Assistance Research Foundation (EARF) says that the field of employee assistance has not produced enough research to justify its prolific and expanding use by employers both in the United States and abroad.  The breadth of services that EAPs now offer may have reduced the impact of their programs on specific conditions such as drug and alcohol addiction among valued employees and/or their families.  Writes EARF:  ”Although there are some studies suggest EAPs are generally effective, the EAP evidence base leaves many questions unanswered. In part this is due to common methodological limitations; for example, the literature is dominated by single case studies and by program evaluations that do not always meet rigorous scientific standards. Although there has been an impressive accumulation of program evaluations undertaken by employers (and their EA providers or consultants), most of these evaluations have been considered proprietary and not widely disseminated or published in scholarly journals. In addition, there is a need for additional research focused on contemporary EA service delivery models since this has changed dramatically over the years, on specifically examining the ‘active ingredients’ in EAP effectiveness, and on measuring outcomes of most relevance to employers and workers.”

While there may be little current “hard” evidence that demonstrates that EAPs are effective in serving the goal of employers to improve productivity and maintain healthier employees, EAPs do give employers an option when dealing with troubled staff members whom they are ill-equipped to serve in-house.  The EAP is a third-party service that has many resources and specializations beyond what an employer can offer. This takes the burden off the employer and reduces risks. 

Originally, EAPs were focused on substance abuse disorders. The first programs, started in the 1930s, were peer-to-peer efforts to address worker alcohol use and its impact on worker performance. Over time, employers realized the model could be used to help employees address a range of personal and mental health issues that might negatively impact their productivity.  The widening of the range of services offered by EAPs may have increased the popularity among employers as a suitable and relatively low-cost employee benefit for a large variety of emotional issues that face employees and their families.  However, the lack of focus on a set of very clear, contemporary and pressing issues such as recovery programs for alcoholism and drug addiction among valued employees has left the EAP with a credibility issue in terms of results and evidence of effectiveness.  

In effect, this creates a “strategic challenge” or “conundrum” for employers.  On the one hand, research shows that EAPs are a standard offering which is growing amongst larger employers.  On the other hand, there are questions about employees achieving effective results.  And when it comes to the well-documented rise in substance use among the general population, employers need to find solutions that actually work and produce measurable and meaningful results.  This strategic challenge for employers becomes a strategic advantage for CareTrek.  However, CareTrek is built on the formula that has proved to be successful in alleviating alcoholism and drug addiction dependency in over 80% of licensed professionals who participate in PHP programs.  This is a key strategic leverage point for CareTrek.  By offering CareTrek as an enhancement to employers’ EAP programs, CareTrek in effect becomes a specialized, evidence-based stand-alone solution for drug and alcohol addiction which helps employers retain and hire key talent who may be fighting addiction which may lead to them becoming less employable.  And perhaps more importantly, leading employers that value their employees and want to offer ever-improving benefits and tools for helping their employees continue to sustain professional growth, need to provide benefits that drive meaningful productivity gains and sustainable operational improvements.

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