Can We Talk?–Blog by Deb Krause, Action Group Vice President (Part 3 of 3)
“Poor mental health in the construction industry has been called a ‘silent epidemic,’ with work-related stress, depression and anxiety having overtaken musculoskeletal disorders as the most reported workplace health issue in the sector. By collaborating with members of The Action Group’s Mental Health Guiding Coalition, our voice in the marketplace is amplified so we can accelerate needed changes on mental health affordability, accountability and access to ensure our team members can get the care they need.”
Jean McGrory, Director, Total Rewards, Mortenson
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I believe there’s a very real and urgent need for employers and their health plan(s) to talk. In this edition of my blog, I’m turning the focus to enabling these important conversations. (See parts one and two.)
As a coalition of employer purchasers, The Action Group, in collaboration with the National Alliance of Health Care Purchaser Coalitions, is conducting the eValue8 Mental Health Deep Dive for Minnesota Health Plans.
This is a rigorous “request for information” process, backed by employers and mental health experts nationally. It asks detailed and important questions about health plan capabilities as it relates to providing the high-quality, affordable, integrated, and measurement-based mental health care that employers expect and employees deserve. The Action Group is very grateful to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, and Medica for participating in this meaningful initiative. It will improve understanding and serve as a foundation for quality improvement at a statewide level, and we will be sharing results with employers and all Minnesotans later this year.
But, employers — NOW, during Mental Health Awareness month, I encourage you to take time to have a conversation with your health plan. There’s a problem, and you need more information to be vigilant. ASK: Do my employees have access to the mental health care they need? Can you show me the data? What are you doing, specifically, to improve mental health parity, access to care, and reimbursement for my employees? What can we be doing together to improve mental health outcomes for my employees? What is our plan, together, to set clear goals, measure progress, and have regular conversations to ensure that, for my employees:
Everyone who needs care can seek it, without discrimination.
Individuals have access to high-quality, affordable, integrated, and measurement-based care, when and where they need it.
Providers are paid fairly, and payments include incentives and reward providers for high-value care.
So that patients with mental health conditions get better.
Excellent tools are available to support the conversation (see resources list below), and employers who need help in starting the conversation can reach out to me directly. It’s time to talk!
Helpful Resources for Employers
- Contract language for employers to use with their health plan related to mental health parity: Model hold harmless language
- A turnkey data request form for employers to send to their health plans to understand employees’ experience in accessing and receiving mental health care: Model data request form
- A guide produced for employers, including valuable background information on mental health care, best practices, free resources, and more: Working Well in Minnesota: Insights and Actions to Help Minnesota Employers Advance Mental Health in the Workplace (Minnesota Health Action Group original publication)
- Summary of findings from a mental health RFI for national health plans and behavioral health organizations: Achieving Value in Mental Health Support: A Deep Dive Powered by eValue8 (National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions)
- Free employer resources including case studies, turnkey programs, cost calculators, and more: American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health
- Infographic with key information about a model proven to improve the effectiveness of mental health care: The Collaborative Care Model
Deb Krause is Vice President of the Minnesota Health Action Group.