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National Alliance on Mental Illness
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"An Employer's Guide to Behavioral Health Services: A Roadmap and Recommendations for Evaluating, Designing, and Implementing Behavioral Health Services" Released

The National Business Group on Health released a guide designed for Fortune 500 companies on how to craft effective healthcare contracts that cover both behavioral mental health and general healthcare for their employees.  The delivery of behavioral healthcare is relatively complex when compared to the delivery of general medical care.  The Guide provides employers with findings and recommendations that will enable them to maximize the quality, effectiveness and appropriateness of behavioral health services.

The study was funded by the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and was conducted by the National Committee on Employer-Sponsored Behavioral Health Services, a 24- member committee of benefits and healthcare experts. The National Business Group on Health formed the committee to review the current state of employer- sponsored behavioral health services and develop recommendations to improve the design, quality, structure and integration of programs and services.

The study illustrates the need for companies to be proactive in supporting behavioral health services in their general healthcare coverage.  In the United States workforce in one year, 217 million days are lost due to behavioral health causes.  Preventative behavioral health care can greatly reduce this loss of production and profit.  When fully implemented, it has been proven that preventative coverage lead to a reduction in long term disability, a reduction in stress by the workers, and a reduction in overall sick leave – all factors which contribute to increased profit for the employers. 

The new guidelines do not necessitate any increases in cost of technology or research to employers.  The only cost invoked by implementing the recommended guidelines are administrative costs, but after a year, these costs are nominal. 

A copy of the report can be found by visiting: http://www.businessgrouphealth.org/prevention/et_behavioralhealthreport.cfm

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