Business group tapped to lead tristate’s mental health work

December 12, 2019

The Northeast Business Group on Health will lead new efforts to improve mental health and substance-use care in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.

NEBGH told Crain's it has been selected to do so as part of the five-year, private sector initiative the Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use. The program was launched last month by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychiatric Association Foundation Center for Workplace Mental Health and Meadow Mental Health Policy Institute.

NEBGH will lead one of the initiative's eight Regional Employer Stakeholder Engagement Teams, or RESET, regions. The goal is to leverage the influence of employer and other health care purchaser members to work with health plans, hospital systems, consultants and other stakeholders to better address the ongoing public health crisis. (A recent report from Seattle-based consulting firm Milliman found that the crisis is getting worse when it comes to accessing the right care at the right time, and patients are more likely to resort to out-of-network providers for behavioral health care than for other care.)

"It's going to take a major effort on behalf of all stakeholders involved to solve this," said Candice Sherman, CEO of NEBGH. "The priorities set forth as part of this effort, and the fact that it's purchaser driven, are really going to make a difference."

The priorities are to improve access to in-network behavioral health specialists, expand the use of the collaborative care model to integrate behavioral health care into primary care, implement measurement-based care in both of those areas, expand tele-behavioral health and ensure mental heath parity compliance.

"These employers are the primary financiers of the system, and they will both set the tone and hold the stakeholders accountable for accomplishing these goals," said Michael Thompson, president and CEO of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, in a statement.

Efforts also have started in California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

The Path Forward is pursuing funding from a number of sources nationally, and RESET regions are expected to raise funding in their area. —Jennifer Henderson

Healthcare groups name regional centers for five-year mental health initiative

December 12, 2019

A national coalition to improve mental health in the U.S. has named eight regional centers to boost its five-year plan to address workplace well-being and substance abuse care for Americans.

The national steering committee for The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use — including the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, American Psychiatric Association (APA), American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF), Center for Workplace Mental Health and Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute — picked eight locations across the nation to carry out the initiative, which was first reported by Employee Benefit News last month.

The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use Names Eight Regions to Spearhead Employer Efforts to Improve Access to Effective Care

December 11, 2019

The national steering committee for The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use – National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, American Psychiatric Association (APA), American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF) Center for Workplace Mental Health and Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute – has selected eight locations across the nation to implement its multi-stakeholder transformative initiative.

Launched last month, The Path Forward has embarked on a five-year plan to execute a first-of-its-kind private sector approach to improve mental health and substance use care for Americans across the nation. As a key part of the initiative, the Regional Employer Stakeholder Engagement Team (RESET Regions) will leverage the influence of business coalitions, and their employer and other purchaser members, to work with health plans, health systems, medical and behavioral health providers, consultants and brokers to combat this public health crisis.

The RESET Regions and coalitions leading these efforts are:

  • California – Pacific Business Group on Health and Silicon Valley Employers Forum
  • Florida – Florida Alliance for Healthcare Value
  • Kansas – Kansas Business Group on Health
  • Maryland, District of Columbia and Northern Virginia – MidAtlantic Business Group on Health
  • Minnesota – Minnesota Health Action Group
  • New York City metro area including northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut – Northeast Business Group on Health
  • Tennessee – Memphis Business Group on Health and HealthCare 21 Business Coalition
  • Texas – Dallas Fort Worth Business Group on Health and Houston Business Coalition on Health

Human services providers beset by labor crisis

December 5, 2019

The effect of inadequate staffing of care workers can result in a cascade that begins to affect all businesses in a community.

It is estimated that one of every six employees provides informal care for a relative. A 2017 collaborative report by the Northeast Business Group on Health and AARP noted that those employees who are family caregivers spend, on average, four years in the role and 24 hours each week providing that caregiving assistance. Employers in the U.S. lose a reported $38 billion each year in caregiving-related costs due to lost productivity, absenteeism, increasing healthcare costs. and recruiting and training new staff.

New Resource Helps Employers Navigate Cancer Care

November 26, 2019

Employers can learn how to best support workers diagnosed with cancer using the Northeast Business Group on Health’s guide, “Delivering Value in Cancer Care: The Employer Perspective.”

“For employers, maximizing the value of cancer care spending and ensuring that employees receive high-quality care are top priorities,” the authors write. “But while these priorities are clear, the road map to achieving them is not.”

The 36-page guide is based on an employer survey, as well as a roundtable discussion and additional interviews with employers, health plans and care providers. Key considerations are listed to help employers better assess the ROI of cancer care benefits and programs, and the guide also details some “high-value initiatives” that employers have implemented to support workers and family members dealing with cancer.

Employers Look to Value-Based Health Care Strategies

November 19, 2019

The Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH), an employer-led nonprofit coalition, recently posted an online guide to high-value cancer care. Delivering Value in Cancer Care: The Employer Perspective recommends giving employees and their families access to screenings for early detection, second/expert opinions, care navigation, high quality networks and centers of excellence, behavioral health care, and palliative/supportive care.

The guide also provides advice on how HR and benefit leaders can engage with vendors and health plans to make employees aware of the benefits and services available to them.

"For a growing number of employers, ensuring that employees and families receive high quality cancer care and maximizing the value of spending on care are top priorities," said Candice Sherman, CEO of NEBGH. "Unfortunately, while these priorities are clear, the roadmap to achieving them is not"—a need that the new guide is intended to address.

Caregiving While Working

November 19, 2019

Employers that have not implemented policies or practices for employees who are also caregivers may be open to doing so. AARP and Northeast Business Group on Health have developed a tool kit to help employers support their working caregivers. Share it with your employer to help them learn more.

Managing Diabetes Is a Workplace Health Priority. Digital Tools Can Help.

October 23, 2019

The nonprofit Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH), a coalition of employers that sponsor health benefits, has posted an online resource, Digital Tools and Solutions for Diabetes: An Employer's Guide, for employers interested in digital tools that can help employees prevent and manage diabetes.

"Employers are well-aware of the costs associated with diabetes in their employee and dependent populations," said Candice Sherman, CEO of NEBGH. Employers also are "increasingly aware of the links between diabetes and other chronic and debilitating health conditions, including cardiovascular disease."

Expanding Reach Across US, Three New Members Join the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

September 12, 2019

The Connecticut Business Group on Health (CTBGH) is an advocacy group working to leverage the purchasing power of employers to make an impact on the quality and cost of delivery of healthcare in Connecticut. CTBGH works with organizations including the Connecticut Choosing Wisely® Collaborative, the Moving to Value Alliance, The Leapfrog Group and the Northeast Business Group on Health.

The Scourge of Worker Wellness Programs

September 2, 2019

Employee productivity has long been something of an obsessive focus for corporations. According to a 2015 study, “Relatively common conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, and depression are estimated to cost $392, $368, and $348, respectively, per employee per year owing to productivity loss.”