Behavioral health benefits: quality care with broad access
When the HR department at Rhodes College was looking to expand a Behavioral Health benefit for its faculty and staff, it turned to MBGH to ask about participation in the MBGH network.
Because of its collective buying power MBGH was able to negotiate a Behavioral Health plan that was much more affordable and flexible.
“We’re able to offer our faculty and staff broad access to quality behavioral healthcare that coordinated well with our existing benefit plan,” said Claire Shapiro, director of Human Resources at Rhodes College. Not only is it a quality network, Claire says it doesn’t have a lot of restrictions compared to the major networks in the area. “Plan flexibility means our people have more choices,” said Claire. “When it comes to a situation such as finding a therapist who is the right fit for the patient, that’s really important.”
Keeping productivity high during flu season
Access to Best Practices is critical for any organization’s pursuit of excellence. For small employers such as Rhodes College, gaining that access in this economic climate is even more challenging.
A perfect example is the H1N1 outbreak.
While media-induced hysteria mounted on campus, the Emergency Management Team at Rhodes College mobilized to determine the best policy for the safety of faculty, staff and students. There were conflicting recommendations from various sources, and even the policy from the CDC wasn’t exactly clear in the context of a busy college setting.
Rhodes’s director of human resources, Claire Shapiro, contacted MBGH and CEO Cristie Travis for guidance.
“Cristie’s information was much more in depth than what was available on the CDC website. After all, Cristie actually attended CDC meetings where they discussed HINI policy for the workplace. She met with me personally to strategize how we should handle H1N1 policy on campus,” said Claire.
According to Claire, Cristie passed on the advice she received from the CDC on a particular employee situation.
“We could have overreacted and possibly told employees with sick family members not to come into work even though the employees exhibited no symptoms.” said Claire. “Working with MBGH we were able to keep more employees on the job and productive without posing a risk to faculty, staff and students.”
By not forcing employees to stay home, operations at the college were minimally effected. In addition, Claire believes that by being educated and aware on the topic, the Rhodes HR team was able to distribute accurate and timely information and maintain a reasonable employee-oriented approach to the flu scare.
Lessons in value-based benefits
If you live in Memphis or follow medical research, you know that Memphis is the buckle in America’s diabetes belt. You can argue over what’s the culprit – diet, lack of exercise, genetics, or cultural attitudes. Rhodes College wanted to move beyond the argument and think outside the box to find solutions. The reason: diabetes-related health issues represented a considerable percentage of the college’s healthcare costs.
Rhodes College was the perfect candidate to participate in the MBGH-hosted value-based benefits designed workshop. And because the College was a member, the workshop was free. The day-long event included national speakers, materials for communicating with your health plan and individualized counseling on how to motivate your employees with diabetes and other diseases to get the care they need to stay healthier longer and, in the long run, cost employer health plans less.
“MBGH brought in Mark Fendrick, MD from the University of Michigan and Jack Mahoney, MD, formerly with Pitney Bowes,” said Claire Shapiro, Director of Human Resources for Rhodes College. “With our modest travel budget, there was no way I could have met face-to-face with these experts unless MBGH had brought them into town. MBGH sponsored them, and all the organizations in the workshops got to benefit from their knowledge.”
“Jack Mahoney actually sat down with us and went over items to check for in our benefit designs,” recalled Claire. “He had a list of concrete ideas we could implement that would improve the employees’ likelihood of taking better care of their healthcare challenges.”
“Some of the things on the list were simple, like providing increased preventative services and medical supplies,” said Claire. “It could make make a big difference in how well people comply with their treatment program.”
With the suggestions from the experts and information from MBGH, Claire was able to modify their plan to drive better health outcomes for diabetic patients. It just goes to reinforce the much overlooked truth: Better quality healthcare saves money.