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HR Policy Continues Wellbeing Advocacy During Mental Health Awareness Month

As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, HR Policy has continued its engagement with policymakers and other stakeholders to highlight the efforts of our member companies to improve employee wellbeing and to advocate for policies that promote innovation and flexibility for wellbeing benefits.

Why it matters: Employee wellbeing is highly correlated with engagement. Nearly 25% of the nation’s workforce has depression, and these employees miss twice as much work and have five times as much lost productivity as those without depression.

HR Policy advocacy: We will continue to work with Congress on removing barriers to access by expanding telehealth and integrated models like the Collaborative Care Model. We have specifically advocated for: 

  • Telehealth expansion: During the Covid pandemic, Congress and federal agency guidance provided for increased flexibility regarding telehealth so that Americans could continue to seek out health care services. HR Policy continues to advocate for a permanent extension of these flexibilities so that employers can offer telehealth services to part-time and seasonal employees as well as offer telehealth services pre-deductible. It is likely we will see a two-year extension of these flexibilities this year.

  • Integrated models: Most behavioral health conditions are treated in a primary care setting, yet primary care providers rarely have the appropriate training or tools to effectively manage behavioral health conditions. HR Policy has advocated for additional funding to provide technical assistance so that primary care offices can implement integrated models, like the Collaborative Care Model into their offices. The Collaborative Care Model provides primary care providers with psychiatric consultations and a care manager so conditions are identified and treated earlier on. 

HR Policy Resources: 

  • CHRO Guide on Mental Health Parity: Final mental health parity rules are expected to be released in July 2024 and if they mirror the proposed rules, the regulation will place additional burdens on employers to demonstrate parity between mental health and medical/physical benefits. HR Policy will release a CHRO Guide on the final rule so that you and your teams are prepared for potential DOL audits. Find the CHRO Guide on the proposed rule here

  • Fundamentals of U.S. Health Care, June 18-20: This virtual course will include insights from Kroger, American Express, and Hilton on how they promote employee wellbeing and engagement. Sign up today!

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Authors: Margaret Faso

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