Webinar Recap: Mental Health for the Modern Workforce

By Todd Peterson — AVP, Health & Wellness Services October 04th, 2023

Did you know that 1 in 5 American adults experience a mental health concern each year? With that in mind, we invited Dr. Derek Baughman, Medical Director of Family Health and Pediatrics Clinics at Barksdale Air Force Base, and Andia Paz, Senior Director of Business Development at First Stop Health, to join our monthly Health Risk Webinar Series to discuss how employers can implement virtual mental health care solutions to better the lives of their employees.

Continue reading for a recap of Paz and Baughman’s presentation.

The Importance of Mental Health in the Workplace

With the number of individuals in need of mental health support continuing to rise, it’s important to provide employees with the best benefits to support their mental well-being. According to Paz and Baughman, employers recognize these needs and mental health initiatives will remain a priority for employers this year. In fact, according to Paz and Baughman’s presentation, data shows that almost 9 in 10 employers plan to switch to high-performing health and wellness benefits to better support employees.

To showcase the need for sustainable mental health care solutions, Paz and Baughman provided us with several need-to-know mental health statistics. Consider the following:

  • The National Council for Behavioral Health revealed that 77% of counties in the U.S. are experiencing a severe shortage of mental health providers, and it’s expected to worsen.
  • According to data from Electronic Health Reporter, 28% of people live in an area with proper access to mental health professionals, and 70% feel that the healthcare system is difficult to navigate.
  • Data from Benefits Pro revealed that patients are waiting 5 to 6 weeks to see a mental health professional for support.
  • According to an article from the American Psychological Association, nearly 80% of mental health providers have seen an increased demand for support, 60% said they cannot accommodate new patients, and 46% said they are unable to meet the demand for mental health needs.
  • Data from KFF revealed that 1 in 3 patients needing mental health support skipped care due to cost.
  • According to Mental Health America, aside from cost barriers, 50% of Americans do not get the mental health support they need due to other personal deterrents.

The Rise of Virtual Mental Healthcare

According to Paz and Baughman, virtual care has become a preferred healthcare delivery model for many, and it’s clear that it’s here to stay.

In fact, according to an article from Healthcare Finance, 88% of Americans would like to continue using virtual care following the pandemic. Data from Healthcare IT News showed that virtual care is also more popular among younger people, with 40% of millennials — 75% of the workforce by 2025 — believing telemedicine is a crucial part of an employee benefits package.

To highlight the growing demand for virtual care, Dr. Baughman conducted a recent study of more than 500,000 patients to evaluate the quality of performance of care delivered virtually versus an in-person setting. The findings were simple: Virtual care provides a convenient means of accessing care and even improves users’ healthcare experiences.

Here are a few of the findings from Dr. Baughman’s study that show virtual care provides a better healthcare experience compared to traditional, in-person care:  

  • Patients with virtual care exposure were twice as likely to receive a mental health screening. 
  • Virtual care enhances different parts of care and can even enhance primary care. 
  • Of the quality measures studied, virtual care performed comparably or better in almost 70% of the quality measures.  
  • For 13 of 16 quality measures, patients using virtual care performed comparably or better than office-only patients, showing that virtual care impacts and can even improve performance. 
  • Unlike patients who solely used in-person care, patients with virtual care experienced significantly better performance for chronic disease management and prevention. 
  • Virtual care can allow for multiple touchpoints throughout a patient’s healthcare journey, enabling doctors to engage in better quality measures with more interactions. 

The Importance of Employee Engagement

According to Paz and Baughman, virtual care can deliver a great deal of value to a workforce. Still, employees must be aware of their benefits programs and utilize the solutions to experience their actual value. The best virtual care providers should work with employers to strategize and develop a plan for success. Before selecting a provider, employers should ask whether employee engagement is part of the vendor’s offering. If not, employers must know that they will need to do most of the heavy lifting to drive engagement. In addition, engagement campaigns should be fully implemented, managed, and funded by the virtual care provider.

Without the proper guidance, adding new benefit programs can be difficult and time-consuming. The virtual care provider should work closely with the client to ensure the onboarding process should be easy and efficient. Additionally, clients should have access to account managers who work closely with them to streamline the process and set up eligible employees.

Embracing Virtual Care

As employers shift focus to employee-centric benefits programs, they must also consider the value a mental health solution can bring to their workforce. Virtual care has rapidly become the new normal, and due to its convenience, low-to-no cost, and accessibility, virtual mental health care is a preferred modality to get support for many.

About the Webinar

This presentation was part of Captive Resources’ Medical Stop Loss Webinar Series — regular installments of webinars to educate medical stop loss group captive members. The thoughts and opinions expressed in these webinars are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect Captive Resources’ positions on any of the above topics.

Share this article