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Only 16% of Companies and Organizations have ever formally evaluated their EAPs.  Further, most firms have relied on “soft” data, namely, self-report measures. This is reported by Robert Loo, in an article titled “A Survey of EAPs in Medium and Large Canadian Organizations”.  This was startling and it is time for serious and critical scrutiny from Companies and Organizations with EAPs.

Every EAP Provider means well.  However, a few may get caught up with constantly adding new services that you may not need, but increases their usage and consequently, usage costs to you. They may have forgotten their original purpose which was to help people with emotional and mental health problems before they become serious problems that have health and medical consequences.

Keeping your EAP Provider honest is about that:
  • Ask your EAP Provider for transparency in pricing. Not all services cost the same to your EAP Provider and therefore they should not be charged all at the same price to you. Make sure your EAP Provider is using seasoned and experienced counsellors. There is the temptation for EAP Providers to use new counsellors because they cost a lot less, but in providing mental health counselling to your employees, you only want experienced counsellors. Look at the average number of sessions per case. If it is low, be suspicious of the service you are receiving. Many mental health issues can take up to eight sessions or even more to resolve successfully. Also, look at the number of referrals your employees are receiving. If there are many, your EAP Provider may be cutting their costs to your employees' detriment by early referrals.
  • Are you paying for strangers, neighbours and distant relatives? Would you even know?
  • Do you really need all the services that the EAP Provider is offering your                Company/Organization?  Nothing is free. Nothing is free especially in “for profit”, bottom-line EAP Providers with shareholders.
  • EAPs originally started with mental health counselling and treatment; gradually, many more services were added under the guise of EAP counselling but they increased the usage charged to you and directly, the profit levels of EAP firms. Where do you stand on this issue with Your EAP Provider?
  • Are you getting the “real goods” on your usage/data reports?  Are you getting data on calls dropped, wait times for appointments, ratio between in-person versus telephone versus on-line counselling and treatment as well as data on early referral or employee terminated counselling and treatment that may be due to inadequate counselling or counselors ?
  • Audit your EAP and your EAP Provider.  Do it randomly through the years so it is always a surprise and unexpected. Announce it only days in advance. This keeps your EAP Provider on its toes and always putting its best foot forward on a day in and day out basis. Your company/organization is more likely assured of excellence in the services you receive on a continuous basis. Use your audit to validate users, look at number of cases, quality of counselling, problem resolution, early referral, range and differential pricing of services.
  • Get your EAP Provider to pay for the Audit.  Build an Audit and your EAP Provider’s payment for it into your Contract with the EAP Provider.
  • Build in an exacting Procurement Process with an airtight Contract that has clear definitions of usage and cases, differential pricing for add-on services, statistical reporting, and performance measures and performance guarantees.
  • Hold your EAP Provider totally accountable and keep your EAP Provider honest.