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As 2014 comes to a close, EAPA wishes its members and other EAP NewsBrief readers a safe and happy holiday season. Again this year, employee assistance professionals around the world have responded to personal and workplace crises, saved lives and made a difference in the quality of life for millions of our fellow human beings. EAPA salutes you for your dedicated and important work! Our end-of-the-year EAP NewsBriefs, to be published on Tuesday, Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, will feature 2014's greatest newsBrief "hits," the top 20 most accessed articles from the past year. Today's newsbrief showcases the top 10. The regular publication schedule will resume Tuesday, Jan. 6.

Table of Contents
  • Do EAPs qualify as ACA & HIPAA excepted benefits? Proposed rules set conditions
  • Why don't employees use EAP services?
  • Anxiety more likely than depression to lead to suicide
  • Simple test may be predictive of addiction treatment success
  • Study: Every $1 invested in EAP translates into an ROI of $8.70
  • New ethical dilemmas in an online world
  • Hormone that protects new neurons reduces depression caused by stress
  • EAPA submits comments supporting EAPs as ACA 'excepted benefits'
  • Study: Workplace wellness programs deliver mixed results — implications for program design & EAPs
  • EAPs take on expanded role with ACA


  • Top 10 articles of 2014

    1. Do EAPs qualify as ACA & HIPAA excepted benefits? Proposed rules set conditions
    Buck Consultants
    From Jan. 7: The Proposed Amendments To Excepted Benefits Regulation (Proposed Rule) published by the Agencies jointly in the Dec. 24, 2013, Federal Register would add certain employee assistance programs as excepted benefits for purposes of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Affordable Care Act and make certain other changes to the excepted benefits definition. The proposed rules address the requirements necessary for Employee Assistance Plans, to be treated as excepted benefits.
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    2. Why don't employees use EAP services?
    Psychology Today
    From Feb. 11: There are really four reasons why employees don't use EAP, listed in the order of frequency that they're referenced: workers don't think information is confidential; they feel there is a stigma for reaching out for help (especially for some men, who see this as a weakness); they think they have to ask permission from their boss or HR; or they don't know it exists. The article addresses each of the topics.
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    3. Anxiety more likely than depression to lead to suicide
    Decoded Science
    From Jan. 14: Which mental health conditions are most likely to lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior? According to several recent studies, anxiety, more than depression, is a strong risk factor for suicide. Researchers learned that patients with anxiety were more likely than those without anxiety to report suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, those with anxiety were also more likely to have attempted suicide, completed suicide, or demonstrated any suicidal behaviors at all. This was true of all anxiety disorders, other than Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
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    4. Simple test may be predictive of addiction treatment success
    Virginia Tech University via WSLS-TV
    From April 8: Drug-dependent people who least take the future into account may, paradoxically, be the ones to benefit the most from certain treatments. An important component of addiction is failure to exert self-control in recognition of future consequences. In a study in Clinical Psychological Science, a team of researchers has found an unexpected pattern that may provide hope for tailoring addiction treatments.
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    5. Study: Every $1 invested in EAP translates into an ROI of $8.70
    Stockhouse
    From Nov. 18: A study conducted by the Morneau Shepell research group found that every $1 invested in an employee and family assistance program translates into a return on investment of $8.70 through a combination of improved productivity at work and less time away from work. "One of the most critical factors for business success is employee productivity: it impacts an organization's bottom line," said Paula Allen, vice president of Research and Integrative Solutions at Morneau Shepell.
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    6. New ethical dilemmas in an online world
    APA Monitor on Psychology
    From March 11: Psychologists, other therapists and EA professionals increasingly use online social networking sites, just as their clients do. This produces a social networking environment that, in many ways, is similar to rural and small town psychological practice, where the possibility is high for pervasive incidental contact, intentional and unintentional self-disclosure and unavoidable multiple relationships between professional and client. In this environment, practitioners face ethical concerns they may never have considered before.
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      FEATURED COMPANIES
    Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

    For troubled employees, postponing addiction treatment until after the holidays may not be the best plan. Here’s why. MORE
    BHR Worldwide
    Always there to answer the call: BHRW provides seamless 24/7 access to reliable behavioral health professionals. Providing crisis intervention, suicide intervention, fried counseling, and more! MORE


    7. Hormone that protects new neurons reduces depression caused by stress
    Iowa Now
    From May 6: Scientists probing the link between depression and a hormone that controls hunger have found that the hormone's antidepressant activity is due to its ability to protect newborn neurons in a part of the brain that controls mood, memory and complex eating behaviors. Moreover, the researchers also showed that a new class of neuroprotective molecules achieves the same effect by working in the same part of the brain, and may thus represent a powerful new approach for treating depression.
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    8. EAPA submits comments supporting EAPs as ACA 'excepted benefits'
    Employee Assistance Professionals Association
    From Feb. 25: Late last year, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Treasury and HHS jointly published proposed regulations that would define conditions under which EAPs would qualify as excepted benefits for purposes of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Affordable Care Act. The departments invited public comment from interested parties. In response, EAPA has submitted comments supporting EAPs as excepted benefits and analyzing the proposed criteria for exception.
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    9. Study: Workplace wellness programs deliver mixed results — implications for program design & EAPs
    Society for Human Resource Management
    From Jan. 28: A new Rand Corp. study examining a large employee wellness program, which included separate chronic disease management and healthy lifestyle initiatives, found that efforts to help employees manage chronic illnesses saved $3.78 in health care costs for every $1 invested in the effort. Wellness efforts that encourage healthy living lifestyle changes did not show a positive ROI on health care costs, but analysis showed that lifestyle management can reduce absenteeism. Thus, if an employer wants to improve employee health or productivity, an evidence-based lifestyle management program can achieve this goal. But employers who are seeking a healthy ROI on their programs should target employees who already have chronic diseases.
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    10. EAPs take on expanded role with ACA
    Employee Benefit News
    From Oct. 28: With mental health and substance abuse disorder services deemed an essential health benefit under the Affordable Care Act, employee assistance program providers are taking on a new role — helping employers and health plans sniff out fraudulent healthcare activity among substance abuse and mental health treatment facilities.
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    EAP NewsBrief

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