Health Injury: EAP Experts Needed
I am seeing an increasing number of news stories related to mental health
injuries on the job.
Debates seem to be increasing about how much
workers' compensation coverage should be given to employees who suffer from
these types of injuries.
In most cases, we are talking about emergency
responders when we talk about mental health injuries—firefighters, EMTs, police
officers, etc. The key injury is an acute stress reaction and posttraumatic
stress disorder (PTSD).
Should employees who sustain mental health
injuries be entitled to workers' compensation insurance for their injuries?
Should benefits to pay for counseling also extend to family members?
In many states, workers' compensation benefits do not extend to mentally
injured workers unless a physical injury contributes to, or causes the mental
As you may know, PTSD is not diagnosed right away like a
broken leg. It takes a month of lingering symptoms (DSM IV).
time-delay confounds effective advocacy for treatment and makes it difficult to
argue for coverage and appropriate, timely assessments. Chronic PTSD and
"delayed onset" PTSD can take three to six months to diagnose.
legislatures are beginning to entertain legislation that address these
questions. You should stay on top of what's going on in this arena because
windows of opportunity open up for EAPs to insert their professional opinion
needed by legislative bodies deliberating on legislation to add or refuse
coverage under workers compensation laws.
professionals are on the front lines in dealing with these injuries, making
assessments, and addressing family issues.
EAPs also play key roles in
working with management and supervisors by stitching together effective
communication between the injured, medical providers, and human resources. I
can't think of a better group of expert witnesses. And needless to say, many
people are going to learn about EAPs from public exposure that comes with expert
Here a few ways to stay on top of what's going on in
your state with regard to workers' compensation coverage for mental health
- Find out from your state representative if bills or advocacy efforts are
underway in your state to address this topic of concern.
- Find the advocacy group that has formed (often there is one) that is pushing
the legislative changes to cover mental health injuries. Get on their E-mail
alert and hard-copy mailing lists.
- Subscribe to the free "e-zine" mailing list for free flash reports regarding
workers compensation. They will e-mail you frequently about many things, but
you'll be surprised how many are relevant to employee assistance programming. A
quick scan of headlines will take only seconds. Their e-mail link for sign up
(Choose the free option!)
For an interesting recent news story go here:
Compensation for Mental Health Injuries
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Dan Feerst, Publisher