Health and Fitness – Dealing With Lower Back Pain

The most crippling type of pain is often lower back pain. This is because if your back pain is strong enough it can keep you from doing anything other than lying in a bed. Lower back pain is also a common health affliction that affects millions of people worldwide.

No matter what your health and fitness levels just about everyone has had some type of lower back pain at one point or another in their life. And the type of pain can vary from very mild to severe to crippling.

Many people, at the onset of back pain will often dismiss the issue and pretend that it will go away on its own. However, this is not usually the case as most types of back pain require some type of treatment from a chiropractor, doctor, or masseuse.

Often when the problem is ignored it only gets worse. The best way to deal with your lower back pain is to learn more about the causes so you can work towards focusing on the correct treatment.

What Causes It?

Everyone lives a different lifestyle and so the cause of one’s back pain can be from a plethora of different causes. If you are aware enough of your body and your lifestyle you should be able to pinpoint the cause of your pain.

There are a few causes that are especially common, however, they include:
* Poor posture
* Daily work habits
* Obesity
* Genetics
* Riding in a car for a long period of time
* Poor diet health (sugar increases pain)
* Bad mattress
* Poor health and fitness commitment
* Working at a computer all day
* Lifting or exercising incorrectly
* Weak muscles

How Do I Treat The Pain?

Your treatment method for lower back pain will vary, depending on the cause of the pain, the type of pain you are experiencing and the severity of it. In the case of chronic pain, medication or surgery may be suggested.

For most other types of back discomfort fitness exercises have always shown to be one of the most effective forms of treatment and the way to prevent future occurrences. Exercise never fails as it helps to work out and stretch the muscles in your back to prevent them from becoming tight and sore.

Always make sure you do your fitness exercises correctly, however, as further serious injury could occur if not. If you have severe back pain it is best to consult with your doctor or chiropractor about the types and ranges of motion you can and should perform to heal your back pain.

The Mental Health Component

Practicing Yoga or Tai Chi has also been very effective at eliminating and preventing further back pain. These exercises, along with stretching your back, will teach you the mental visualization techniques that are necessary for healing as well.

Never underestimate the power of focusing your mind. Without a clear deliberate mental intent to heal your back pain it will be tough to get the strength to perform the actions necessary to get rid of your pain. Once you have gotten rid of the pain it is necessary to always make diet health and fitness a top priority in your life to prevent further issues.

Brue M. Baker is an expert on natural health and fitness who has helped people from across the world sky-rocket their health and well-being. Rather than hitting your head against a wall trying to find unbiased health information let Brue take you by the hand and give you the bestnatural health resources on the web. Visit DietHealthAndFitness.com to learn more.

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Launching Dr. Health Care’s Army

The debate on “health care” has been raging for years, yet to this day politicians have been unable to enact a far-reaching health care program.

The debate on “health care” has been raging for years, yet to this day politicians have been unable to enact a far-reaching health care program. For this I say “thank God”! There really are two directions we can go with fixing health care, one being a government run program commonly called “Universal Health Care” and the other being to embrace a “free enterprise” or “market driven” approach to health care.

Something missing in the debate is the voice of “common sense” which would tell us that since NO Government run program has ever worked properly in all my years on this earth we should not expect one to work now. Also in my life here on earth I have lived and worked in a market driven health care environment and it worked just fine.

Unfortunately the debate as we witness it through the news media has been one-sided telling us “we need a government solution” to health care, and as we move forward we will explore why this is. But if we don’t strengthen the voice for a free enterprise/market driven health care system we face the prospect of losing more than a workable health care system. We face losing the freedoms granted us in our constitution in all areas of life and this is fact, not a scare tactic. Since no one else seems willing to step forward to lead the effort for a workable health care system we are creating “Dr. Health Care’s Army”. BECOME INVOLVED!

The alternative scares the devil out of me and we are seeing it unfold before our very eyes. This so called “economic bailout” before Congress now includes a provision to create universal health care NOW without the benefit of debate. Politicians seem to have decided they cannot pass a standalone comprehensive health care program and are willing to force it down our throats incrementally. Let me give you an example of the nonsense in the bill being jammed down our throats.

The government will establish yet another bureaucracy for the purpose of “means testing” when a senior citizens needs medical service. The doctor must examine the patient and submit his findings to the new board for approval. If the government determines the cost of treatment is too much to justify the expenditures on a citizen too old to be productive, the payment for service will be denied.

In fact Tom Daschle, one of the architects of this abomination, has stated publicly (and here I will paraphrase) “when a person gets old they should expect to die because everyone does sooner or later and just accept it”. The time for action is NOW and it is in our collective interest to work together. I know of no other way than to create a forum such as “Dr. Health Care’s Army” that keeps everyone involved.

Through “Dr. Health Care’s Army” everyone who cares about this country’s future can become involved by joining free of charge via email. We will also regularly release articles designed to help everyone understand what health care really is and information will be concise, broad in scope and easy to read. This information will go to members and as a general release through the Internet.
When action is necessary to help our cause everyone will be notified and asked to do their part because collectively we can SUCCEED. We are prepared to take this as far as our resources and energy take us and to this end everyone who can afford to help financially will be given the opportunity.

Please understand that financial participation is not a requirement to join. This effort is not a “business” per se, it is a passion driven by a desire to do the right thing for my children, grandchildren and however corny it sounds this greatest of countries we live in here on earth.

If we need to broaden our organization, or need to become a Political Action Committee, or a non-profit, we will do it provided the resources are available. Further, I intend to be an advocate for “doctors” and for “small businesses”. These two groups are at a distinct disadvantage because of government incompetence and arrogance never seen in my lifetime.

First, doctors are faced with the prospect of becoming an “employee” of the government and this will definitely deter any competent person from even considering becoming a doctor in the future. For small businesses the financial burden of providing health care insurance for their employees is more than most of them can afford and be successful. We need to help them out!!

Fritz Scheffel has over 40 years experience working in the heatlh care industry and is author of “Health Care: It Can Be Fixed” – for more information, go to The Health Care Fix

Health Care Options For Seniors

Many seniors enjoy living in their own home with the freedom to do as they please. While some health problems may limit a senior’s ability to do so, with the right home health care, a senior can enjoy an independent life in the presence of illness or other health conditions. When a senior receives adequate health care, it can keep the senior out of a convalescent or nursing home.

For many seniors, just knowing that they will be allowed to recover at home will put them in better spirits, which is more conducive to faster healing. The goal of home health care is to provide the senior with any necessary treatment as the senior heals from an illness or injury in the home setting. Home health care concerns medical treatments and services would otherwise be done in a hospital or other health care setting. Home health care can include services such as nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, social services and speech therapy.

A doctor will prescribe home health care when the doctor feels that a patient may recover successfully at home. The doctor may order of services of a nurse, homemaker, physical therapist and a personal care worker as part of the home health care plan. Each of these personnel members would perform different tasks as the senior recovers.

The nurse would administer medications, give the patient dietary tips and would arrange any other treatments or services that are necessary. The homemaker would do the household chores, shopping and preparation of meals. The physical therapist would perform such services that would help the patient get their strength back. The personal care worker would help the patient move around their home, including such tasks as dressing, bathing and walking with the patient. The people who provide home health care services are usually licensed nurses, homemakers, therapists and personal care workers.

Many products can be purchased for the purpose of home health care. Not all the products are related to the patient’s body and instead are used to make the home safer for the patient. Such home health care product and services involves the modification of the outdoor steps, seating, inside walls, bath and shower. A walkway may be built or railings may be placed inside the home. Mobility equipment such as a cane or wheelchair may be required. Any necessary medical equipment may be rented before making a purchase as well.

Home health care services may be performed by a public, private or other organization that is devoted to these services. Home health care workers are checked by most states for criminal backgrounds. Not all states perform a background check. If a state does not perform these checks, it is up to the person hiring the services of a health care worker to make sure that their criminal record is clear.

Home health care is not the same service as home care for seniors. Generally, home care revolves around house cleaning and other chores at the house. Home health care involves medical treatments or those services that are required to help the patient recover.

Home health care allows a senior’s life to go on despite any injury or medical condition. A health problem does not automatically mean that a person has to be cooped up in a health care facility or nursing home. Patients that receive home health care are grateful for the opportunity to avoid the hospital or nursing home.

Get more information about Health care consumerism so you can Save money health care.

Health Care – If You Love Health Care

All about Health Care: Intended For Individuals

There is a common saying “health is wealth” and the finest way towards healthy future is to maintain regular healthy routine, practice good habits and to always remain happy. Health care is prevention, illness management and treatment along with preservation of physical as well as mental well being by means of services offered through nursing, mental along with associated health vocation.

Health care cuddles all services and goods that are mainly designed in order to promote the health comprising curative, palliative and preventive inventions whether intended for individuals. Pre-arranged provisions for such services that may constitute system of health care include specific government organization like National Health Services or some other social services.

Health care is usually provided in many developing and developed countries to almost everybody regardless of an individual’s ability to compensate. Health care paybacks are of big worry especially for the families along with the costs having skyrocketed for the employers.

You can easily obtain information concerning health care by surfing websites, which provides comprehensive source of orientation in order to look after well-being of your family and yourself. There are few tips concerning health care that are necessary to take care of which may include:

* Checking of medicines regularly
You must try to avoid supplements as well as drugs, particularly painkillers as it can create heat burn within the body and hinders the internal system of your body. Always refer to those medicines that are prescribed by the doctor.

* Examine your own diet
Always try to avoid caffeine, dark chocolates as well as high acid foods such as citrus juices. Do not over eat as it can lead to obesity. Rich food is much and more powerful than any other prescription in order to take proper health care.

* Quit smoking
Smoking is injurious to health as it can destroy your lungs because tobacco irritates the digestive tract and this contributes to severe health problems.

* Loose weight
Weight loss is the most common health care step that is necessary to take care of. You must avoid eating junk food or oily food as it can creates mess in the process of digestive system workings. Do not starve or skip your meals as by doing so the metabolism process would get obstruct that can lead to indigestion.

* Reduce stress
To take proper health care, reducing your stress is an important element that one should always consider. Stress can also lead to overeating which in turn leads to obesity and creates malfunctioning inside your body. Obesity is the common problem from which every individual suffer from, thus keeping yourself happy is the finest way to take proper health care.

* Exercises
Doing exercise is the best way to remain fit and healthy. By doing regular aerobic program, brisk walk daily and by practicing yoga everyday, it becomes possible for an individual to maintain health care. One can also opt for meditation that helps a person in eliminating stress and keeping oneself calm and stress free.

healthcare-no9 is the most popular and complete health care products website where you can find all the information you are looking about your health care needs. And your comprehensive health care resource.to invite you visit to http://www.healthcare-no9.com/

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Health Care Ethics: Paramount To Good Health Care

This interesting article addresses some of the key issues regarding health care ethics. A careful reading of this material could make a big difference in how you think about health care ethics.

You can see that there’s practical value in learning more about medical care management. Can you think of ways to apply what’s been covered so far?

When you’re learning about something new, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of relevant information available. This informative article should help you focus on the central points.

If you base what you do on inaccurate information, you might be unpleasantly surprised by the consequences. Make sure you get the whole medical care ethics story from informed sources.

Many people don’t ever think about health care ethics when they visit their doctor’s office or hospital. That’s more than likely because all of their health care providers practice good health ethics. That means that they care for their patients without prejudice, without malice and they do whatever they do with the best interest of the patient in mind. Health ethics are important to every aspect of the health care industry, from ambulance drivers to heart and brain surgeons. Without medical ethics, the world as we know it would be drastically different, with everyone frightened to go to the doctor or the hospital for fear of their own safety and well being.

A Frightening Thought

What if you went to your doctor and you were never told about a certain drug that could help your ailments merely because he or she wanted you to keep coming back, which would require an office visit fee each time? Or, what if you went for a physical exam and were fondled? Or, what if your doctor tried a new experimental technique on you without you knowing about it and you ended up disabled or worse? Any one of these things would enrage most people and rightfully so. You now see why health care ethics are so important.

When doctors and other medical professionals get their individual licenses to practice whatever form of medical care they are educated in, they must take an oath stating that they will promise to practice good medical care management. This is meant to protect the patient from any unethical practices, which would give health protection in general a very bad name. It’s important for anyone practicing any aspect of health care to have good health care ethics. The patients, after all, pay their salaries so it’s important to treat them with care and the utmost respect.

However, just because an oath is taken, doesn’t mean that all doctors and health care providers are ethical. There are always a few bad eggs in the bunch. You need to watch out for any questionable health care ethics practiced by your health care provider. If you notice anything you are uncomfortable about, tell someone immediately. Most health care providers do practice good medical care so you should rest easy knowing that you are in good hands whenever you visit your local doctor or hospital.

That’s the latest from the health management authorities. Once you’re familiar with these ideas, you’ll be ready to move to the next level.

Don’t limit yourself by refusing to learn the details about medical care standards. The more you know, the easier it will be to focus on what’s important.

Roland Jefferson is an online researcher based out of Los Angeles, Calfornia. For free resources covering 19th Century Health Care, please visit our 19th Century Health Care Resource.

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Forming A Private Purchasing Cooperative For Health Insurance In Texas

As stated by the Texas Department of Insurance, the Texas Legislature enacted three bills that allow small business employers to form cooperatives for the purchase of employer health benefit plans in Dallas, Houston and throughout Texas. All three types of cooperatives are private purchasing cooperatives under state law. Texas Insurance Code Chapter 1501, Subchapter B provides for the formation of Purchasing Cooperatives. Two of the three have special characteristics; for clarity, we will refer to the broader category as “private purchasing cooperatives.”

Who may form a cooperative?

Two or more small employers may form a small employer health coalition. Any person – other than a health carrier – may form a health group cooperative. A health carrier may assist a sponsoring entity in forming a cooperative. A health group cooperative must have at least ten participating employers.

How do I start a cooperative?

All three types of purchasing cooperatives must be formed as a nonprofit corporation. For more information on how to form a nonprofit corporation, you should consult the Texas Secretary of State, specifically the Filing Guide for Business Organizations and Non-Profit Associations.

Texas Insurance Code Chapter 1501, Subchapter B provides for the formation of Purchasing Cooperatives. Small business employers interested in assistance with forming or joining a small employer health coalition should also consider contacting their insurance agent or one of the existing small employer health coalitions. Once the cooperative has received a certificate of incorporation or certificate of authority from the Secretary of State, the cooperative must file that document and the cooperative’s organizational document with the Texas Department of Insurance. The address for filing these documents is: Filings Intake Division, Mail Code 106-1E, Texas Department of Insurance, P. O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104.

What Type of Cooperative Should I Form?

This decision will be based on the goals for the cooperative and the employers interested in joining. You should consult the description of the types of cooperatives available and review the statutes and regulations associated with each. Things you should consider when forming a cooperative include the potential for growth in the cooperative, the complexities associated with potential growth, interest from a carrier and a sponsoring entity in the cooperative, and carrier requirements, such as participation levels.

How Do I Join a Cooperative?

All of the cooperatives registered and listed with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). Contacting a cooperative in your area is the first step you should take in joining a cooperative. For certain cooperatives, there may be an annual open enrollment period, which will limit your opportunities to a certain period each year. Small employers interested in joining a cooperative should also remember that, as individual employers, they are guaranteed issuance of coverage from an insurance company or HMO that offers coverage to small employers. Similarly, a small business employer must be allowed to join a health group cooperative and purchase coverage during the next annual open enrollment period.

What Type of Cooperative Should I Join?

Various factors will influence your decision about the type of cooperative to join, including whether your company is a small or large employer, the rates offered by the cooperatives in your area, a cooperative’s administrative or membership fees, and whether a particular cooperative is accepting new members or currently enrolling new members in an open enrollment period. You should review the different types of cooperatives to determine whether a particular type offers advantages for the employer. There is also a revolutionary individual health insurance plan you can offer your employees.

Health Group Cooperative – Sub (p)

SB 805, enacted by the 79th Texas Legislature (2005), created a new type of health group cooperatives with special rights and requirements.

– Any person, other than a health carrier, may form a sub (p) health group cooperative.

– Once a sub (p) health group cooperative is formed, it must have at least ten small employer members to be eligible to purchase coverage from a health carrier that is participating in the health group cooperative market.

– A sub (p) health group cooperative is not required to allow a small employer to join the cooperative if the cooperative has elected to restrict membership in the cooperative in accordance with legal requirements, and after the small employer has joined the cooperative, the total number of eligible employees employed on business days during the preceding calendar year by all small employers participating in the cooperative would exceed 50.

– A health group cooperative must make the election to restrict membership at the time the cooperative is initially formed.

– Employers that join a sub (p) health group cooperative must commit to purchasing coverage through the cooperative for two years, but may cease purchasing coverage upon demonstrating financial hardship.

– A sub (p) health group cooperative is considered to be a single small employer for the purposes of issuance of coverage and rating. Accordingly, a health group cooperative may purchase coverage from any small employer health carrier that is not already providing coverage to a health group cooperative in that county.

– Health carriers providing coverage to a sub (p) health group cooperative may offer a health benefit plan, specifically allowed by SB 10, which does not include state mandated benefits. This freedom from state mandates is specific to SB 10, but it is similar to that which authorizes consumer choice health benefit plans.

If you have a number of temporary, part-time or seasonal employees working for you, cooperatives have a number of limitations and may not be the best health insurance option for your small business. Group health insurance can be unaffordable for many small businesses, not to mention an administrative headache. Another alternative to group health insurance plans is to offer individual health insurance options to your employees. By law, an employer is not allowed to contribute to these plans, or that would be treated as group insurance under Texas state law. But you can still help your employees become insured in a good plan and improve their health and well-being and also improve employee retention in the process.

If you’re a small business owner who would like to offer affordable health insurance plans to your employees, but can’t afford group health insurance, you should consider offering your employees the revolutionary, comprehensive individual health insurance solutions created by Precedent specifically for young, healthy individuals.

Precedent offers affordable, individual health plans with catastrophic coverage, but without a high deductible, and we’ll offer these plans to your employees at a discount. For more information, visit us at our website. We offer a unique and innovative suite of individual health insurance solutions, including highly competitive HSA-qualified plans, and an unparalleled “real time” application and acceptance experience.

Pat Carpenter writes for Precedent Insurance Company. Precedent puts a new spin on health insurance. Learn more at Precedent.com

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Canadian Health Care: The Difference

Canada is a former member of the British Empire, not that you would know to look at it at the moment! It is now a long-standing independent country but still bears a resemblance to the country that it was once under in certain ways, and health care is one of those ways. Canada health care is extremely good and based on the national health care system still in existence in the UK. In other words, everyone gets access to a good system that is affordable and non-discriminatory, but those who wish to can pay for private care as and when they like. Canada health care insurance plans are funded by the government and publicly as well, and an individual’s policy in maintained by the province that they live in.

Canada health care guidelines are set by the government and are thus uniform throughout the country. It is similar in its make up to that in the UK, meaning that it offers both remedial and preventative health care to anyone that needs it as and when the need arises. This includes doctors, hospitals, dentists and other health care practitioners that come under the one blanket that is Canada health care. All Canadians can get the health care that they want and need as a result because nobody is excluded. The quality of care, though, is unparalleled. Despite being a publicly funded service, the standards are so high that other countries look to Canada for inspiration if their health care system is in need of a makeover!

The average life expectancy in Canada is 80 years old, and that is higher than the age set for most other countries. This pays testament to just how good Canada health care actually is. The infant mortality rate is also low, and these two facts combine to speak volumes about just how good care actually is.

The Canada health care system has been much debated over the years because is has been and still remains socialized. Some individuals have called for private health care but you only have to look at the existing standards and practices to know that it is better left alone. Why try to fix something that is not broken at the risk of making it worse?

There are no problems with the system as it is and making Canada health care resemble US health care is a risk that is not worth taking. At the moment, all Canadians are entitled to the same health care, regardless of age, postcode and annual income. This works well because the nation’s health is far higher than any of their neighboring and fellow Western countries. Whilst the system is not cheap to maintain, it works and surely the nation’s health is more important than money?

We only live once and should make the most of every day via opportunities that are presented to us. Not everyone in the world has access to good health care so make the most of the opportunity that you have been given!

You can also find more info on Health Care Insurance and Health Care Plans . Tophealthcarehelp.com is a comprehensive resource to know about Health Care.

EAP Options for Businesses (In House or Outsourcing)

More and more companies these days are turning toward Employee Assistance Plans or EAPs to help them further support their staff. The idea that an employee’s personal problems are not the employer’s concern is slowly fading away as companies are learning that their people work better when they don’t have personal issues looming over their heads. In many cases, particularly in the case of drug and alcohol addiction, it is far more cost effective for an employer to provide resources to their struggling employee than to let them go from the company.

There are many extra expenses associated with firing and rehiring new staff. There are also greater chances of moral issues in the workplace if an employer simply allows a staff member to continue struggling with their issue. In the end, this leads to behavior such as frequent call outs and reduced productivity. Moreover, the implementation of EAPs actually helps to build loyalty and morale in the workplace. This is because and an employee assistance program indicates that the employer truly cares for their employee’s wellbeing. One of the biggest questions that companies face when looking into establishing an employee assistance program is whether they want to administer one on their own, or hire an outside agency to do so. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Establishing an In House Employee Assistance Program

Many companies approach their EAP by making it a part of the Human Resources department. This allows for the HR staff to handle the types of issues which an employee assistance program would address. This can be helpful in a number of ways. The first is that it saves money for the company since it doesn’t require an additional vendor. Unfortunately, only about 4% to 6% of eligible people actually use company EAPs to get the help that they need, so for many companies it’s not worth the extra cost to support the few people that actually would make use of the program.

Another way that this is helpful is that it encourages a sense of community among staff. Running an EAP in house means that many of the staff handling any issues would already be familiar with the employees already know the people they help, thus having more insight into the situation. Problems can be dealt with quickly without having to go through a third party. This will allow for more flexibility in company policy and provide better internal handling of the situation.

Part of the problem with running an EAP through the HR department or even giving it its own division is related to why so few people may use them. Fear can prevent a person in need from reaching out for help. One may feel too ashamed or intimidating to admit to a personal problem that is affecting their work On top of that, they may feel upset to receive a punishment from a policy where a violation could result in their losing their job. This unfortunately causes many to overlook or not address the real issue at hand. For many people, they would rather deal with the fallout from calling out to care for a sick child rather than ask for childcare help and risk not getting a promotion because they are perceived as being unreliable. In the case of substance abuse, many addicts fear that they will be fired on the spot or their employer will find an excuse to get rid of them, should they admit to having a problem with drugs or alcohol.

Another issue is that while the numbers are small, ideally they should be larger. If a company is doing everything in its power to get people to actually use the resources available to them in order to get the most productive workforce, they will soon find their HR department overwhelmed with requests and may be unable to handle their regular duties. More staff might need to be hired which could in turn, cost more than just working through a third party.

Outsourcing an EAP

Several companies have found that outsourcing their EAP is a better option for them. One advantage is that employers who allow a separate company to administer an EAP can encourage more people to use it. Many employees may find this route to be far more discrete, therefore taking advantage of help offered when they actually need it. That extra layer of “protection” between employees and their own bosses or managers, they are often more confident in the promise of anonymity for using those services. In fact, most third party EAPs will only provide aggregate information to the companies they are hired by, refusing to provide specific information, such as who needs what type of help.

The use of an external company to administer an Employee Assistance Program also ensures that the most accurate and up-to-date information is available to the staff who need to use it. Even the best HR department may not be able to adequately dedicate the time and effort necessary to research the many options available to employees who need legal services, counseling, rehab, child or elderly care, and the many other services that an EAP might have access to. By hiring experts in the field, companies can be sure that their employees are receiving the kind of information that they need in order to get their lives back on track.

One of the problems with using an external service is that it makes communication more difficult. Plus, the actual decision-makers are usually at least one more degree of separation from the employee, so problems that could be fixed with a phone call could require multiple calls and emails to get the process started. Many people can’t afford the extra time it could take to get everybody on board.

Finding the Right Option

There is no one good approach to implementing an Employee Assistance Program. Every company has to consider its size, the options it would like to offer, and how many people are likely to take advantage of it. They must also consider factors such as how much they should invest in it, and what types of risks are involved in either method. Taking the time to determine the best way to go about getting employees the assistance they need is very important, so make sure to weigh all of your options before you decide.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-healthcare-watch-20140615-story.html

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and HR

While it is not a set requirement, where most companies and organizations with an employee assistance program (EAP), there is usually a relationship between the EAP and their Human Resources department. In many cases, Human Resources administers the EAP themselves and takes whatever caution necessary to make sure that employees feel comfortable coming to them with a particular problem. In other cases, a third party organization might do the administration, but work with your company’s HR department in order to arrange for specific accommodations or keep them informed about the success of the program. In either case, there are certain things you should expect from an EAP.

Employee Assistance Programs Run by the HR Department

For a lot of companies, particularly small to medium sized ones that are still building themselves up, an employee assistance program may be offered to personnel, but is run by the people in the Human Resources department. While this isn’t a terrible idea if done right, there are some problems inherent to this approach. The biggest one is that what often keeps people from taking advantage of an employee assistance program is that they are afraid of how it might affect their jobs. It’s not uncommon for people with big problems, including substance abuse issues or financial difficulties, may not take advantage of available resources.

They might think that it will prevent them from getting raises or promotions in their job. In the worst cases, particularly for people who work entry-level or similar jobs, they are afraid that they will be fired. There are minimal legal protections for people that come forward with an alcohol addiction, for example. So, instead of getting the help they need, these individuals will continue to suffer in silence and hope that the negative effects of their struggle won’t hurt their job enough to cause them to lose it anyway.

That’s one of the reasons why most companies that go this route try to make it clear and explicit that all issues dealt with through the EAP will be kept strictly confidential. Human Resources is generally not in a position to actively weigh in on whether somebody should be fired or deserves a promotion, so they are in a position to help people without having the power to hurt them, even in the unlikely situation where that was their goal. In fact, most HR departments running employee assistance programs, seek to protect the employee as much as possible. The real reason behind implementing an EAP is that it helps employees who are dealing with personal issues or are under enormous amounts of stress to the point that it might affect their work productivity.

Employees deserve a way to address those problems in a healthy way so they can become more productive. EAP gives them that option. Plus, it generally costs more to hire and train new employees than it would take to help a current one with their struggles, and holding them in place does nothing but cause frustration that could result in a relapse. Rather than take the risk, Human Resources is more inclined to maintain confidentiality and ensure that management treats individuals who take advantage of the EAP fairly and equitably.

Employee Assistance Programs Run by Third Party Vendors

Since the 1970s, third party companies have been offering their services to run employee assistance programs for businesses across the United States. There are many advantages for organizations that work with one of these companies. First, employees are generally more willing to come forward to somebody who doesn’t directly hold any power over them. By farming these tasks out to another company, stakeholders can be sure that their staff will be comfortable with the level of confidentiality. While third party EAP companies often provide reports regarding the types of help they’ve offered to employees of a particular company, these reports are aggregate and do not use specific names or give specific examples.

This also takes a lot of pressure off of the HR department at a given company, not only allowing them to focus their attention on more pressing business matters, but also providing better quality information. Employee assistance program vendors have the time and resources to gather the latest, most useful, most detailed information about resources for any number of issues that a staff member might have. Unless several members of the Human Resources department are dedicated to just running the EAP, they may not be able to keep up. That being said, the use of an external corporation to run the EAP can be difficult when the employee’s company needs to be brought into a problem. If somebody needs to spend a week in inpatient rehab, it can sometimes take some time for the EAP company to clear that time off with HR, and if an addict comes forward it’s important to get them help quickly so that they don’t change their mind or harm themselves while waiting for approval.

Further, changes in administration of a company’s employee assistance program might throw somebody into chaos. If a person has just begun working with a particular EAP and suddenly find that they need to start all over again under a new system, it can be discouraging and prevent them from trying again. It’s one of the reasons why it’s vital that any changes be a smooth transition which doesn’t disrupt any progress the employee might be making. EAPs are not therapy, but they can often provide therapy that might have to change due to a company switch, for example.

Programs Designed to Help

Despite any flaws, in both cases the people working the employee assistance program are there to help. Neither is adversarial or unfeeling. Quite the opposite: they are specifically there to help personnel to overcome their issues and become the best contributors that they can be. Many people may not take advantage of their organization’s employee assistance programs for any number of reasons, but they should know that doing so could have a huge, positive impact on their lives. Taking advantage of everything an EAP has to offer might be the difference between losing control and saving a life.

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