Workplace healthcare services

Workplace healthcare services

The medical and behavioral healthcare services of The Medical Center at Princeton are available throughout New Jersey.

More than 200 organizations, including corporations, schools, municipalities and unions have contracted with the two branches of the medical center’s Corporate Health Services (CHS).

CHS provides medical support, serving as “house doctor” or supplementing busy in-house corporate medical facilities. The Confidential Advisory Program provides employee assistance program services to help employees and their dependents resolve a wide range of personal problems and concerns whether they arise at home or on the job.

Several years ago, a popular, young employee at International Flavors and Fragrances, suffered a fatal heart attack on the way home from work. Employees at IFF were shaken by the unexpected death of their friend and co-worker and needed time and help in dealing with their grief. The corporation’s human resources department immediately called on the medical center’s Confidential Advisory Program (CAP). Its counseling team, certified to deal with workplace trauma, arrive the next day to visit the Dayton corporation and helped employees talk through the crisis.

“I don’t know what we’d do without CAP,” says IFF Human Resources Director Carol Hayden. “Our employees are our most important resource, and people here are like a family. When someone has a problem, they may be reluctant to mention it to us, but we want to do everything we can to help them. One of the most important things we can do is to make a confidential counseling service available, one that is independent, highly qualified and totally professional.”

Unlike the grief counseling session at IFF, a call to CAP is usually initiated by an employee, not a company administrator. A divorced, young mother of two, caught in a web of financial, family and legal problems, called CAP’s 24 hour, 800 number, spoke to a counselor, and soon had her life back on track.

“The service always responds within a day,” says Hayden. “It’s one of the best.” Through a quarterly newspaper and orientation programs, employees are made aware of the services available to them. “All they have to do to,” Hayden adds, “is pick up one of the CAP cards we keep outside the office. The contacts and services are completely confidential. The company never knows the nature of the problem.”

When employees or their families have personal problems, productivity suffers. “Everybody’s human,” says Carl Amenhauser, director of Corporate Health Services. “Nobody is immune to medical or behavioral health problems, whether they arise at home or at work. Whether the difficulty is substance abuse, a sick child or a lingering legal hassle, you can’t function at full capacity when you’re ill or preoccupied.”

Problems on the job can tie up a business’s time and resources. Poor attendance, conflict between co-workers, and corporate downsizing all lead to pressure that can be defused when handled properly. Companies lose millions of dollars every year paying for replacement workers and temporary help. “Those without employee assistance service pay more in insurance claims and premiums than those who use services such as CAP,” Amenhauser said. “If you support your employees’ physical and mental well being, everyone benefits.”

Psychologist John Sheehan, a CAP counselor, spoke of the creative strengths of the program. “Our services are varied. We help people cope with every kind of personal problem, and we provide CAP services to all types of employers.” Sheehan listed the types or member organizations using CAP. They include high tech, educational and research institutions, labor unions, hospitals, county and local governments, manufacturing companies, chambers of commerce and small businesses.

He added, “Any employee of one of our companies, or a member of their household, can call for help with any type of personal concern-domestic problems, physical health issues, or for information on resources to help care for an aging parent-wherever the parent may be. CAP is tied into a nationwide network of professional affiliates, with additional links in Canada and four foreign countries. “No matter where the employee is at the time of the call,” says Sheehan, “we can talk to them and make an immediate referral if necessary. We might see them here in Princeton or refer them to an affiliate for help.”

The medical arm of Corporate Health Services offers a wide range of occupational health care services: Pre-employment physicals, worksite safety assessments, urgent medical care, workers compensation evaluations and ongoing immunization programs to name a few. In the workplace, they provide wellness education programs tailored to each employer’s needs

Corinne Cieslin, R.N., medical services coordinator, is the longest tenured member of the Corporate Health Services team. Prior to joining CHS, Mrs. Cieslin worked in every area of the hospital. She stepped in full-time when the Corporate Health Services program expanded to meet the growing medical needs of area employers. “We filled a real gap as new companies poured into the area in the ’80s,” she says. “The company doctor tends to stay behind when a business moves, but employees need and expect the same level of in-house medical services.”

CHS keeps employers up-to-date on new federal and state regulations concerning workplace health care issues. They also advise different employers on creating employee wellness programs tailored to their employees’ needs. They do on-site flu immunizations, cholesterol screenings and health fairs, schedule set-aside times at the medical center for mammography screenings.

CHS provides group educational programs on a large number of topics, broken down into medical and behavioral educational categories. Information sessions might cover a healthcare topic, such as Lyme disease prevention and treatment, or support for behavioral change with “how to” meetings on stopping smoking or stress management.

Lifestyle assessments from CHS can provide important information to the employer. A comprehensive survey and computerized printout provides a workforce profile that can highlight health risk areas which may be addressed through a customized Health Promotion and Education Program.

Copyright Mercer County Chamber of Commerce Jul 01, 1995

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