Integrated employee assistance program/managed behavioral health plan utilization by persons with substance use disorders.
ABSTRACT New federal parity and health reform legislation, promising increased behavioral health care access and a focus on prevention, has heightened interest in employee assistance programs (EAPs). This study investigated service utilization by persons with a primary substance use disorder (SUD) diagnosis in a managed behavioral health care (MBHC) organization's integrated EAP/MBHC product (N = 1,158). In 2004, 25.0% of clients used the EAP first for new treatment episodes. After initial EAP utilization, 44.4% received no additional formal services through the plan, and 40.4% received regular outpatient services. Overall, outpatient care, intensive outpatient/day treatment, and inpatient/residential detoxification were most common. About half of the clients had co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses. Mental health service utilization was extensive. Findings suggest that for service users with primary SUD diagnoses in an integrated EAP/MBHC product, the EAP benefit plays a key role at the front end of treatment and is often only one component of treatment episodes.