Posts Tagged Human Resources

John Oliver: Rehab, Last Week Tonight Psychology of Performance #63

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Psychology Officer

Thank you John Oliver and your staff for a significant public service on your show this week! Your commentary and excellent coverage of a major problem in substance use disorder and alcohol treatment will have an impact far beyond what the insurance and professional communities have been able to do.

MINES has patients who have gone out of network, received poor care, the payors have received outrageous bills, the patients are stuck with bills that can only result in medical bankruptcy and as you noted, people die in these disreputable facilities.  A major component that you pointed out is patient brokering. When people Google substance abuse/use treatment, the top 20-30 are facilities, mostly in Florida and California, or are patient brokers. Reputable facilities in the person’s community do not even make the list. Then the facilities sometimes even pay the airfare to fly the patient to their facility and if the patient does not meet medical necessity for that level of care, the facility turns them out on the street to find their own way back to the state/community they live in.

You mentioned addictionologists as a resource for finding reputable care. In addition, Employee Assistance Programs as well as managed behavioral health services (insurance) are knowledgeable and informed about substance use and alcohol treatment. They know which facilities and programs are in network with the insurance and which ones do a good job.

Evidence-based treatment supports the use of a continuum of care from outpatient, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, residential and detox (medical and social detox). There are medications that also contribute to sobriety and health.

These are chronic illnesses/conditions that require the patients to cope with all their lives. Learning relapse prevention and adherence skills are essential.

If you decide to delve into this national problem further in a future episode, I would be happy to consult with you and your team.

The following clip may be not suitable for some work environments:

Resource:

This is a link to a pdf of an article published by the Self Insurance Institute of America on predatory treatment facilities and managed behavioral healthcare strategies for helping the patients and the payors. http://www.minesandassociates.com/documents/Predatory_Facility_Article.pdf

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Psychology of Performance – 40: Management of Chronic Illness

The expectations and beliefs we have about receiving a diagnosis of a chronic illness such as diabetes, heart problems, asthma, liver disease, addictions, depression, and so forth have a direct impact on how we manage that illness.  The beliefs may vary from “that’s not fair,” to “this is too much to handle,” to “I don’t have to check my blood today for diabetes sugar levels, I can get by,” or “I can have one drink or one deep fried snickers bar.” These beliefs are directly tied to how well a person follows their medical plan and how far they may fall when not adhering, otherwise known as relapsing.

I had the privilege and honor of facilitating a discussion group for Adult Type I diabetics. Some of them had been managing their diabetes for over 50 years. One member said, “I am so tired of shots and blood tests 4-5 times a day, I just don’t care anymore.” The member went on to say that her sugar levels were elevated on her A1C tests, were rising, and she was resigned.  This is a good example of a subtle, yet eventually serious, psychological impact issue related to her health and wellbeing.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with a chronic illness, please pay attention to how they think about their illness as the psychological consequences, as well as the health and final consequences, can be overwhelming if they are not managed well. Depression and anxiety negatively affect health outcomes in most chronic illnesses.  A qualified mental health professional can be a very useful resource under these circumstances.

Exchange love and happiness with all those you meet today,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.,
CEO and Psychologist

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The “Holiday Spirit”

What do the holidays mean for your employees and organization? Well, for some it means taking time off, family and friends coming in and out of town, donating to charities, end of year deadlines and the list continues! What can your organization do to support your employees during this time of the year? Get them into “the holiday spirit!”

Here are some quotes that may embrace your impression of the holiday spirit:

The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas. — W. C. Jones

This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays” — D.M. Dellinger

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness. — Helen Keller

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. — Harlan Miller

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, The Winter Solstice or nothing at all, you may be familiar with some of the themes in these quotes. These themes found and promoted as the “holiday spirit” can be found year round in your organization!

Since I am especially thankful and proud of my organization’s approach to the holidays, I’d like to take a few moments and describe why being in HR at MINES has jumpstarted my holiday spirit! This year, we have had incredible interest and proactive initiatives in making the MINES culture something to be proud of. Employees from all over the organization, in numerous departments and of varying tenure have informally stepped up and offered ideas and proactive approaches to making MINES a fun and enjoyable place to work. This holiday season has been no exception!

What began as a simple holiday party planning committee grew into a committee that wanted to ensure a memorable experience for not only our employees but also our clients. We first brainstormed a completely different approach to our holiday party… how did this happen? We had a newer employee who was not boggled down by assumptions of the “way things have been done” do some homework and elect a different flavor for the party. The committee also wanted to ensure that the other members of the staff had input in components of the party and they did partake!  Above and beyond the holiday party, other great ideas became reality including two drives incentivized by a spirit week and raffle as well as a card signing potluck lunch. The reason that this brightened my holiday spirit is not necessarily the activities themselves; it was seeing the enthusiasm and these great initiatives by our brilliant staff becoming a reality. What was most impressive was the decision by our committee to make it a goal to continue this proactive morale-boosting initiative throughout the year. Of course, we could not have implemented reality without our executive team being on-board!

This year, be proactive about making your holiday season special for yourself, your colleagues, your organization, your community, and for everyone that you touch. Let THIS holiday season be a springboard for the rest of the year! Be the one who helps to spark your organization’s “holiday spirit” and keep it burning all year long! Giving, caring, spending time with family and friends, easing others’ loads, generosity, appreciation, and sharing your contagious smile and energy can make a difference in the morale of your organization all year! This difference and spirit spreads and benefits everyone who you touch whether it is clients, family, colleagues, customers, or friends! I believe that this is why MINES makes such a tremendous difference in our clients’ lives.

Happy Holidays!
Dani Kimlinger, MHA, PHR, Human Resources

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Understanding Your Personality Type

“When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it.” – Bernard Bailey

In the workplace there are tasks and then there are people; research has shown that people are different. In fact, 75% of people are different from you in their personality types and leadership styles. The challenge is not in completing tasks, it lies in understanding how our personality types work or don’t work together. In our careers and personal lives, it is the people, not the tasks that will challenge us the most. As we develop in our careers, those that seek out the tools and opportunities to increase self-awareness in order to work better with others, are the ones that are progressing. Once you become aware of your own personality type, behavior, and style you can begin to understand how others perceive your words and actions.

As an exercise toward this goal, I recommend completing the Enneagram Personality Test. However, you should read this background about the Enneagram first. There are several recognized batteries for personality and none are perfect, but the Enneagram is highly recognized. Remember, that this test, like any test, is only a snapshot.

Once completed, you may view your personal results. The information may help you develop your style, which in turn may help better equip you as you evolve within your organization.

Ian Holtz,
Manager, Business Development

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Psychology of Performance – 39: Legalization of Marijuana

The states that passed legalization of marijuana in all probability made a good decision for all the well known reasons such as quality control, lowering prison costs (half of our world highest inmate population are in for drug possession charges), increased tax revenue, and squeezing out organized crime in this area. The epidemiology incidence of people who use marijuana for self medication or recreation is not going to go up or down. They are using it regardless, similar to alcohol during prohibition. What does this have to do with the psychology of performance?

The evidence is clear that individuals do not perform most tasks or think clearly when impaired. Employers already have the right to drug test their employees and are required by law to provide a safe work environment. Just because alcohol has been legal does not mean that employees are entitled to drink at work or come to work under the influence of alcohol. The precedents are already in place and should also apply to marijuana. The rest of the story for marijuana users is that even recreational use will show up for a month in random or “for cause” drug testing. So until impairment levels can be defined by the enforcement side of these laws, it would be prudent for those individuals inclined to use marijuana to continue to refrain from such usage. Bottom line, both alcohol and marijuana will impair performance despite stories such as the one in the movie “Flight.”

Remember to exchange love and happiness with everyone you meet.

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.,
CEO, and Psychologist

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Diversity Includes LGBT, Too!

Many of us are aware that it is illegal for employers to discriminate based on the well-known key EEOC areas: race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information, and disability.  What some are not aware of is that some states, including Colorado, have made it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation.  This 2007 amendment to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act is known as the Sexual Orientation Employment Discrimination Act (SOEDA).  This amendment prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s orientation towards heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, and transgender status (Federal Antidiscrimination Laws, 2011).

What considerations does the employer need to be aware of following the SOEDA Amendment? First of all, the employer should not inquire about the applicant’s sexual preference. Additionally, when advertising for an opening within the company, there should not be an expressed preference for a sexual orientation.  It is prohibited for the company to have separate lines for progression or seniority status based on sexual orientation. Finally, the employer must allow employees to dress according to the gender in which the employee identifies with (Federal Antidiscrimination Laws, 2011).

Being aware and complying with this law is certainly important, but why not take it a step further and enhance the company’s support for LGBT by forming cultural norm? Did you know studies show that more than half of LGBT employees keep it a secret? This negatively affects morale and productivity! Here are just a few tips for your company to consider for showing acceptance for your LGBT employees (Anderson, 2011):

  1. Provide support inside and outside of the organization for LGBT through networking opportunities. This provides structured support which helps LGBT staff succeed within the organization.
  2. Ensure that information about partner benefits is clearly communicated to the LGBT staff. Often, LGBT employees are not aware of the benefits that their domestic partners may be eligible for.
  3. Using inclusive language often makes the LGBT employees feel more comfortable. For instance, if an organization is hosting a company party, encourage all employees to bring a “guest” rather than their “spouse.”
  4. Support LGBT events, either through donations or involvement of the organization in events.
  5. Highlight senior management support of LGBT employees.  When senior management discusses the importance of diversity, it sends a strong and positive message when they include LGBT as well!

Dani Kimlinger, MHA, PHR
Human Resources

References

The State of Colorado. (2011). Federal Antidiscrimination Laws. Retrieved October 26, 2011, from http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=Content-Disposition&blobheadername2=Content-Type&blobheadervalue1=inline%3B+filename%3D%22Non-discrimination+Policy.pdf%22&blobheadervalue2=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251741381222&ssbinary=true

Anderson, Melissa J. (2011, October 11). 1o Tips to Create an LGBT Supportive Workplace on National Coming Out Day [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.evolvedemployer.com/2011/10/11/10-tips-to-create-an-lgbt-supportive-workplace-on-national-coming-out-day/

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Work/Life Balance Tackles Home Stress

“My son has a fever and needs to stay home and rest.”

“I just had surgery and can’t sit for long periods of time.”

“It doesn’t make sense for me to work and pay for infant daycare!”

Do any of these issues come up in your company? If you think that they are stressful for the organization, just imagine the burden on your employees. One option that is grasping more and more attention is allowing employees to telework if they as employees, and their positions, permit it (Heathfield, 2011).

So, how would an organization determine whether or not a position is a strong fit for telecommuting? There’s no simple answer but here are some variables to consider (Heathfield, 2011):

  • The position must be able to be completed outside of the office building. There are some new and creative ways to make this possible, even for those  positions that seemingly need to be completed in the office. One such position is a call center employee — many companies are offering their employees remote access and soft phones on their computers.
  • The employees should be able to work independently inside of the company in order to be considered for telecommuting.
  • The employee and the manager should both be comfortable with electronic communication, i.e. e-mail.
  • The employee should not be wearing the “home” hat and the “work” hat during their working hours. The employee should have uninterrupted work time at home.
  • The employee must be trustworthy.

Daniél C. Kimlinger, MHA, PHR
Human Resources Specialist

References
Heathfield, S. (n.d.). Life and Family Challenges With Flexible Work Schedules? In About Human Resources. Retrieved June 21, 2011, from http://humanresources.about.com/od/workschedules/f/life_family.htm

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Showing Support for Employees

May is mental health awareness month – an issue that has implications on individuals as well as the organizations they work for. The importance of mental health and the employee is a frequently discussed topic in the field of HR. Does the employer have a responsibility for their employees’ mental health? How can offering mental health benefits help the organization? Although there are multiple perspectives, there are some ways that the employer can help support their employees through difficult times.

One common and inexpensive benefit that the vast majority of organizations provide to their employees is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Yes, MINES and Associates is an EAP provider, and as such we see the issues that come to the table: low morale, family conflicts, substance abuse, and financial stressors to name a few. We also hear success stories of employees completing their counseling sessions and feeling that many areas of their lives have improved – including their job! Being the HR specialist of an organization which provides EAP services, it was easy to see where the value of an EAP lies. When an employee comes to you with a problem or suspicions of a mental illness, it’s reassuring to know that as an HR specialist, you have a great resource available where you can refer employees to clinicians that are better suited to help with these sorts of problems.

In addition to an EAP, there are other ways that you can regularly support your employees. Some benefits that our employees greatly appreciate include generous time off, the ability to work remotely, and encouraged open-communication. During times of stress, employees tend to appreciate time off to deal with personal matters. Working remotely allows the employee flexibility in their work. Finally, open-communication allows employees to bring forth concerns and needs without fear of reprisal. Your employees are the greatest asset of the company – show them that you care and support them!

Daniél C. Kimlinger, MHA
Human Resources Specialist

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