Posts Tagged Managed Behavioral Health Care

Total Wellbeing: January 2019

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Getting Ahead This Year and Emotional Wellbeing

 

Happy New Year and welcome to the very first 2019 edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. To help start the year on the right foot, this edition will be focused on getting ahead and developing a “can-do” attitude. We hope that you find the resources this month, like our free webinar and info-packed articles, helpful for getting a head start on making 2019 a great year both personally and professionally.

If you missed us last month, last year, or if you are completely new to TotalWellbeing, you can catch up on our newsletters page. Remember, this newsletter is aimed at providing helpful information about various aspects of your wellbeing and then connecting it all back to important and relevant parts of everyday life. Just like last year, we will focus on looking at each facet of wellbeing from a small, personal level and then examine how it connects to the bigger community level as we explore how our wellbeing is tied to the world around us in often surprising ways that you may not have thought about before. And as always, if you have questions or have ideas for topics you’d like to see don’t hesitate to email us using the link in the right column.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Your Emotional Wellbeing

Since we are headed into a new year it may be a good time for a refresher on what Emotional Wellbeing actually is. According to SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration), Emotional Wellbeing is your ability to effectively cope with life stressors and create and maintain satisfying relationships. From this definition, it is easy to see how your emotional state and wellbeing could be connected to your ability to be productive, execute plans to reach goals, and nurture relationships. This is because before you can take care of others’ needs, you must first take care of your own. This year, as you plan on how to make 2019 a great year, first think about the emotional needs and barriers you may have that need to be addressed before you can begin exerting your energy outward. Then, once you are in a good place emotionally, think about how you can use that stability and positivity to channel your energy into productive and social ventures to build your external wellbeing. All of this will help create a foundation ripe for growth that will serve you for the rest of the year and beyond.

Enhancing your emotional wellbeing can be hard. But the good news is you don’t have to do it alone. Call MINES any time of day to get set up with a counselor or wellness coach to talk about reaching your goals, countering stressors, and busting down barriers. Please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away.

Question of the Month

What are 3 goals that, if achieved, would help make 2019 a great year?

Quote of the Month

“Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit – the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of wellbeing.”

– Greg Anderson

Community and Global Perspective

Making the most of a day, a week, a month, or a whole year is largely a combination of goals, good habits, and your state of mind. However, not everything is in our control. There are plenty of things out there in the world that we encounter daily that can impede our personal efforts. Negative or positive news on TV, things going on in your social circles, work-based items that eat up a significant amount of time or cause stress, and any other number of things that life throws our way, can often distract and discourage us from our goals. This is why it is important to monitor your feelings and to think critically about how you react to things out of your control. By paying attention to this aspect of your mind you can identify sources of stress and counter them as they come rather than let things build up and compound the negative effect they have over you. Being aware of your feelings in this way is also great mindfulness practice that will become easier over time, and as you become more in touch with yourself you will reinforce your emotional resilience making you a stronger person overall.

If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
This month’s webinar:

Do Your Bucket List: 7 Ways to Focus on the Things that Matter

MINESblog:

Coming soon: National Law Enforcement Day post (Jan. 9th)

New to TW? Check out our past Blogs!

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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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Publication Update December 2017

Just a quick update.

Dr. Robert Mines (chairman and psychologist) and Dr. Dani Kimlinger (CEO) from the MINES Team were honored to contribute to an article by Bruce Shutan in this month’s issue of The Self-Insurer. The article is called Beyond Opioids and covers how EAPs, like MINES, and good benefit-plan design can help treat addictions and other substance use issues in an employee population as well as control overall health care spending.

The issue can be viewed here:

 

Check out other Self-Insurer publications here: https://goo.gl/2TjaUV

And check out other MINES publications here: www.minesandassociates.com/about_staff_publications.html

 

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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MINES celebrates 35 years of behavioral health excellence

Did you know that just a few weeks ago, MINES celebrated our 35th anniversary? It’s true, back in January of 1981, MINES was started with the vision of being a psychology firm addressing the needs of its clients based on the expertise of multiple professionals even though it initially consisted of one psychologist, our founder, Dr. Robert A. Mines. Soon after, Dr. Richard Lindsey joined the firm and over the ensuing years, MINES became well-known for providing health psychology services such as its expert case management in behavioral health, a leader in Employee Assistance, and a valued partner to our clients regarding organizational psychology services. We’ve been proud to call Colorado our home and to expand to all 50 states. We’ve seen many changes in our industry over the years but no matter how we partnered with groups or consulted on projects we’ve always maintained our core vision as a guiding principle for doing business: to save lives and influence the course of human events.

So, to commemorate the occasion, we wanted to reconfirm our solemn promise to our clients, past, present, and future, to continue to work in every way that we can to serve the good of those organizations and individuals/families. MINES continues to strive to apply the latest evidenced/research-based practices for the wellbeing of our clients. We do this with compassion and loving kindness to relieve their suffering and enhance the quality of their lives.

As a practical matter and update moving forward, we have rolled out a brand new website at www.minesandassociates.com that will significantly improve the ability of individuals to access our services and information about our program through mobile devices. We have a number of changes to our Provider Portal that will streamline our billing and reporting processes. We’re upping our social media game to provide great content on facebook and twitter (so make sure to check it out!) And we have a number of projects underway that will be rolling out in 2016 that will make it easier and more enjoyable to access services with MINES.

We want to thank all of our clients for their partnership over the years and look forward to the next 35 years! Have a great 2016 and, as always, “to your wellbeing!”

The MINES team

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Environmental and Social Stressors

Environmental and social stressors often negatively impact an individual’s work performance and mental wellbeing.  It might seem as if these stressors are completely out of our control and that one must surrender to their impact.  However, it is important to acknowledge that individuals do have control of how they respond to these stressors. Here, we take a look at some common examples of these types of stressors, and some ways in which we can choose to respond.

 

Environmental Stressors like weather, traffic, and the work environment represent a few examples of things that cannot always be controlled.  The way humans respond to these situations can affect wellbeing.  If there is no way to change one’s reality, there are likely ways to at least balance it.  Consider taking possible measures to balance your own environmental stressors.

 

 

  1. Scheduling: Traffic, for example, can be a huge environmental stressor. Leaving the house late and speeding regularly adds to stress levels.  Rather than cursing the freeways and inanity of one’s fellow drivers, a person can leave home in the morning 30 minutes early; they could put on their favorite music while sipping a nice hot beverage of their choice.  This might make the commute more tolerable, possibly even enjoyable.

 

  1. Personal space: Another aspect of environment has to do with your physical environment.   When you walk into your house after a long day of work how does it feel?  When you sit at your desk at work all day how does it feel?  What can you do to make your spaces feel better, healthier, and more supportive for you?  Everyone is different. For some, having pictures of loved ones on your desk makes a big difference.  For others, keeping your desk or home uncluttered and clean has a huge effect on their sense of control and wellbeing.  Maybe others like to have lots of live green plants around to liven things up, or like to light incense or a candle to clear the air.  Maybe you don’t have a window in your office, but is it possible to make sure you take a few small breaks during the day and go outside for a couple minutes to keep you grounded and feel some sunshine?  Although these may seem like small efforts, they make a big difference in your emotional health and overall wellbeing.

 

  1. We can limit our exposure to environmental stressors. If you are someone who is agitated by listening to or reading the news, you can choose to limit your time doing that activity.  We all know that the news tends to focus on negative stories and violence, and it may be beneficial to substitute an activity that is more calming.  Limiting our exposure to unrealistic images of beauty that can be found on most magazine covers can lead to higher self-esteem.  Perhaps bypassing the tabloid magazine for the bestseller at Barnes & Noble will give you a necessary break to develop self-compassion and inner peace.  Things like pesticides, toxins, and pollutants are out of our control, but we can limit our exposure by eating more organic foods, drinking filtered water, and filtering our air with a HEPA filter.  Things like noise pollution can be out of our control, but installing a white noise machine can drown out the unpleasant noise.

 

Social stressors can also weigh heavy in a person’s life.  An ideal social environment would include meaningful relationships, positive support, and mutual respect.  However, sometimes we are forced to learn how to best relate with individuals we encounter who may manipulate, try to exert control over us, or are emotionally or physically abusive.

 

  1. Boundaries: Create and maintain strong boundaries.  It is okay to limit time with a problematic individual.  It is also permissible to say “no” at times.  It often feels difficult to set boundaries because the person may be angry or upset; however, in the long run boundaries actually help build much stronger relationships.

 

  1. Social support system: Although in some cases we don’t have control over the people in our lives, such as family and coworkers, we do have control over who we invite into our lives for a social support network.   A person’s circle of friends has a strong influence on emotional health and overall wellbeing.  If someone wants to think more positively and then they surround themselves with people who think negatively, they are likely not meeting their goal.  Or take for example a person who wants to get healthier both physically and mentally by partying less.  But that person’s friends put pressure on them to drink and go out during the weekends.  The person in search of health might feel “out of control” or destined to constantly party.  This furthers emotional and physical discomfort while simultaneously being held back from evolving and reaching your goals.  You have a choice who to bring into your support system. You can bring people in who lift you up, inspire you, support you, and help you grow.  Intimate relationships are another area you have choices in.  If your partner is always putting you down or is abusive in any way, they may create a toxic environment that negatively influences your physical and emtional wellbeing.

 

  1. EAP and Counseling: Another way to get some support around social and environmental stressors is through counseling or your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Counseling is a safe, non-judgemental place to get support around things you are struggling with in your life — whether they are related to work or not. Sometimes counseling is helpful just to gain another perspective or to attain some new coping skills.  EAP is completely confidential and provides a great way to access free counseling services through your benefits.  EAPs often offer telephonic or video sessions if you are too busy to go in for an appointment.

 

Remember:  Our reactions to an environmental or social stressor can determine its impact.  It’s always possible to reduce stress levels by consciously responding to these stressors in a way that can balance their effects.  By practicing this skill often, you will begin to know yourself well enough to tell if an environmental or social stressor is negatively impacting your wellbeing, and you will be able to promptly take steps to improve your emotional and physical health.

 

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Alea Makley, MA – Clinical Case Manager

Alex Rothchild, MA, LPC – Clinical Case Manager

The MINES Clinical Case Management Team

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Psychology of Performance – 42: Integration of Behavioral Health and Medicine in Self-Insured Organizations

There are many conditions, both acute and chronic, which have significant psychological components to them. It is well-documented that medical costs for diabetes, asthma, cardiac events, and others are significantly higher when there is a co-morbid diagnosis of depression, post traumatic stress, or substance use disorder.  As a function of this relationship and the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is a need for integrating behavioral health services.

The integration needs to occur at the strategic/systems and tactical levels. On the tactical side, there are already case studies in the public healthcare sectors and in Kaiser Permanente of placing mental health professionals in medical clinics and offices so the doctors and nurses can just walk a patient down the hall to see them once a psychological component has been identified. At MINES we are piloting a wellness coaching model for individuals who are identified by their healthcare provider as a pre-substance use disorder patient, through a Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) grant awarded to Peer Assistance Services.

At the strategic/systems level, integration has significant utility and challenges for self-insured organizations whether as an individual entity or a multi-employer trust. At this level, a key component is the ability for the various vendors to cross-communicate on these types of patients. This involves the ability to do data mining to identify the patients, having an intensive case management behavioral health specialist to be the point person, regular communication between the TPA, pharmaceutical vendor, medical utilization review, behavioral health utilization review and the medical/psychological personnel responsible for treatment. An obvious challenge is getting buy-in from all of these stakeholders. There is no incentive other than good patient care for any of these groups to cooperate with each other. To rectify this, incentives would need to be financial or contractual. Employers have leverage on the contractual side as it is their health benefit and their money. At the time of this blog, there are case-studies of organizations moving this direction; however, specifics are a long way from full integration due to the complexities required.

I would welcome your discussion and wisdom on this issue.

Have a day filled with extending loving kindness to all those you encounter,

Bob

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO

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Psychology of Performance – 34: Spark!

The book, Spark, by John J. Ratey, M.D. is the holy grail of research applications related to the interaction of exercise, neuroplasticity, and performance. The information on brain chemistry changes in the areas of learning, addictions, anxiety, depression, women’s issues, ADHD, and aging is priceless. The essence of the book is that the data indicated the brain is able to create new neuronal connections, grow new nerve cells throughout life, manage major psychological conditions, pain conditions, and learning is significantly enhanced through exercise. Ratey stated that “exercise is the single most powerful tool you have to optimize your brain function”- based on hundreds of research studies (p.245). Ratey suggested that the more fit you get (regardless of where you start), the “ more resilient your brain becomes and the better it functions both cognitively and psychologically. If you get your body in shape, your mind will follow” (p. 247).

How much is enough? Ratey stated that walking is enough. Low-intensity exercise is at 55 to 65% of maximum heart rate, moderate is 65-75% and high intensity is 75-90%. “The process of getting fit is all about building up your aerobic base” (p.251). Ratey goes on to discuss the role of strength training and flexibility as important elements of optimizing your brain chemistry and hormone levels.

What does this have to do with optimizing your performance at work and in all areas of your life? Everything! Get started today and stick with it.

Have a day filled with optimal brain chemistry,

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

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Psychology of Performance – 32: Nutrition, Depresssion, Alcoholism and Performance

I ran across some interesting information on the role of niacin, depression, and alcoholism in performance at www.doctoryourself.com. It is well documented that depression and/or alcoholism may negatively affect performance across just about any domain one can perform in. In the treatment of depression and alcoholism there are very effective cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy interventions. In addition, exercise and medication may add additional therapeutic effects. The role of nutrition may have further potentiating influence.

According to this site, Bill W., the founder of AA, was successfully treated for depression with 3,000 mg of niacin a day. Unfortunately, this information has not been widely discussed or published in the media. I would be interested to hear from any of you who have used niacin as a means of treating depression or alcoholism and what your results were. Please let us at MINES know.

Have a day filled with mindfulness,

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

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Psychology of Performance – 20 – Early Attachment and Adult Performance Implications

Our early attachments to our primary caregivers may have significant implications for our ability to perform throughout our lives. The good news is that there are mindfulness techniques that can help integrate the information and energy associated with the various attachment categories so that as adults our performance does not have to be limited by the early learning associated with these attachments.

Siegel &  Hartzell, M.Ed., (2003, p.102-112) in their book, Parenting from the Inside Out, describe four patterns of attachment derived from the work of researchers such as Mary Ainsworth, Mary Main, and Erik Hesse, among others. As infants we most likely have one of the following patterns (which can vary by caregiver): Secure, Insecure-Avoidant, Insecure-Anxious/Ambivalent, or Insecure-Disorganized.

Secure attachments are described as having a parental interactive pattern characterized by the parent being emotionally available, perceptive, and responsive. The child sees the parent as being a source of comfort during times of distress, a safe haven, being available, and a secure base. This creates a sense of well being from which the child can go into the world to “explore and make new connections with others” (p.104).

Insecure-Avoidant patterns are associated with parents who are emotionally unavailable, imperceptive, unresponsive, and rejecting. These children avoid closeness and emotional connections to the parent (p.104).

Insecure-Ambivalent patterns are described as having parents who are inconsistently available, perceptive, and responsive and intrusive. The child cannot depend on the parent for attunement and connection. The child develops a sense of anxiety and uncertainty about whether they can depend on their parents (p.105).

Insecure-Disorganization patterns are created by parents who are frightening, frightened, chaotic, disorienting, and alarming to the child. This pattern is often associated with abuse. This creates a situation in which abuse is incompatible with a sense of security. The child develops coping responses that lead to difficulties in regulating emotions, trouble in social communication, difficulties with academic reasoning tasks, a tendency toward interpersonal violence, and a predisposition to dissociation – a process in which normally integrated cognition becomes fragmented (p. 106).

The good news is that for those with insecure attachments there are mindfulness techniques described in Siegel’s book, Mindsight, that can help the individual integrate the insecure attachment memories, patterns, and information in a manner that frees them up from “automatically or habitually” engaging in the pattern in their adult relationships.

The implications of early attachment for the psychology of performance are significant. Secure attachments allow for a base of security which in adulthood can manifest in collaborative interactions in the business environment, for example. The social psychology of group performance is enhanced when members can communicate directly and problem solve from a position of trust. Contrast this with an avoidant attachment pattern in which a team member has a fundamental approach to relationships that is one of distrust and self-reliance. This team member is there in name only and will be perceived as not cooperating, being a maverick, and “not playing well in the sand box.” The anxious attachment style may show up as an accommodating or pleasing style. This person sacrifices their own opinions so as to fit in, may frequently be checking in with the “boss” for approval and reassurance. The group loses this person’s gifts as the person may give in rather than be proactive on a decision point. The disorganized attachment style may contribute to significant disruption in a work group or team’s performance because the person will become overwhelmed during a conflict with either a chaotic or rigid response, either of which can disrupt the flow of energy and information needed for higher performance.

The culture of an organization often is set by the leader of the organization. Part of the definition of culture is the shared set of assumptions as to how we do business. From this, it is possible to see how the impact of the leader’s attachment could influence the culture of the organization. For example, if the leader has an anxious attachment, the organization may have a strong press to accommodate customers, resulting in a high emphasis on customer service which could range from being useful to problematic if taken to a dysfunctional level.

Have a day filled with mindful integration,

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

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Psychology of Performance – 17 Mirror Neurons

In his book The Mindful Therapist, Dr. Dan Siegel discusses the role of mirror neurons in actions that have a perceived intention behind them. He stated that the mirror neurons function as a bridge between sensory input and motor output that allows us to mirror the behavior we see someone else enact (p.36).  Practically this means that when we see someone drinking from a glass, the mirror neurons become activated (firing off electrical currents called an action potential). If we were to drink from the same glass, the same specific neurons that fired when we saw someone else drinking also become activated. Dr. Siegel said “We see a behavior and get ready to imitate it,” (p.36).

The implications of this line of research are significant for performance. For example, if you watch a movie with alcohol being consumed and you are in recovery, now you have internal neuronal firing similar to drinking the alcohol yourself. Now you have to override the neuronal firing with “white-knuckling it,” or better yet with mindful awareness, or you will increase your probabilities of a relapse.

The upside of this research is that seeing others perform a behavior successfully – mentally rehearsing the image – would theoretically strengthen the neuronal firing and increase the probabilities that you will execute the behavior successfully. This concept is foundational to performance coaching. As coaches, therapists, and bosses we need to think about our current training techniques and how they incorporate watching, rehearsing, and doing as part of the sequence.

Have a day filled with Mindfulness,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.

CEO & Psychologist

MINES and Associates

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