Case Study | Nuvance Health

How Supporting Neurodiversity Increased Overall Mental Health and Well-Being at Nuvance Health

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    The Challenge

    Just over a year ago, the culture at Nuvance Health looked very different than it does today. They merged two healthcare facilities in 2019, and prior to that, were struggling with the stigma of mental health.

    “No one wanted to talk about it,” shares Jaclyn DeMaio, Director of Benefits Strategy and Planning at Nuvance Health. “Managers didn’t talk about it. Employees didn’t want to come to us. And if they did, it was really hard for them, as benefits experts, to come to us. They were kind of forced to because they were struggling to find a therapist.”

    Access to mental health care is a major barrier across the U.S., with national wait times for a therapy appointment averaging 48 days. For Nuvance Health employees, accessing mental health care was an even greater challenge due to a scarcity of providers in their geographic area.

    This was further intensified by the limited number of professionals equipped to work with children and teenagers, further narrowing the options for employees seeking care for young dependents.

    On top of that, Nuvance Health wanted to ensure they were creating an inclusive workforce, creating Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), and ensuring employees were aware of accommodations that could be made.

    Since one in five people are neurodivergent, supporting the unique needs facing Nuvance Health’s employees also required understanding the challenges that neurodiverse individuals face in the workplace.

    These include:

    • Difficulty in prioritizing and planning
    • Literal interpretations
    • Appearing inflexible or too direct
    • Distractibility
    • Sensory challenges
    • Social challenges or anxieties
    • Communication issues

    The term neurodivergent refers to individuals whose brains function differently from those with more neurotypical brains, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, dyslexia, and OCD, among other cognitive variations.

    Nuvance Health knew their employees needed more support than their traditional EAP could offer, so they brought on Elisha Engelen from Aon’s Health Transformation team, who offered insight into the marketplace and presented a list of vendors.

    Together, they selected Spring Health based on a history of success offering innovative solutions, reducing stigma, helping adolescents, and getting people the right care at the right time. They then developed a plan for Nuvance Health to review, with a commitment to monitoring progress over time to ensure goals are met.

    My Spring Health therapist has been very helpful at getting me to look at things from a different perspective. I have been struggling with a LOT of life stressors which has led me at times to feel entirely depleted, down, and almost immobilized. I feel that this is one of the pieces that was missing…
    Nuvance Health Employee

    The Solution

    Improving access and speed to care. Prior to Spring Health, Nuvance Health employees regularly faced long wait times to see a therapist. Today, their team members can meet with a Spring Health provider in an average of 1.2 days.

    Empower diverse populations. To best support Nuvance Health’s entire employee population, regular and consistent efforts are made to:

    • Identify hidden strengths: Through thoughtful consideration and discussion of each individual’s talents and unique abilities, Nuvance Health helps employees maximize their strengths. For example, some neurodivergent people thrive on last-minute tasks, while others flourish when they have more time and space.
    • Normalize accommodations: Nuvance Health has set up efficient and accessible systems to make supportive accommodations, whether that’s allowing employees to work remotely, or take leaves.
    • Create an environment of acceptance: It has become core to Nuvance Health’s culture of inclusivity to show employees they are supported and appreciated. They leave it up to each individual to disclose their neurodivergence or not, are mindful of how people like to be celebrated (whether one-on-one or more publicly), and allow employees to do whatever they need to get their best work done.
    • Set up ERGs: To help increase awareness of accommodations and participation in mental health programs, Nuvance Health nominates people to be ambassadors of mental health within the organization.
    I am experiencing a lot of anxiety and guilt over problems my 26 y/o daughter is having. It has really affected me and has permeated all aspects of my life. Using the Spring Health benefit has been so helpful for me. I feel like I’m getting my life back and handling the situation better.
    Nuvance Health Employee

    Comprehensive care. Spring Health offers full-spectrum support for members, including:

    • Assessments
    • Care plans
    • Dedicated Care Navigators
    • Therapy
    • Medication management
    • Coaching with 35 different specialties
    • Self-guided digital CBT exercises
    • Substance use disorder programs
    • 24/7 crisis support

    Access to family and teen care. Mental health affects the whole family, which is why Nuvance Health extends care benefits to dependents as well. This includes therapy for children and teens, parent coaching, and family and couples therapy.

    Reducing mental health stigma. By normalizing talking about mental health at work, Nuvance Health now has a culture where people feel supported and safe to speak openly about their challenges, neurodivergence, and accommodations.

    Easy and inclusive access. Employees and their families can access Spring Health through their computers or a mobile app in more than 24 different languages. Since most of Nuvance Health’s workforce is on the floor, it’s easiest for them to use their phones to complete assessments through the app or access self-guided resources on the go.

    Improved provider-fit. Data-driven provider matching technologies and dedicated Care Navigators (licensed, master’s level clinicians who offer guidance and personalized support) help ensure each member and their families find the right fit. “We’ve had great results with the providers,” says Jaclyn. “Whether it be Care Navigators, the therapists themselves, or providers providing medication management and coaching, the scores speak for themselves.”

    Provider diversity. Not only do 47% of Spring Health providers identify as BIPOC (3x the national average) and speak over 100 languages, but Spring Health’s network has a wide variety of specialty areas, including neurodiversity, substance abuse, parenting, anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and relationships.

    Member engagement. To increase program participation, Spring Health customizes communications in a way that resonates with Nuvance Health’s team members. “We have tripled our engagement in the past 12 months,” shares Jaclyn. Internal communications include email and intranet content, monthly webinars, Wellsprings, content within the portal, home mailers, and more.

    Spring Health strives to make this communication as simple as possible for Nuvance Health. “What I love about Spring Health is they create all of that for us,” Jaclyn says. “They do all that legwork, and then we help disseminate.”

    Self-guided exercises. Spring Health’s app includes a library of more than 150 self-guided exercises called Moments, which lets members support their mental wellness on-demand. These clinically-validated exercises based in cognitive behavioral therapy offer in-themoment relief, along with skill-building for long-term mental wellness, including specific exercises for neurodivergent members.

    Accommodations. Nuvance Health efficiently manages its employee accommodation requests in one precise process, so requests can be reviewed fairly and equally. To ensure privacy, a third-party vendor processes these requests from a group inbox before they are reviewed between employees, vendors, and managers.

    Results with a proven solution. Spring Health’s clinically-validated Precision Mental Healthcare technology pinpoints and delivers exactly what will work for each person. Access to data and reporting allows Nuvance Health to clearly measure and report on the ROI of their mental health benefits.

    The Results

    Within their first year with Spring Health, Nuvance Health has already experienced the following results.

    Faster access to care

    The median time between assessment completion and scheduling the first appointment of any kind is just 11 minutes

    Nuvance Health members wait an average of 1.2 days for the next available therapy appointment (versus the national average of 48 days)

    Increased engagement

    • 30% – increase in engagement in their first year with Spring Health
    • 14.8% of employees have enrolled
    • 4% of dependents have enrolled, of which 40% are 17 and younger
    • 72% of enrolled members have completed the assessment
    • 49% of enrolled members are actively engaged in care
    • 40% of members who identified with a SUD issue in their assessment enrolled in SUD care
    • 65% of members with elevated substance use disorder (SUD) risk started care with Spring Health compared to the 6% U.S. benchmark

    High provider ratings

    Nuvance Health employees gave their care team the following ratings:

    • 9.1/10 Providers
    • 9.8/10 Coaches
    • 10/10 Care Navigators

    Improved mental health

    In an average of three therapy sessions:

    • 84% of members improved depression symptoms
    • 84% of members improved anxiety symptoms
    • 76% of members improved their overall functionality
    • 100% of members reporting suicidal risk are offered immediate options to connect with clinicians who are available 24/7/365

    In just over a year, Nuvance Health’s engagement and overall employee well-being has increased significantly. There has also been a drastic improvement in mental health conditions and lower mental health stigma.

    In just over a year, Nuvance Health’s engagement and overall employee well-being has increased significantly. There has also been a drastic improvement in mental health conditions and lower mental health stigma.
    Nuvance Health Employee

    About Nuvance Health

    Spring Health Launch Date: January 2023
    Company Size: ~14,000
    Clinical results for enrolled colleagues: January to December 2023
    Industry: Healthcare

    About the Author
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    Spring Health is a comprehensive mental health solution for employers and health plans. Unlike any other solution, we use clinically validated technology called Precision Mental Healthcare to pinpoint and deliver exactly what will work for each person—whether that’s meditation, coaching, therapy, medication, and beyond. Today, Spring Health supports over 4,500 organizations, from startups to multinational Fortune 500 corporations, and is a preferred mental health provider to companies like General Mills, Bain, and DocuSign.

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