Case Study | Wellstar

Wellstar + Spring Health Achieve Giant Leaps in Program Engagement and Savings

Discover how Wellstar is achieving 6x utilization and saving $4.30 for every $1 invested

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    “We call healthcare workers superheros all the time, and knowing what they do everyday it’s absolutely true. But they are not immune to having these issues with mental and emotional health.” 
    Penny Ferrell, Executive Director of Employee Wellness & Work-Life Services, Wellstar

    The challenge

    Wellstar Health System is one of the largest and most integrated healthcare systems in Georgia, and supporting the mental health of their frontline workers has always been a top priority. 

    So in 2020, when the leadership team began to see a decline in the usage of their mental health program, they knew it was time for a change. 

    “That’s not something you would expect to see when you’re in the height of a pandemic,” says Michele Harris, Manager of Work Life Services at Wellstar.

    Wellstar had been with their previous EAP provider for 15 years, but their employees weren’t utilizing those services.

    “With our old, historic, traditional EAP model, we were at about a 2% utilization rate. When we started looking at other solutions and saw something like Spring Health, we [realized] there was the opportunity to have engagement,” says Penny Ferrell, Executive Director of Employee Wellness and Work Life Services at Wellstar.

    This discovery isn’t unique to Wellstar. In a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. employees, 56% said their employer-sponsored health and wellbeing programs are irrelevant to their needs. Additionally, 80% confirmed that more personalized programming would inspire them to increase benefit use.

    Why Spring Health

    As Wellstar discovered firsthand, employees often underutilize traditional EAPs while overutilizing other types of costly behavioral health benefits.

    So, the team began searching for a new solution, and met with a number of companies that showed them how their product worked. But when they met with Spring Health, they were asked:

    • What can we do to make our product work for you? 
    • How can we customize it? 
    • How can we make it a solution that works for your team members?

    Spring Health was the clear choice for Wellstar because of the personalized care it provides. “We realized that Spring Health’s mental health platform would be a game changer for employees,” says Ferrell. 

    The approach

    Wellstar’s mission is to enhance the overall wellbeing of employees. By partnering with Spring Health, they’re taking care of their team members first, so they can be at their best. 

    Precision Mental Healthcare

    When Wellstar employees and their dependents enroll in Spring Health, they

    become a member. Spring Health uses data to guide each member to the right care at the right time. This starts with our clinically validated digital assessment that screens for over 12 conditions, and generates a personalized care plan. 

    The plan can include therapy, coaching, medication management, Moments—a digital library of on-demand CBT exercises—or a combination.

    Dedicated human guidance

    Each member has access to a dedicated Care Navigator, who is a master’s-level licensed clinician, and guides their mental health journey. Employees who work with a Care Navigator are eight times more likely to see a therapist, and stay with that same provider.

    Wellstar has Care Navigators on site, and they play an integral role in reaching their 24,000 employees and their dependents who are struggling with mental health, but aren’t sure where to start. 

    “The most significant thing that Spring Health brings to the table is their onsite Care Navigators. We’ve been able to partner with them and truly weave them into our everyday fabric here at the facility level. They’re more than a partner. They’re a team member.”
    Sarah Elliott, Manager of Employee Wellness, Wellstar

    Fast access to quality care

    With Spring Health, Wellstar employees and their family members of all ages are getting the personalized support they need in less than two days. In just a few clicks, employees can schedule and manage therapy for themselves, and on behalf of their kids and teens. 

    Our provider network is built to support the diverse needs of Wellstar’s population. If a member’s plan includes care with a provider, such as therapy, medication management, or coaching, they can select a provider based on their specialty, pronouns, gender, and availability.

    On-demand digital resources

    Moments is our on-demand, digital library of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques and evidence-based exercises. Every member has access, and these exercises are designed to provide immediate relief for a wide range of conditions and common stressors, including burnout, sleep, anxiety, and parenting. 

    Specific content recommendations are made based on the member’s goals and assessment results, and Providers and Care Navigators may also recommend Moments as a supplement to other care.

    The results

    Immediate access to personalized, quality care eliminates barriers to mental healthcare and drives positive clinical outcomes. Wellstar is seeing the greatest impact in four key areas.

    Return on investment

    In the first year of implementation, Wellstar saved $4.30 for every $1 invested in Spring Health’s mental health program. Half of their savings came from reductions in health plan costs, and the other half from improvements in productivity and employee turnover. 

    Detailed analysis on Wellstar’s own claims data revealed health plan savings extending well beyond mental health as members utilizing Spring Health also benefited from significant improvements to physical health conditions.

    By providing high-quality mental healthcare with Spring Health, Wellstar also saw savings across the continuum of care for all levels of medical risk, including reduced emergency room and hospital admissions.

    Spring Health’s impact is evident. The positive ROI results speak for themselves, but what really impressed us was the effect Spring Health’s program had beyond mental health—chronic conditions from diabetes to kidney disease, costly emergency room visits and hospital stays, they all saw improvements,” Penny says.

    “We wouldn’t have believed it if it weren’t for the data. Today, our employees and their families are healthier and our business is stronger.”


    Within 10 months of switching to Spring Health, Wellstar’s utilization jumped from 2% to 16%—a 600% increase over their previous EAP. 

    Employees are going to therapy with Spring Health providers approximately 4.8 times more than other providers, so their behavioral health claims have gone down. Additionally, onsite Care Navigators are reaching the 70% of Wellstar employees who aren’t desk workers. 


    The national average wait time for a new therapy appointment is 25 days. With Spring Health, Wellstar employees can schedule an appointment and see a provider in less than two days, for themselves and dependents of all ages. 

    Clinical improvements

    World-class clinical trials typically result in 47% of participants improving their symptoms, in an average of 12 appointments.

    Last year, 79% of their members have improved their depression symptoms in an average of three therapy sessions, 74% have improved their anxiety in an average of three therapy sessions, and 47% are showing improvement overall.

    Additionally, 80% of members who screened positive for suicidal ideation and intent have had at least one therapy appointment.

    “I have to take care of those frontline team members. That piece is hugely important to me. Are we providing things they need? Are we providing the resources that help their life? They have a hard job, and if I can do one thing to help their world be a little bit better from an emotional and mental standpoint, then I feel good when I go home at the end of the day.”
    Penny Ferrell, Executive Director of Employee Wellness & Work-Life Services, Wellstar
    About the Author
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    Spring Health

    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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