Case Study | Wellstar

How Wellstar Is Providing Personalized Care to Support Employee Mental Health

Discover How Wellstar Prioritizes Employee Mental Health with Spring Health

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Spring Health

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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
    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 Michelle Harris, Manager of Work Life Services at Wellstar. It showed her team their current solution wasn’t working, and they needed something different. 

    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.

    The Approach

    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?

    And Wellstar knew they’d found their solution. 

    Personalized care that meets your employees’ needs

    Spring Health was the clear choice for Wellstar because of the personalized care it provides.

    Each enrolled employee starts with a short, clinically-validated assessment that screens for over 12 different clinical issues, and generates a personalized care plan. This ensures employees receive the care they actually need.

    The plan can include therapy, coaching, medication management, Moments—a digital library of on-demand CBT exercises—or a combination. If therapy or coaching is part of that plan, they can schedule their first appointment in less than two days. 

    Each enrolled employee also has access to a dedicated Care Navigator, who is a 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.

    Onsite care navigators to support every step

    Wellstar has Care Navigators on site, and they play an integral role in helping employees 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,” says Sarah Elliott, Manager of Employee Wellness at Wellstar.

    “Knowing that [our employees have] this one resource to go to no matter what—that’s the culture we’ve created. You always have someone there,” adds Elliott.

    The Results

    Ten months after implementing Spring Health, utilization is at 14%—a 600% increase over Wellstar’s 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. 

    Providing meaningful mental health benefits is a competitive advantage

    Creating a culture where employees can access resources and have conversations about mental health challenges reduces the stigma around asking for help. 

    By being proactive and offering a customized, comprehensive mental health solution, you can expect to see increased utilization, cost savings, reduced turnover rates, and an overall more productive workplace.

    “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,” concludes Ferrell.

    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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