Impact of Bipolar Disorder on Employers: Rationale for Workplace Interventions
Leslie B. Montejano
Ron Z. Goetzel
Ronald J. Ozminkowski
Among the typical employer's workforce, there are employees with various physical and psychological conditions that may affect their healthcare costs and productivity. One such condition, bipolar disorder, is especially costly. Despite many available treatments, a large portion of bipolar disorder-related costs are not related to direct healthcare expenditures, but rather are indirect expenditures related to lost productivity. Thus, ensuring that employees who exhibit symptoms of bipolar disorder receive a timely and correct diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment may prove cost effective. To accomplish this, employer-sponsored health plans should have adequate resources to provide treatment to employees and dependents with bipolar disorder and use evidence-based guidelines to treat the disorder. Increasing awareness of bipolar disorder through education and training in the workplace or the establishment of employee assistance programs may help link those with the disorder to treatment. The provision of reasonable workplace accommodations to employees with bipolar disorder may increase productivity, resulting in additional savings. The coordination of all health plan programs and related services provided to employees is an important consideration. By becoming knowledgeable about bipolar disorder and its treatments, employers can better work with insurers, health management vendors, and intermediary organizations to provide worksite and health plan programs to assist their affected employees.
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