EAP ACCREDItATION TEAM: From left, Allison Lilly, LICSW; Lisa Staffiere, LICSW; Stidsen; Henri Menco, LICSW
The Partners Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a voluntary and confidential service available to all MGH and Partners HealthCare employees and their immediate household members, recently received a four-year reaccreditation honor from the Council on Accreditation (COA). The COA is an international, independent, not-for-profit, child and family service and behavioral health care organization whose accreditation standards improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying and promoting high standards. Andrea Stidsen, director of the EAP, explains what the reaccreditation means for the MGH.
Q. How did you attain accreditation?
A. We had to apply for it. Then we submitted documents demonstrating that Partners meets nearly 400 specific employee assistance standards. This was followed by a site visit. If a person comes for assistance, whether it is here at the MGH or in another Partners affiliate, the accreditation ensures that service will be high quality and consistent across all practices.
Q. Is it difficult to receive accreditation from the COA?
A. It is a rigorous process and a very difficult accreditation to attain – not many EAPs in the U.S. have it. The COA reviews everything – our clinical process, intake process, what we do with clients, as well as safety, management, financial and organizational issues.
Q. Why is the EAP an important service to Partners?
A. Employers have figured out that, if you want to provide quality health care, you need to make sure your employees are functioning well and operating at their best. You want to be able to assist employees when they need it – that’s the basis of the EAP. It is for any type of problem; it could be for issues related to family, financial, work-related or personal stress.
Q. What can people expect when they go to the EAP for help?
A. First, we try to help people identify why they are stressed, what is the root of that stress, and what would be a good path to follow to resolve it. We provide some short-term counseling, if we think that is going to help the person, or we will refer the person to a more appropriate kind of service, or care or resource that will be right for that individual.
Q. What other services does the EAP offer?
A. Our program offers more than individual services. The other major component of the EAP is workplace consultation. For example, if a manager is worried about an employee, their behavior or work performance, we can help the manager look at options to help that employee. One of the foundations of the EAP is confidentiality. The EAP is a safe place where a person can come and talk about whatever it is that may be troubling them. Another EAP service is education and outreach. We offer work/life seminars on a regular basis to the hospital community. We also offer programs for departments including seminars about stress reduction, substance abuse and coping with change. If we can help people get back on their feet and get the resources they need, then we have helped the organization. We are honored to be here and help those who work here.
For more information about the EAP, call 617-726-6976 or visit www.eap.partners.org. The MGH EAP office is located at 175 Cambridge St., Suite 320.
Read more articles from the 02/07/14 Hotline issue.