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Successful return-to-work planning for mental health disabilities depends on eight fundamentals, according to the combined resources of CIGNA Group Insurance and MCC Behavioral Care.
1. Focus on returning the employees to work at the level they were functioning before they became disabled.
2. Assess the employees’ life situation. Any treatment and return-to-work plan must address psychosocial factors as well as the illness.
3. Adjust workplace conditions and job requirements to assist disabled employees’ transition back to the workplace. CIGNA Group’s experience illustrates that most accommodations are simple and much less expensive than employers fear.
4. Concentrate on employees’ strengths/abilities rather than on a particular aspect of the illness.
5. Address those symptoms that are disabling rather dwelling on the overall illness.
6. Address both medical and behavioral components in case management.
7. Assure that the needs of both employer and employee are met in return-to-work programs.
8. Establish and promote employee assistance programs, which increase productivity and help employees address issues before they become serious enough to affect productivity and availability for work.