Number of Employees
Pitney Bowes Integrates Disability and Services Data — and Saves Money
Ms. Miller summarizes here the presentation made by John J. Mahoney, M.D., Corporate Medical Director of Pitney Bowes, during the Comprehensive NeuroSciences’ Employer Summit III, which was held on September 21, 2003, in Wesley Chapel, Florida.
Pitney Bowes’ disability management program — which integrates behavioral and physical health, wellness, and disability activities — was highlighted as a “model that works” at the Employer Summit III held last fall in Florida. Pitney Bowes’ experience boasts reductions in the number of disability cases and lost workdays and the duration of disabilities — resulting in significant savings in 2003. The program is credited with keeping approximately 200 employees at work on any given day.
The goal of the company’s disability management program is to build a healthy, engaged, and productive workforce by:
Educating employees about wellness, prevention, and disease management and emphasizing the importance of personal responsibility in health. Financial incentives are given to employees for taking care of their health.
Creating a corporate culture that places employees and services at its center by providing programs such as benefit plans; instituting management practices such as flex-time and part-time work; and offering employee resources such as EAP, Work/ Life, safety, and an ombudsman.
Developing a work environment that offers on-site medical facilities and fitness centers, ergonomic workspaces, nonsmoking work sites, healthy food options in the cafeteria, lactation rooms, and stretch breaks in factories and offices.
Integrating the Data
The company’s disability management program began in 1993. Pitney Bowes now has a database that integrates healthcare claims (medical, behavioral health, and pharmaceutical) Workers’ Compensation, EAP services, disability, human resource demographic and salary information, clinic utilization, and information from disease management vendors.
Having these data elements in one integrated system allows the Disability Management Program to identify issues that then drive wellness and disease/condition management intervention strategies designed to improve employee health and manage disability.
The company also integrated data from services delivered through the onsite medical clinics, EAPs, wellness program, e-health initiative, chronic disease case management, in-house Disability Assistance Unit, and Environmental Health and Safety Department.
Behavioral Health Disability Management
Pitney Bowes recognizes the often-complex nature of mental disorders and their growing role in short- and long-term disability and Family Medical Leave Act absences. The company’s behavioral health disability management program engages mental health professionals who are return-to-work oriented and who agree to collaborate with the health plan’s case manager. The managed behavioral health carve-out company performs case management, exercises delegated design flexibility, and handles first-level appeals and return-to-work monitoring.
Of note: final disposition of a case remains internal under the control of Pitney Bowes rather than being at the discretion of the external vendors.
A Snapshot of Pitney’s Behavioral Health Benefits
No limits on in-network outpatient visits.
No limits on in-network inpatient admits/days.
Same design/financial arrangements for PPO and HMO health plans.
EAP benefits include eight visits per problem per year; unlimited telephonic sessions.
The process by which the behavioral health disability cases are handled includes the following features:
- Initial evaluation within 48 hours of claim receipt by a network of specially trained and credentialed assessors (M.D.s and Ph.D.s).
A focus on functional limitations and treatment needs rather than strictly diagnosis.
Authorization, where appropriate, for out-ofplan treatment for recovery and return-to-work.
The program complies with the full range of confidentiality requirements.
Part of Pitney Bowes’ success is based on its ability to quantify cost savings and reduce workdays to real numbers.
Results to date for the behavioral health disability management program include the following:
Approved disability cases were reduced by 25%. (The employee continues to receive treatment through the EAP or the behavioral health plan as appropriate.)
The duration of disability cases decreased by 66%.
Lost workdays were reduced by 19% — approximately 1,000 lost workdays were avoided due to behavioral health reasons alone.
Pitney Bowes implemented parity of mental health benefits in the early 1990s — well before the limited, but historic, 1996 parity law. When asked why parity of benefits was instituted, Dr. Mahoney said, “It just made sense. We recognize that mental disorders are legitimate, valid illnesses that have to be treated appropriately.” He also said that Pitney Bowes encourages employees to use their mental health benefits and develops programs that work for their employee population.
About Pitney Bowes
Pitney Bowes is a $4.6 billion global leader in integrated mail and document management systems, services, and solutions.
Clare Miller serves as Director for the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Association.
Last Updated: October 2003