Addressing mental health problems among chronic illness sufferers can potentially save employers money and employees' lives. EBN recently covered a high-risk medical intervention program by United Behavioral Health that selects plan members with a chronic illness and signs of comorbid depression, anxiety, substance abuse or psychosocial stress. Nurses reach out to this population by phone and guide them into the appropriate treatment plan. Four large employers offering the program showed a 7% savings on overall medical costs.

In addition to health care savings, such programs perhaps can offer compassion and relief to patients like Danny Vredenburg, a Nevada man who committed suicide after dealing with unrelenting back pain due to a fall at work. (Nevada´s supreme court ruled this week that Vredenburg´s wife could receive death benefits, as his death was related to a work injury.)

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