Business is Booming
CareNet Grows Mental Health Services Offered To Companies in BestHealth for Business Department
The Piedmont Triad region focus on growing its role with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s BestHealth for Business department is taking root in a variety of ways—all of which are aimed at bringing companies and individual employees behavioral health services.
Several companies now contract with BestHealth for Business to provide wellness care for their employees. In turn, BestHealth for Business has chosen CareNet to be its behavioral health provider on the contracts it establishes with companies, non-profits and government agencies.
Thus, several Piedmont Triad therapists are also serving as BestHealth for Business “behavioral health consultants,” able to offer individual assessments, programs to groups of employees and referrals as necessary to traditional therapists.
In addition, these therapists have offered and continue to find new audiences for presentations on burnout and wellness to groups that have included the North Carolina City and County Management Association, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s Nurse Anesthesia Program, Forsyth County Bus Drivers and the Winston-Salem Society for Human Resources Management.
No one has worked longer with this model than Will Eads, a North Carolina Fee-Based Practicing Pastoral Counselor who is the only CareNet provider currently working full time in the role, with Flow Automotive and Forsyth County Government as his two contracts.
“I love what I do,” Eads says. “In terms of providing behavioral health services, I think this is just a better way of caring for people. It’s further upstream. We’re trying to keep people out of counseling, and the people we see are working, functioning, going and doing; you’re bringing CareNet to them.”
CareNet’s involvement with BestHealth for Business has several goals, says Leah Creel, the organization’s Integrated Care Coordinator who oversees the contracted work.
“Part of what I’ve been working on with the BestHealth for Business team is communicating how the services CareNet offers on these contracts is different than what we are doing in our traditional outpatient settings,” she says. “We are helping everyone understand that we are providing more integrated services in these settings. Instead of ‘counseling’ or ‘psychotherapy,’ we are providing behavioral consults (such as assessments, brief interventions, resourcing) and collaborating with BestHealth for Business clinical staff (nurses, PAs/NPs, health coaches) to ensure that employees are receiving the health care they need while at work.”
Behavioral health consultants are paid contracted hours at what Creel says is a similar, if not higher, rate than what is typically earned in traditional therapy. In addition to Eads, two Piedmont Triad clinicians serve part time as BestHealth for Business behavioral health consultants.
Samantha Fields, an LCMHC, works two days a week in her new role for two contracts, one with Arbor Acres, a retirement community in Winston-Salem (she works with employees, not retirees), and one with the Town of Kernersville.
“You really jump right in and meet people where they are at that moment,” Fields says. “So far, I’m loving it. This is a wonderful opportunity to support integrated care efforts and also provides the variety I was seeking for offering therapy services.”
Fields had previously done something similar, working with staff at Cook Elementary School in Winston-Salem, but that was all online. In her current role, she meets with people who sign up to see her for 30-minute sessions on site and also has a day designated for virtual hours with the Town of Kernersville.
Because it is contracted work with BestHealth for Business, there is less paper work and planning, which Fields considers a positive aspect of this different approach to therapy.
Elizabeth Brooks, an LCMHCA, recently took over a contract with Ralph Lauren to provide services at the clothing company’s High Point and Kernersville mixed-use facilities. She said she volunteered for the role.
“I was interested in having integrative experience alongside my work doing traditional psychotherapy,” she says. “It’s a new environment. I really want to get out on the floor, get to know people.”
Brooks says she’s also excited for the chance not just to provide consultations, but to work with Ralph Lauren’s Diversity and Inclusion committees.
“We’ll be doing lunch and learns, webinars and special groups on topics such as stress coping, conflict resolution and anger management,” she says.
Brooks also praised Ralph Lauren and other businesses committed to its employees and their mental health.
“It’s so cool that any of these businesses do this,” she says. “It’s just a wonderful initiative.”
Creel says she the engagement with BestHealth for Business, now well entrenched with CareNet’s integrated care effort, should continue to expand.
“My hope is that we can have more conversations about different services CareNet can offer, not just individual consultations,” she says. “How do we train (company) managers to recognize behavioral health issues and what can the employer do to support the behavioral health of its employees? Can we offer lunch and learns, could someone talk about the impact of violence?
“We do a lot of work through resiliency training and sensorimotor psychotherapy so we hope to do more training of our people and that they want to take on these roles.”