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Employer-Sponsored Depression Screening Seen as Saving

(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - MedPage Today Action Points

o Explain to patients who ask that this study using a computer model suggests that an employer-based program that includes a one-time depression screening coupled with telephone counseling and other services can benefit both employees and the companies they work for.

BETHESDA, Md., Dec. 4 -- Employers including depression screening with care management as a benefit could help improve workers' lives and the company's bottom line, researchers have concluded.

By screening all employees once and then providing depression management services for those who need it, employers could save about ,000 for every 1,000 workers over five years, reported Philip S. Wang, M.D., Dr.P.H., of the National Institute of Mental Health and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues.

Although the cost savings, which amount to per worker over five years, might be considered minor from the employer's perspective, such a view overlooks other benefits of such a program, the investigators wrote in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"Analyses from just the employer's perspective miss important improvements beyond increased productivity and job retention, such as positive effects on non-labor outcomes of workers (e.g., diminished suffering, increased marital stability, and decreased needs for caregiver time) and employees' contributions outside the workplace," they wrote.

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