The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation launched a new business-to-business digital substance use disorder (SUD) service, expanding the traditionally facility-based organization’s digital services.
Titled “Workplace Solutions,” the product provides four main services for employers. Three of its services are digital content and tools; the other service is a “centers of excellence” value-based care bundle of services.
“The promise we’re trying to make is that we’ll treat the patients at the right level of care for the right length of time and reach better outcomes,” Bob Poznanovich, chief business growth officer, told BHB. “That provides a better cost valuation, that is able to support the entire family system, and [that] utilizes the entire ecosystem that was built by the employer.”
Center City, Minnesota-based nonprofit Hazelden Betty Ford operates facilities in eight states and offers telehealth and other virtual services nationwide. In 2022, the nonprofit organization generated $213 million in revenue and a $19.4 million loss in 2022, according to a financial report.
Here’s a rundown of the new services offered by Hazelden Betty Ford:
— An anonymous “Wellbeing Portal:” The portal allows those who have questions about addiction and treatment for themselves or others to complete an assessment that generates recommendations for next steps and gives access to some services.
— A self-paced SUD education and risk-reduction tool called “Breaking Free:” This service helps people de-escalate their behavior and can act as an early intervention and prevention resource.
— Licensed or customized “Workplace Solutions” multimedia content: An Educational content library provides “evidence-based and holistic resources” for a range of needs, from prevention to recovery.
— The “centers of excellence:” A dedicated Hazelden Betty Ford supports a customized package of services, including care navigation to Hazelden resources and other resources offered by the employer.
Hazelden Betty Ford is working with employers, unions, insurers, or their services divisions to become a value-add for other employer services, Poznanovich said.
“We’re working with [organizations] like Cigna, Optum, Magellan Health, [Carelon] and the like,” Poznanovich said. “[These services] extend the continuum of care longer so we can improve outcomes … We’ve been bundling our center of excellence deals with our 12-month continuing care program, so employees are getting care beyond that episode of care.”
Those continuing services include weekly check-ins with peers and counselors.
Hazelden myth busting workplace addiction
Hazelden Betty Ford has a decades-long track record of working with employers, Poznanovich said. Founded in 1949, the organization advertised early on to employers that it would help their employees with addiction, specifically alcoholism. Hazelden has pushed the concept of addressing addiction in the workplace nationally since at least 2003 under the tagline “Making recovery America’s business.”
The organization has done so, in part, to break the stigma around addiction and correct the misconception that addiction is a condition of the lower-class, unemployed or homeless.
One study found that 70% of those with SUD in 2018 were employed. The employment rate is slightly higher than the average for those with alcohol use disorder (AUD) at about 74%. Those addicted to illicit drugs had an employment rate of about 62%.
“A lot of employers have not recognized the problem, but now they’re seeing the problem and they’re looking for solutions,” Poznanovich said. “I think it (the new workplace services) is an evolution of what we’ve been working with forever.”
Workplace policies involving the coronavirus played a role in the timing of these offerings. Poznanovich echoed some familiar lessons learned from the most acute phases of the pandemic about addiction in the workplace.
Following some of the earliest lockdown measures in March 2020, work-from-home measures or workplace shutdowns prompted many to work from home — if they had a job that allowed that work.
Housemates may have observed their cohabitant’s consumption patterns firsthand when they worked from home, which could have prompted intervention. Similarly, employers could see employees’ health decline as they returned to work sites.
Previously, Poznanovich told BHB he would expect increased care volume at addiction treatment organizations due to the pandemic and workplace policies. This could also result in patients with higher levels of acuity.