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Help to get employers to cover depression treatments

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Old 08-17-2004, 03:00 PM   #1
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claudeintexas HB User
Thumbs up Help to get employers to cover depression treatments

If you are suffering from depression, you may benefit from the news release I’ve pasted below. Or if you know someone with depression, you could pass it on to him or her. It gives information about a free internet based “depression calculator” that employers can use to calculate the costs and benefits of treating depression among their employees both with medications and counseling. I would think it would be of interest to human resources departments at companies, as it presents a pretty persuasive argument for treatment that might result in more employees with depression being treated. Good luck!


Workers May Benefit from Free New “Depression Calculator” that Computes Financial Benefits to Employers of Treating Depression

Washington, D.C. – Workers suffering from depression may benefit from a new free internet-based “Depression Calculator” that shows employers the benefits of treating employees both with medications and counseling.

According to National Institute of Mental Health statistics, approximately 18.8 million adults, or about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year have a depressive disorder.

The new calculator, which gives employers the whole picture on the economics of bringing patients with depression into needed medical care, is available at or

The calculator was developed by The HSM Group, Ltd., a health care consulting firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona, with support from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Employees suffering from depression are affected, on average, about 30 to 50 workdays per year by absenteeism or low productivity, and they sustain average annual medical costs that are $2,000 to $3,000 higher than those of other employees. The combination of missed days, lower productivity when on the job, and other associated issues costs the U.S. economy approximately $80 billion annually. Yet a high percentage of those with depression do not receive treatment.

“Employers and employees both come out ahead when employees with depression receive the right medical treatment, with both counseling and medicines. Employers see improved work productivity and decreased absenteeism,” said Alan F. Holmer, President and CEO, PhRMA.

The calculator estimates the incidence of depression and its impact on a company’s work force, based on the company’s size, type of industry, location, and the age/gender breakdown of employees. It computes the expected number of days each year employees will be absent or suffer low productivity due to their depression and calculates the associated costs to a business. Finally, it projects the net savings the company can expect, after accounting for the cost of treatment, if employees obtain treatment. An employer can change the key assumptions so that the calculation best reflects the characteristics of that particular work force.

“This calculator integrates extensive research findings from peer-reviewed literature and turns them into useable results for employers. It’s an important research-based management tool that lets employers and others see the whole picture on the economics of bringing patients with depression into needed medical care,” said Sheryl Bronkesh, president of The HSM Group, Ltd.

Even a small company can experience significant costs from depression. A company with 500 employees, for example, can expect about 25 employees to be suffering from depression at some time during a 12-month period. This amounts to 750 to 1,250 days lost each year to absenteeism and low productivity.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. The industry invested an estimated $32 billion in 2002 in discovering and developing new medicines. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures.

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