COPE CopeLine Supervisor

July 2014

A newsletter for supervisors and line managers.

Under what circumstances will the EAP release employee information to HR?

Confidentiality is the cornerstone on which any viable employee assistance program is built. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule mandates confidentiality as it relates to an individual's Personal Health Information (PHI). PHI includes behavioral health. Only in the most extreme cases--when the employee threatens to harm him or herself and/or others--is the EAP professional permitted to break confidentiality.

In instances where the manager is dealing with an employee whose job may be in jeopardy because of a performance, conduct and/or time and attendance issue there is the option of a formal referral. A formal referral form must be completed and signed by the supervisor and employee--frequently in coordination with human resources--before the EAP counselor can confirm if the employee has contacted the EAP and met with a counselor. Anything more requires a signed Release of Information form by the employee, before any information about a COPE client can be released.

There are four circumstances under which Federal and local laws require and EAP to release information without the employee's authorization. They are:

  • Any verbal threat to harm another person or destroy property
  • If someone has threatened to physically harm themselves or others;
  • If there is reason to suspect that a child or vulnerable person is being abused;
  • If disclosure is compelled by order of a court of law;
  • If there is a clear and imminent danger to the safety of the community, workplace or nation.
If you would like to know more about the formal referral process, contact your EAP professional.

What's the evidence to support "Mindfulness" programs?

Consider the number of distractions and diversions that interrupt your work and the employees you supervise: childcare issues, money worries, conflicts with a co-worker to mention just a few. Just plain day-dreaming can delay or derail a workday. According to Dr. Amit Sood of the Mayo Clinic, the human mind wanders for half to two-thirds of the day! If that seems hard to believe, ask yourself how many times each day do you check your phone for news, text messages...or just check for the sake of checking?

But now corporations around the country, from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, are introducing programs designed to emphasize the importance of staying in the present moment--or Mindfulness--and the results are impressive. Study after study (read this General Mills, AETNA Insurance. They report that Mindfulness teaches employees to slow down and focus on immediate tasks; to gather information with which to plan instead of react; and to be confident about what we can do, not what we fail to do.

If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of a Mindfulness program, contact an EAP professional.

Cope Incorporated