Disability Management

Helping Disability Case Managers Support Claimants

By: Starling Minds

Published | Feb 21, 2020

Disability Claims

Case managers have it hard. 

Their job is to provide claimants with the right treatment plan and under budget. But it’s hard to do so with budgets getting cut, which means it’s up to them to do more with less. 

Under EAPs/EFAPs, there’s often generous coverage for physical injuries but when it comes to mental health, extended benefits cap at $500 – $900 per employee. 

Wait times are also a problem. 

It’s taking up to 6 weeks for claimants to see a mental health provider, often allowing their mental health to decline or delay their recovery. 

It’s also hard for disability case managers to stay in touch with claimants, especially those who don’t agree with their treatment plan. Without knowing if claimants are working through their treatment plan, it’s hard for disability managers to know how far they’ve progressed through their off-leave programs or how to help. 

For organizations, the biggest problem is when a claimant moves from short-term to long-term disability, with an average absence of 34.6 months and costs up to $3,537 annually per employee

There’s a lot of early intervention and return to work programs out there. Here’s how digital platforms like Starling Minds help disability management teams remove critical barriers to support claimants and their mental health. This will lead to lower disability costs, absenteeism, and long-term disability claims. 

Immediate Access to Treatment 

Wait times to access care is a big problem, mainly due to the shortage of trained mental health professionals. For case managers, it’s a hard reality to face when you want to give claimants access to help when they need it most: immediately. 

“Our disability case managers wanted something to easily refer claimants to while they wait for their claim to be processed. They go into disability management to help people, so to not be able to do that when claimants need it, is difficult for them. When it comes to mental health claims especially, it is frequently denied. Thanks to Starling, our disability managers have a great tool for claimants to use from day one or if their disability claim is rejected for whatever reason.” Disability Management Leader, Healthcare Authority

With long wait times comes worse-off mental health diagnosis. Starling’s digital platform does not restrict employees from mental health treatment or paperwork needed to onboard claimants. They would only need the registration link upon referral from their disability manager.

Results: For claimants using Starling, 73% access the digital platform 24 hours after being referred by their case managers. These results prove that claimants want immediate access to mental health support.

Competent, Private, and Confidential Support

It’s hard to stay in touch with claimants on leave. Some are either skeptical of their case managers or aren’t motivated to keep in touch. Many claimants are worried that anything they say while on leave may make it back to their employer. This often leads to more work for case managers to figure out how to support their claimants, keep them on their treatment plan (treatment adherence), and build trust with them. 

Research has shown that a trusting relationship between the claimant and their healthcare team leads to better health decisions and outcomes and treatment adherence. However, building trust with claimants is tough. The key is for disability managers to offer competent suggestions in a caring way, while respecting the privacy of claimants. With Starling, case managers can build their literacy in mental health through workshops, and access an anonymous community to build their insight into common pain points facing claimants, and what tools and strategies have helped alleviate their symptoms.   

“It was hard to connect with claimants and gain their trust. With the workshops and weekly updates from Starling, which include anonymous comments from the claimants’ community, it has helped us gain insights into what claimants are struggling with, and which tools have helped others. We were able to take those learnings and have more meaningful dialogues and follow-ups with our claimants.” Disability Case Manager, Healthcare Authority

“It’s been eye-opening to use Starling and see other people going through the same thing as me in the community. I’ve been learning a lot of great tools to help me return to work with confidence. It’s great to work for an organization that offers something like Starling Minds.” Return-to-Health Program User

Results: For claimants using Starling, 76% feel more resilient halfway through Starling’s Return-to-Health program.

Continued Support after Returning to Work

One of the challenges case managers face is helping claimants return to work and sustain it. Most claimants have a real fear of returning to work. Some are afraid of what their colleagues or managers may think, while others worry that their work environment will eventually put them on disability again.

To overcome these fears, Starling offers personalized return-to-health plans for claimants based on their responses throughout the program, along with scripts on how to talk about their mental health with colleagues. The platform also provides access to Starling’s LIFE video library with additional resources to help them manage their symptoms.

“As part of their services, Starling offers unlimited access to their video library where claimants can go back to should they need additional support to manage their mental health. It’s great to know that there’s a wealth of resources that claimants can turn to when they feel their confidence dropping, whether it’s due to changes to their role or team dynamics.” – Disability Case Manager, Healthcare Authority

Results: For claimants using Starling, 83% felt more confident in returning to work, and 91% felt more resilient after completing the Starling program

Why Disability Case Managers Love Starling
  • Offers evidence-based services while employee waits for in-person treatment or cannot get access to mental healthcare at all
  • Provides disability case managers real insight into common pain points claimants experience and what has helped them
  • Improves disability case managers’ mental health literacy to support claimants and offer suggestions to help with treatment adherence
  • Access to continued support for employees after program completion to reduce the likelihood of disability relapse

“Starling Minds made our lives so much easier. Unlike other vendors we’ve worked with, their product is great, and their teams were the key to making our Return-to-Work program implementation a huge success for our people. Thank you, Starling!” Disability and Absence Management Leader

A Platform for Claimants

Starling Minds’ platform has programs to target claimants’ needs. Whether they are looking to build a more resilient mind, are at-work and struggling, or are currently on stress leave, Starling Minds is here.

Mental health support is no longer a question but a priority.

Reach out to us below to start improving the mental health of your claimants and employees now.

Starling Minds

Starling Minds™ is a digital mental health platform that reduces absence and disability costs by delivering immediate, unlimited, and personalized online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Developed by leading psychologists, Starling’s digital therapy is powered by an expert system that emulates the processes and practices of human-guided therapy to remove the greatest barriers preventing employees from accessing affordable and effective mental health care—cost, access, and stigma.

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