FAQs

More information about how Preferred EAP works for you.

What is Preferred EAP (Employee Assistance Program)?

Preferred EAP is a confidential counseling service sponsored by your employer. Preferred EAP offers employees and their families readily accessible, professional and high quality assistance - whenever they need it - for personal or work-related problems.

Why does my employer offer Preferred EAP?

Your employer is concerned about your well-being and recognizes that personal problems can affect health, well-being and work. Your employer established this service to help employees and their families deal with personal problems before they affect home or work life.

What is Preferred EAP’s Confidentiality Policy?

Preferred EAP operates from a base of confidentiality. Confidentiality is fundamental to the success of the counseling relationship; without it, employees and their family members would be reluctant to utilize our services. So, except in life threatening circumstances, no one – not employer or family – gets any information without your expressed consent.

How do I know if Preferred EAP can help with my problem?

If you are not sure whether professional assistance is necessary or appropriate for the difficulties you are experiencing, you can call and speak with a staff member of Preferred EAP before you make an appointment. You can use our Express Consult to so do. Remember that it is important to seek assistance early in the development of a problem. The sooner a challenge is addressed, the greater the likelihood for a positive outcome.

How does Preferred EAP work?

The initiative to use Preferred EAP comes from you. In most cases, there is nothing to lose and much to gain by calling us. If you have a problem, life challenge or concern, call us at 610-433-8550 or 800-EAP-8878.

When you call for an appointment our secretary will ask you several questions (for example, your name, workplace, address and phone number). She will also ask you to briefly describe your problem so that an appointment can be scheduled with an appropriate counselor. You will then be offered a variety of initial appointment times. Confidentiality is assured.

A trained counselor will spend time with you assessing your needs and providing brief counseling. If further counseling or other assistance is necessary, a referral may be made to an appropriate community resource or health services provider.

Why should I use Preferred EAP?

People come to us for a wide variety of problems. Almost anything that distresses you to the point where a bad day becomes a bad week is an appropriate reason to call.

Sometimes, a personal or work-related challenge is especially difficult to resolve. Or, life changes such as divorce, a death in the family or a career change affect us emotionally as well as physically. In other cases, an individual who is not quite sure or cannot specifically define "the problem" can benefit by seeing a trained counselor who will listen and help sort out the issues.

What are the costs?

Your employer has contracted with Preferred EAP to provide a limited number of counseling sessions at no cost to you. However, if you are referred to an outside agency or individual service provider, there is likely to be a fee for those services. Such fees may be partially covered by your medical insurance.

Will anyone know if I contact Preferred EAP?

No! Preferred EAP is a confidential service. No one will be told that you are receiving services. Although we keep records of the services provided to you, no information will be released to anyone without your consent.

What are the qualification of Preferred EAP's staff?

Counselors at Preferred EAP are licensed, Master's level professionals. All counseling staff have been practicing for at least 15 years.

What are the benefits of using Preferred EAP?

  • Satisfaction from confronting a problem and resolving it
  • Improved job performance
  • Improved life satisfaction
  • Improved quality of life

How do I know if an employee needs Preferred EAP?

Have you ever…

  • Been worried about one of your employees or had you own work interrupted by thoughts concerning an employee?
  • Thought that dealing with people makes your job harder?
  • Spent sleepless nights trying to find solutions to employee problems?

Or have you noticed an employee is not him or herself and…

  • Having more "bad days"?
  • Making more errors, or having more customer complaints or missed deadlines?
  • Being more distracted and less able to concentrate?
  • Having increased sick leave, tardiness or absenteeism?
  • Experiencing deteriorating work relationships?

If yes, then you have observed the changes in behavior that may indicate an employee troubled by personal problems. While many people will periodically display some of these behaviors, you should be concerned about such behaviors when they become chronic and obviously out-of-character for the employee in question.

If you are not sure whether or not Preferred EAP is an appropriate resource, use our Express Consult service before intervening.

Remember that small problems are easier to resolve than big ones. The sooner you call and act, the faster a positive outcome will be achieved.

Why should I get involved?

Your organization does not expect you to become involved in the private lives of employees. But employees with personal problems can have a tremendous impact on you, your work group and the organization. Therefore, you are expected to address personal issues that have an impact on workplace productivity, safety and morale.

As a supervisor or manager you will observe unusual actions, reactions or behaviors from employees who normally perform well. Being sensitive to these changes is important because you can offer guidance before job performance is affected.  Your organization understands that responding in a timely and appropriate manner is not easy. Dealing with a troubled employee can be one of your most difficult responsibilities.

Preferred EAP can help in this sensitive area of employee relations by providing support and offering practical guidance regarding intervention.

Don't be part of the problem. Be part of the solution.

What do I say? How do I say it?

Talking to an employee about performance problems or concerns for their well-being involves planning and preparation.

  • Review the Preferred EAP Supervisors Manual
  • Choose a private and comfortable setting, a place where you won't be distracted or overheard.
  • Focus on observed behaviors being specific and concise and using example of what you have seen or heard.
  • Be clear about what you expect in terms of improvement.
  • Use the "If.., Then…" message: "If there is something in your personal life contributing to the job performance problems. Then it may be a good idea to call Preferred EAP…" 

What can I expect from Preferred EAP if I call for consultation?

When you call us for consultation and coaching you can expect:

  • A patient, professional, confidential resource for assistance concerning troubled employees.
  • Practical guidance and support in approaching the employee.
  • Help with organizing your observations so you can present them clearly and concisely.
  • An opportunity to rehearse what you'll say and how you'll say it.

Remember that you need not be alone when dealing with troubled employees. Consulting with Preferred EAP…

  • Is an additional resource and a positive step!
  • Does not commit you to anything. The decision to approach an employee always remains your choice.
  • Is absolutely confidential 

What is an EAP?

An Employee Assistance Program is a workplace-based program that provides confidential, professional assistance to employees and family members experiencing personal problems.

EAPs assist in the identification and resolution of personal problems of employees, including health, marital and family, alcohol and other drugs, emotional and other concerns that may adversely affect individual job performance and organizational productivity.

What does an EAP cost?

EAP funding models are relatively simple. Organizations contract with an EAP "entity" for services. Contracts tend to be capitated on a per-employee per-year basis, but for smaller organizations, may be arranged on a fee-for-service basis.

Capitated arrangements usually include all services - employee counseling, management consultation, supervisor training and employee seminars - and range from $20-$30 per employee per year.

Fee-for-service contracts are usually ala-carte and range from $90-$110/session for clinical and consultation services and from $200-$500 per workshop or training event.

However, when considering the cost of an EAP, organizations should also ask,

"Can we afford to NOT have an EAP?"

Employees troubled by personal problems can cost your organization more than twice as much as a fully functioning employee.

Consider these facts about the impact of troubled employees - individuals whose health, well-being and/or job performance are affected by a personal problem of some kind - on organizational safety, productivity, and profitability.

  • Up to 18% of the workforce falls into the "troubled" category at any time. After all, what is the likelihood of anyone navigating a lifetime without encountering a serious personal problem or crisis?
  • The National Council on Compensation Insurance reports that 11% of Worker Compensation claims for occupational disease are for stress, making stress the single biggest safety and health problem in the workplace and the most widely shared by workers at all levels.
  • The American Psychiatric Association estimates that depression afflicts 9.4 million, or 2 of every 10, Americans.
  • Personal and psychological problems account for or contribute to 61% of absenteeism, 65%-85% of employee terminations, and 80%-90% of workplace accidents.
  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 25% of the annual salary of alcohol / drug abusers is lost. Compared to non-abusing co-workers, these employees:
    • Miss work 3 more weeks per year
    • Use 2.5 times more medical benefits
    • Have accidents 3.6 times more often
    • Are 5 times more likely to file a workers compensation claim
  • Up to 67% of the expense associated with turnover, absenteeism, accidents and over-use of health insurance is attributable to employees troubled by personal problems.

While it may seem like yet another expense tugging at your straining purse strings, consider the words of a prominent member of our business community - "the cost of doing nothing is far greater… If you haven't got an EAP, look into it. It could be the best cost saving program you ever implemented."

Source: Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal, Editorial, April 1992

What is the Return-on-Investment of an EAP?

The annual expense for Preferred EAP’s 7-session EAP benefit is LESS than the cost of doing nothing!

According to a study conducted by Preferred EAP, an organization employing 300 people loses almost $10,000 in “employee productive time” every year.  This is more than the cost of providing EAP services!

In an effort to document the value of our services Preferred EAP asks all new clients three questions:

  1. Has your job performance been effected by your personal problem?
  2. If so, how, in what manner?
  3. And if so, how much productive work time do you think you lost in the month before you came to Preferred EAP?

Between April 2003 and March 2004, 789 employees were surveyed (responses of dependents are not included in this study). 

347 respondents (44%) reported that their job performance had been adversely affected by their personal problem.  This is consistent with data collected by Preferred EAP since 1985.

The most common ways that job performance is affected are

  • Distraction or preoccupation at 63%
  • Absenteeism at 40%
  • On-the-job conflict at 28%

This group estimates having lost 4,104 productive hours in the one-month before accessing Preferred EAP.  The average lost time of this group of “troubled employees” is therefore 11.8 hours per month

Assume an organization employs 300 people, that 10% of employees are troubled by a personal problem, and that the job performance of half of this group is affected for three months.

Then, using our data, this organization is losing at least 531 productive hours annually.  If average compensation (wage+benefits) is $20/hour, this translates to a loss of $10,620 per year.

The annual expense for a full service 7-session Employee Assistance Program from Preferred EAP for this organization would be less than $10,000

Finally, follow-up surveying indicates that at least 56% of lost productive time is “found” or regained subsequent to an employee’s use of Preferred EAP’s services.

What are the additional benefits of an EAP?

79% of the 1006 firms surveyed by Hewitt Associates offered an EAP and the number is steadily growing. Why? When your organization implements an EAP it can expect to accrue benefits along three parameters:

  • Financial rewards accruing to your organization's bottom line,
  • Tools available to your management team, and
  • Gratitude and loyalty of employees and their families

Financial benefits include those associated with:

  • Health Care Cost Containment
  • Productivity
  • Employee Retention, and
  • Litigation Avoidance and Legal Defense

Health Care Cost Containment

  • The landmark 1988 McDonnell Douglas independently conducted longitudinal study of its EAP documented that a well-managed EAP is an extremely effective way to manage health care costs.
    • For example: For an employee with a diagnosis of alcoholism, the average per case employee medical claim cost for those who had used the EAP was $9898 below that of a alcoholic who had not used the EAP.
    • And, for employees with a psychiatric condition, the average per case employee medical claim cost for EAP users was $715 below that of non-EAP users.
  • Abbot Labs compared total medical costs of EAP users with those of non-users. Those who had used the EAP averaged $9,156 less per person for inpatient care than those who had never used the EAP.
  • The Campbell Soup Company after implementing an EAP experienced a 28% reduction in per employee behavioral health care costs.
  • Fifty percent of EAP users will have their needs met via the EAP, eliminating the need to utilize the behavioral health care benefit and, thereby, helping to keep premiums lower.

Productivity

  • The same McDonnell Douglas study calculated their Return-On-Investment at 4:1, or $5,100,000.
    • Employees using EAP services had fewer absences, fewer accidents, and stayed with the company longer.
  • A 1995 survey by the Conference Board found 21% fewer accidents, 35% reduced turnover, 59% lower absenteeism, 62% higher productivity and 68% increased morale among EAP users.

Employee Retention

Given the average cost of employee termination and new employee recruitment and training, if your EAP saves one job per year it has probably paid for itself. And an EAP is the most direct and cost-effective way to tell your employees that they really are your most important resource.

Litigation Avoidance and Legal Defense

Employee lawsuits have doubled annually since the mid-80s. EAPs serve as an added level of defense or insulation in wrongful discharge, sexual harassment and discrimination suits.

"Although it seems unfair that employers are stuck solving so many societal problems, fairness isn't an issue when there are no other options. By helping employees help themselves, employers can help their bottom line. An independent EAP is the best way to achieve both goals without creating unnecessary legal exposure."
Source: Jonathan Segal, "Ignorance Is Bliss", HRM Magazine, December 1995.

Providing your management team with the resources needed to solve problems is critical to your organization's success.

EAPs provide invaluable management tools that give your organization a leadership advantage. These tools include:

  • Expert Consultation & Coaching: When you have a troubled employee you invariably also have a manager or supervisor equally troubled trying to figure-out what to do. Situations of personal problems of employees represent one of the most difficult aspects of managing people. EAPs provide your management team a means to quickly and appropriately address their concerns - coaching on what to say and how to say it - while avoiding the all-too-common pitfall of over-involvement.
  • Training in Communication and People Management Skills: EAPs train the management team how to identify, document, approach and refer troubled employees, equipping them with effective intervention techniques. Specialized training on topics such as stress management, cultural diversity, substance abuse in the workplace, conflict resolution, etc., are also generally part of an EAP service package.
  • Organizational Support and Development: Internal Human Resource departments usually have limited manpower and time. EAPs offer an organization's Human Resources staff a variety of skills and services, supporting efforts to prevent workplace violence and sexual harassment or mediate conflict and deal with change. EAPs can also assist organizational efforts to comply with various State and Federal regulations.


The chances of any of us moving through life without encountering some sort of personal problem or crisis - stress, divorce, drug abuse, grief - are zero.

EAPs provide employees and their families with an accessible, confidential, no-cost method of addressing and resolving a wide range of personal problems.

While there can be no doubt that personal problems spill over into the workplace to significantly affect the bottom line, there is no way to put a dollar figure on a job saved, a family kept together, the gratitude of an employee helped or avoiding the loss of a life.

These things don't show-up in the annual report, but they are real and satisfying nonetheless.

How do I evaluate an EAP provider?

All EAPs are not alike.

When evaluating an EAP provider consider the following elements:

  • Comprehensive: Will the EAP provide the full range of client and employer support services?
  • Qualitative Differences
    • Are assessment and counseling services provided by phone or in-person?
    • Is the EAP a staff model or network provider model? Staff models tend to be local or regional operations with counselors dedicated to EAP service delivery and thus more responsive and available, more personalized and user-friendly, and more customer-service oriented.
  • Responsiveness: Will the EAP tailor programming to your needs and then remain willing to do what they must, when they must to assist your organization and its employees
  • Customer Loyalty: Do they have long-term relationships with organizational customers as well as with the providers to whom troubled individuals are referred? Customer loyalty is an indicator of clinical expertise as well as positive community image. It also demonstrates an ability to understand and attend to organizational needs and bottom-line concerns.
  • Other important considerations…
    • Are office locations convenient to your employees?
    • Are there separate exits and entrances to promote privacy?
    • Is the staffing pattern multi-disciplinary and gender balanced?
    • Is the pricing plan flexible?
    • Does the EAP offer an independent, fully credentialed provider network?
    • Does the EAP have an informational and interactive website?
    • Can the EAP provide Performance Reports that address both utilization and quality management issues 

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