Health e-News 
 August 2011

Special Report
EAPs Make Healthier Workplaces
 Happy Workers

Why should your company have an EAP? Because it leads to a healthier, more productive workplace, says a new study on mental health by Morneau Shepell, a top North American human resource consulting firm.

The study collected data to measure four specific outcomes: general health status, mental health status, productivity, and absenteeism. Here are some of its findings:

--Employees rated their mental health 15 percent higher after receiving EAP support.

--EAP intervention resulted in a 34 percent reduction in costs related to lost productivity.

--Before EAP intervention, decreased productivity and absence was costing organizations almost $20,000 per employee per year.

"Research shows that workers with depressive disorders, in particular, can have almost four times more health-related lost productive time than those who do not suffer from these problems," said Karen Seward, senior VP of business development and marketing for Morneau Shepell. "The toll on the bottom line is huge."

Today EAPs serve about 75 percent of North American businesses and are a key component of benefit plans. The Morneau Shepell study makes two key recommendations:

1. Organizations should develop a more strategic partnership with their EAP provider as a first step in realizing the return on their investment. The provider can recommend strategies to optimize the use of the EAP as a preventative measure with the objective of saving costs down the line, and be positioned to make recommendations around the strategic use of EAP services to support the organization's health priorities.

2. Organizations should consider a comprehensive, strategic approach to absence management. To promote sustained attendance at work, and prevent downstream costs and consequences, they should shift from stand-alone absence administration programs to attendance management strategies aligned with the company's business objectives, cost management goals, and strategies related to employee engagement and retention.

For more information about Affinity's EAP and what we can do for you, please call Affinity's Occupational Health's Sales and Marketing team:

Riley McDermid
(920) 628-1533

Tammy Davis
(920) 628-1532

Holly Tomlin
(920) 628-1530

Try This!
Workplace Wellness Tip

 Quick Stress Relief
Seatbelt Buckle Up 

Stressed out? Get some quick relief with these tricks that you can do at work.

Tune in. Plug in your ear buds and listen to your favorite music. If your job doesn't permit music while working, try it during a break. Music can transport your mind to a peaceful place.

Walk out. At lunch time, take a quick stroll around the building. Exercise and a change of scenery can do wonders for your mental state.

Meditate. Close your eyes, focus on taking deep breaths, and imagine your favorite place or loved ones. Just 10 minutes of meditation can plunge your stress level.

Laugh. Laughter helps cast off stress. Keep a book of jokes or favorite YouTube videos on hand, and chuckle up when you need a lift!

With the Experts  


Conscious Eating and Nutritional Healing in the Workplace

Presented by:

Sudeep Sodhi, MD,
Affinity Medical Group
and the

Affinity Wellness & Preventive Services Team



Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011
7:30 - 9:30 a.m.



Bridgewood Resort and Conference Center

1000 Cameron Way, Neenah



Dr. Sodhi, gastroenterologist with Affinity Medical Group, will discuss the nutrition issues facing our society and what may cause them. The need for greater awareness of our food chain and increasing wholesome food intake will be covered as well as the concept of anti-inflammatory diet and the role that exercise can play in the prevention of diseases.  



Dr. Sodhi is board-certified in gastroenterology, internal medicine, nutrition and integrative medicine. His training includes a fellowship in Integrative Medicine and Nutrition at the University of Arizona with Dr. Andrew Weil.
Following Dr. Sodhi's presentation, the Affinity Wellness & Preventive Services Team will explain how you can implement a plan immediately to help maintain proper nutrition habits within your workplace. They will provide effective solutions for nutrition risks and introduce new programs to help keep you on track.

To register for this free seminar, contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or




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Quick Links

Welcome to your August issue of Health e-News! This month, we're talking all about EAP - Employee Assistance Programs.

Behavioral wellness is a key component in overall health. Our mental well-being affects our job performance, and EAP can help when challenges arise. In the features below, you'll meet Affinity's EAP team, find tips for increasing EAP utilization, and hear about exciting news going on throughout Affinity Health System.
We encourage you to share this edition of Health e-News with your employees.  A version designed just for them can be found at:  

In good health,
Lisa Kogan-Praska
Director, Employer Solutions and Urgent Care

Why Choose Local? 
Local EAPs offer many advantages 


What's good for employees is good for business. EAPs offer proven benefits to workers and employers alike. National carriers have taken notice, swooping in to offer cheaper solutions. But is bigger better? No, say Affinity's EAP counselors. Here's why local EAP providers can give your company an advantage over larger, national firms.

Personalized care
Affinity's EAP providers are on-site, visible and available to their clients. "We make a point of getting to know your business, your community of employees, and the unique needs of your organization," says Donna Schmitz, Affinity EAP counselor. "We make ourselves available in a way that a national carrier simple cannot."

This personalized approach builds relationships - a key to successful counseling. "One of the most critical elements is the ability to gain rapport with a client," Donna says. "It's difficult to build a trusting, caring relationship with a voice [on the phone], which is what the national plans offer."

Higher utilization
The EAP utilization rate for local programs is about 6-10 percent, compared to 3 percent for a telephonic program. Donna describes one Fox Valley company that switched recently to Affinity's EAP from a national firm. In several years with the national EAP carrier, the company reported having no utilization. After just one week with Affinity's local EAP, an employee scheduled the company's first counseling appointment. "I think that speaks volumes," Donna says.

Better ROI
It's true - you get what you pay for.  "There just isn't an apples-to-apples comparison between local and national EAPs," Donna says. Yes, a national EAP program is less costly up front. Many managed care programs add a national EAP plan free of charge as a selling point. However, after an initial telephonic screening, national EAP providers often refer employees directly to services through their medical benefits. "So you need to consider what the cost benefit really is," Donna explains.

For more information on the benefits of a local EAP, call Affinity Occupational Health's Sales and Marketing team:

Riley McDermid  (920) 628-1533
Tammy Davis  (920) 628-1532
Holly Tomlin  (920) 628-1530 


Happy TeamTrain the Trainer  Supervisors should know their way around an EAP 

Your EAP isn't just for employees. It's for supervisors, too. If your company makes a concerted effort to train managers on how to maximize their EAP, everyone reaps the benefits. Here's why:
Early detection leads to early intervention.
Supervisors need to be trained to identify issues in employees so they can refer them to the EAP before the situation gets out of hand. The sooner an employee gets help, the greater the chances of thwarting disaster down the road.
Early intervention prevents lost productivity.
Consider, for instance, an employee struggling with depression. When a supervisor is trained to recognize the signs early on and knows how and where to encourage the worker to get help, weeks or months of poor productivity can be prevented. Counseling helps employees personally, so they can perform professionally.
Help for conflict situations.
Sometimes supervisors need a little help of their own. EAP counselors can coach supervisors on healthy ways to address issues among staff members. This is especially valuable to new managers who may be inexperienced at resolving employee conflict.

Call Affinity's EAP at (920) 720-1090 or 1-800-894-9327 to learn more about how supervisor training can make a positive impact on your organization.
Deerwood Avenue ClinicWhat's Happening at Affinity? 

Affinity Medical Home Earns National Recognition

Affinity's new model for primary care, Affinity Medical Home, is designed to put patients at the center of their care. Each patient has an ongoing relationship with a personal physician, and the physician leads a team that takes collective responsibility for patient care.

Several Affinity clinics have earned the highest National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) accreditation, with more anticipated to follow. Clinics receiving Level 3 Physician Practice Connections - Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition (PPC-PCMH™) thus far include:
  • Affinity Medical Group - Kaukauna
  • Affinity Medical Group - Koeller Street, Oshkosh - Family Medicine
  • Affinity Medical Group - Jackson Street, Oshkosh - Family Medicine
  • Affinity Medical Group - Jackson Street/Parkway - Internal Medicine
  • Affinity Medical Group - Winneconne - Family Medicine
  • Mercy Medical Center - Oakwood Internal Medicine
  • Affinity Medical Group - Deerwood Avenue, Neenah - Pediatrics
  • Affinity Medical Group - Airport Road, Menasha - Family Medicine
  • Affinity Medical Group - Greenville - Family Medicine
  • Calumet Medical Center Clinic - Chilton

"Affinity's Medical Home model allows us to consistently deliver our promise of personalized care as we partner with patients to customize their health care experiences. Our Medical Home model helps us focus on quality health care and improve health outcomes for our patients," says Christine Griger, MD, MBA, president of Affinity Medical Group.

For more information on Affinity Medical Home or choosing a physician, visit us online at  
Tips for Promoting Your EAP

Are your employees taking full advantage of all your EAP has to offer? Boost participation with some simple tips:

 Place posters in employee common areas (cafeteria, break room, etc.)  Be sure to rotate them periodically. 


 Place EAP brochures in areas where employees can take one confidentially.  Employee restrooms are a great place for EAP brochures. 


 Include EAP payroll inserts or brochures in employee paychecks. 


 Send letters and brochures explaining the EAP to the employees' household members.  Often spouses and family members do not realize that they have access to this free and confidential benefit. 


 Include articles provided by the EAP in your employee newsletters. 


 Include EAP information in all new-hire packets.  Have the EAP send a letter to the new employee's home that outlines their free benefit. 

 Utilize the EAP to provide trainings and brown-bag wellness presentations on-site at your company. 


 Reference the EAP in your employee handbook. 


 Educate all managers and supervisors on how to access the EAP for referrals and supervisory consultation.  Encourage them to mention the EAP in staff meetings. 


 Have the EAP set up a display booth in the employee common areas.


Remember that low utilization may be due to lack of education about the EAP!
Meet Our EAP Team 
Experience and compassion 


Affinity's Employee Assistance Program team offers the depth of experience and breadth of expertise your employees need.
Patrick HauerPatrick Hauer - With 30 years of counseling experience, Patrick is an expert guide to resolving conflict in relationships. He has a special interest in helping people struggling with substance abuse. Having raised three grown children, Patrick enjoys making the most of his empty nest by indulging his passion for motorcycles, hunting and fishing.
Bob CarrollBob Carroll - Bob has nearly 30 years of experience as a counselor in inpatient and outpatient settings. An 11-year veteran of Affinity's EAP, his special interests include marriage and parenting issues, and work-related challenges (stress, anger management and communication). An avid golfer and father of two, Bob is known as the EAP team's anchor, keeping them on an even keel.
Donna SchmitzDonna Schmitz - Donna has compassionate insight for counseling couples and families in crisis, including relationship and parenting struggles. She also has special interests in helping people cope with grief, anxiety, depression, and work-related stress or conflict. Donna is Mom to two grown children, and loves to spend time tending her perennial garden.

Trisha Hummel and Tina Suttner
-Affinity EAP customer account/marketing representatives Trisha and Tina share more than a job; they share a passion for promoting the healing work of the EAP. When you call the EAP office, Trisha or Tina will respond to guide you. Both are moms of grown kids in or past college. Trisha enjoys gardening, photography, and creating new recipes. Tina is an extreme outdoor enthusiast - hunting, fishing, four-wheeling and more.

We invite you to get to know us. Affinity's EAP team can develop solutions tailored to your employees' needs.

If your company utilizes Affinity EAP services, please call (920) 720-1090 for more information or to schedule an appointment. We can help overcome personal and corporate obstacles to achieving your maximum potential.

Well Connected 

Join us for the next Well Connected webinar!


Maintaining Proper Nutrition in the Workplace
Wednesday, Aug. 24
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Presented by:
Affinity Wellness Account Specialists
Affinity Registered Dieticians


In this session, we'll update you on the latest nutrition information, cover the newest trends, and offer solutions you can implement immediately at your workplace. Directly from the nutrition experts at Affinity, you'll learn to identify what proper nutrition is, the latest risks nationwide and in our own community, and the new programs we offer to help keep you on track.

Agenda topics include:

  • Identifying proper nutrition
  • Nutrition risks
  • Choose My
  • Festival Food's NuVal System
  • Affinity Wellness solutions for nutrition risks
  • Affinity's On-Site Dietitian program
  • Q & A and discussion 
To register for this webinar, please send an email to Tammy Davis at An appointment with a link to the webinar will be sent upon registration.

Well Connected is free and open to anyone interested in worksite wellness. We invite and encourage you to attend the meetings, and to share this workplace wellness networking opportunity with your colleagues and friends. The goal of Well Connected is to provide employers an opportunity to network while sharing your company's success stories and challenges in creating and maintaining a healthy workplace.
Leah DW
Get to Know Our Providers 


Chilton area patients have a new resource for behavioral health. Welcome Leah Diedrick-Williams, LCSW, to the Calumet Medical Center Clinic. Leah is the first on-site behavioral health counselor to join the Chilton Medical Home team, rounding out a comprehensive group of personalized care providers.

Leah is a busy working mom of two. She relates to her patients on a personal level and is committed to helping them make positive changes.

"Everyone has their own intrinsic power to make changes," Leah says, emphasizing that each person has redeeming qualities within, which they can tap to improve their mental health and circumstances. "I have seen people come back from the worst of the worst. Behavioral health starts one change at a time."

To make an appointment with Leah, call the Calumet Medical Center Clinic at (920) 849-3800.

Your Affinity Occupational Health Sales Team 
Holly Tomlin, coordinator of account management for Affinity Occupational Health, enjoys building relationships with clients while finding creative solutions for their needs.  Holly's background includes 15 years of experience in the health care field, with a strong background in employee assistance programs and occupational health. 

Riley McDermid, employer health and wellness consultant, is passionate about identifying opportunities for local businesses to enhance their occupational health programs.  In addition to her role in new business development for Affinity Occupational Health, Riley is a certified tobacco cessation specialist.

Tammy Davis, customer account liaison for Affinity Occupational Health, provides immediate response to customer service requests.  She works closely with Holly and Riley to coordinate educational programs and provide clients with valuable services information.  Tammy has 14 years of experience in marketing, sales and customer service.

To contact Holly, Riley or Tammy, call the Affinity Occupational Health office located in Menasha, at 1-800-541-0351, or e-mail, or