Dr. Kevin Ronneberg knows from experience that leading a company through a public health crisis takes the right staff, capabilities, guidance, and expertise. As Vice President and Associate Medical Director of Health Initiatives at HealthPartners, a Midwest- based, non-profit, integrated healthcare provider and health insurance company, he also understands the unique nuances and complexities of managing these efforts if you don’t have the right partners and resources at your side. Within the rapidly evolving environment of a global pandemic such as Coronavirus (COVID-19), managing the financial, mental, and physical health of your organization is increasingly difficult. Yet as a business leader, protecting the health and safety of your employees and doing everything you can to ensure the stability of your organization’s operations, are your highest priorities.
“Organizations are facing challenging business decisions and employee situations, while human resource teams are strapped for resources amid COVID-19,” said Dr. Ronneberg. “Companies are pulled in many directions as they manage the first wave of crisis response to ensure the safety of employees, the continuity of business operations, and worksite safety. HealthPartners works with employers to navigate these circumstances through strategic planning and supportive services that put health and well-being at the forefront.”
Having a partner to aid in everything from providing health plan member services resources, claims administration, treatment options for telehealth and virtual care, and occupational medicine services that assist with strategic worksite plans, can be beneficial to streamline business operations and staffing.
“The changing work environment with more kids and parents at home, the financial stress, childcare needs, and shifting hours, are impacting businesses and the daily lives of employees,” said Dr. Ronneberg.
“These issues reflect the second wave of response to COVID-19, which includes managing social isolation and behavioral health concerns. As a one-stop shop partner, HealthPartners provides an array of telephonic member services to assist employees and employers during these uncertain times.”
These services include an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and leave management support. In addition, behavioral health navigators and nurses are readily available via phone. These individuals have access to integrated health and claims data that give them the immediate information to address employees’ needs and offer evidence-based, effective support.
Furthermore, virtual care, such as HealthPartners’ virtuwell and Doctor on Demand, can remove barriers to routine physical and behavioral health treatment while limiting exposure to the virus. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that suicide rates rose by 57 percent from 1999 to 2016 in North Dakota and because mental health concerns are growing due to social distancing measures, it’s clear that increasing access to care can be life-saving.
“In rural North Dakota, the need to travel long distances, the wait times, and the social isolation felt from the current pandemic can make people less willing to seek behavioral health support,” said Matthew Nagel, HealthPartners’ Regional Sales Manager, based in Fargo, North Dakota. “Yet when services such as virtual care, telephonic case management, and an EAP are part of an employer’s health insurance plan, people feel empowered to make better care decisions.”
There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging, riddled with ambiguity and frustration. Throughout it all, HealthPartners is working to help employers stay focused on what matters most – protecting the health and safety of employees and their families above all else.