It has been four years since a nationwide public health emergency was declared in response to rising rates of opioid use disorder and opioid-related overdose deaths. This declaration catalyzed a movement towards expanding access to high quality evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery support services, removing stigma from addiction, and transforming organizational responses to substance use disorder. In Kentucky, employers have been engaged in advancing these critical priorities.
In addition to seeing the harmful effects of rising substance use and overdose deaths within their communities, employers have been experiencing issues surrounding retention, hiring, productivity, absenteeism, and rising healthcare costs. By aligning their workplace policies and health plan benefit design with evidence-based services and advancing supportive cultures, employers have been better positioned to support their employees impacted by substance use while advancing their business.
Through a collaborative partnership between the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Kentucky Chamber Foundation, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, and the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort, employers will soon have another approach to take these priorities even further.
In April 2020, the Kentucky legislature passed Senate Bill 191. Senate Bill 191 provides guidelines for the implementation of the Kentucky Transformational Employment Program (KTEP), a program allowing for employer-facilitated assessment and, if necessary, treatment for substance use disorder following an offeree or employee’s positive result on a employment-related drug screen. In turn, employers receive protections against civil action regarding negligent hiring or retention because of the individual’s substance use. This program is entirely voluntary, and involves the employer having their policies, procedures, and processes be in alignment with the guidelines set forth by Senate Bill 191. To aid in the employer’s participation, written guidelines, training videos, and personnel support will be provided from the program partners.
On September 14, 2021 from 8am-10am, the KHC will host a Community Health Forum, Support Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Through Transformational Employment. This forum will serve as the public rollout for KTEP. Attendees will hear from Van Ingram, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, and Beth Davisson, Senior Vice President, Foundation, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, about the state of substance use in Kentucky as well as the impact that it is has on businesses, particularly in light of COVID-19. Brittney Allen, Interim Director of the Behavioral Health Division within the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, will discuss the relationship between stigma and addiction and how employers are instrumental in dispelling it. Natalie Middaugh, Community Health Program Manager at the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative, will review the KTEP program in depth. A reaction panel of experts representing stakeholders in the KTEP process will follow Natalie’s presentation with reflections on the programs promise and guidance for employer’s looking to implement it. These panelists will include Amanda Newton, President, Recovery Concierge, Amanda Newton Consulting and Contracting, LaKisha Miller, Executive Director of the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center, Cynthia Doll, Partner, Fisher & Philips, LLP, Jenny Goins, KHC Employer Member and Benefits Consultant, JGoins Consulting, and Randa Deaton, President and CEO of the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative. Finally, Leah Tate, Vice President, Human Resources-Industrial Automation, Belden Inc., will provide an overview of the program that they have successfully implemented at their workplace as an example of the benefits that a program like KTEP can offer. Ultimately, this event will introduce employers and the community to KTEP and instruct first steps for implementing it in to their workplace.
This event is free and open to the public. Registration can be found at https://khcollaborative.org/event/september-community-forum/. Please contact Natalie Middaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.