How COVID-19 Casts New Light on Hospital EAPs

Survey reveals a need for more robust financial wellness

Key takeaways

  • Hospital survey data reveals a pandemic-driven shift in attitudes about EAPs
  • New attitudes indicate a need for program expansion, particularly in financial wellness
  • Integrated EAP services can help improve productivity and employee retention

Although most hospitals offer employee assistance programs (EAPs), a recent survey1 from HealthLeaders and BofA uncovers pandemic-driven gaps in wellness services and provides insights for addressing them.

"The important question is, what will employers do now that they feel greater responsibility for their employees’ financial wellness? My prediction is there will be a sizable increase in programs."

Financial wellness is a top concern

According to 47% of healthcare executives, financial wellness ranks as one of the top three services seeing an increase in EAP. Kevin Crain, head of Workplace Solutions Integration at Bank of America, says that shifting attitudes during the pandemic could signal changes ahead for hospital EAPs.

HealthLeaders Finance Podcast

Kevin Crain discusses the great need for financial wellness program offerings for hospital, health system, and health care organization employees.

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Younger employees feel greatest impact

According to hospital executives, employees under 60 expressed heightened anxiety during the pandemic for a variety of reasons, ranging from job or income loss to health risks and caring for aging parents. “The older age groups likely feel less of a negative impact because they are toward the end of their careers, have built up more resources, and are more settled,” says Crain.

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Employer attitudes are changing too

Crain points out that the pandemic is rapidly altering employer attitudes about the importance of employee financial security. In fact, 63% say they have a higher responsibility for their employees’ financial wellness during the pandemic.

 

Kevin Crain, national head of Healthcare at Bank of America, observes that employer interest in financial wellness is trending across industries. “According to research in our 2020 Workplace Benefits Report,” notes Crain, “62% of employers said they feel a great responsibility for employee financial wellness, a significant increase from 13% in 2013.”

 

Crain says the next two years are critical for employee financial wellness programs. “The important question is, what will employers do now that they feel greater responsibility for their employees’ financial wellness? My prediction is there will be a sizable increase in programs.”

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1In October 2020, HealthLeaders conducted an online survey that was sent to the HealthLeaders Council and select members of the HealthLeaders audience. A total of 109 completed surveys are included in the analysis.