December 2019 – Unreported MH Issues

Unreported Mental Health Issues…

We have been working with the Council for Disability Awareness, helping to push to understand more about the drivers of disability. One project, looking at the influence of mental health on disability claims, has been most revealing.

For a while, The Claim Lab has been recording claimants’ levels of depression and anxiety, regardless of their reported condition(s). Using Canadian data, we see that levels of unreported mental health issues are very high; there is no record of a mental health issue on the claim file, yet the claimant scores high on our mental health questionnaire.

For individuals with serious medical conditions it’s no surprise that depression and anxiety are a side effect. However, the fact that this is information is not available to the claim examiner is concerning.

By how much can an unreported mental health issue

extend a claim’s duration?…20%?  …30%?  

The results are surprising!

For this CDA project, we used data provided by the Reed Group consisting of one million records of short-term disability and health care data. The health care claims and the STD claims were linked together to compare the diagnoses with the treatment.

We were able to identify STD claims, regardless of the reported condition, both with and without mental health issues reported in the health care data.

Comparing the duration of these claims revealed that where there was a mental health issue, the duration of the claim nearly doubles. An 82% increase!

From the claim examiner’s perspective having this extra data on the claimant would change the course of the claim management plan, monitoring the original condition, but also providing support and interventions to help the mental wellbeing of the claimant, contributing to an earlier return to work.

We would like to do more research work in this area, if you represent an organization that is equally concerned about levels of mental health in your claim’s portfolio, we would like to hear from you!

Ian Bridgman

Executive Director

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