Many psychologists are unhappy with employee assistance programs in Quebec, according to a new survey by the Quebec psychologists association.

The survey by l’association des psychologues du Québec, which polled more than 500 psychologists in the province, found many respondents believe conditions have “seriously deteriorated” over the past few years. In particular, respondents were critical of low fees, failure to comply with a clinician’s diagnosis, interference in treatment and diagnosis and the short-term nature of the services.

Read: What you don’t know about your employee assistance program

The association also noted that Morneau Shepell Ltd. is dominating the employee assistance program market as it continues to make acquisitions. “It isn’t good news to see this player become more important in the Quebec EAP market. Its recent acquisitions are generating concerns from psychologists.”

A spokesperson from Morneau Shepell told Benefits Canada‘s Quebec-based companion publication, Avantages, that it takes the feedback seriously. “We look forward to contacting the association and are actively looking to explore these concerns, collaborate further and improve relationships,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also noted high levels of client satisfaction with Morneau Shepell’s programs. “More than 95 per cent of individuals who have participated in EAP counselling report that they have attained their counselling goals and 95 per cent of clients have indicated they would use our EAP again.”

On the issue of fees, Morneau Shepell said its rates are competitive but it acknowledged that its fee structure is different from what a psychologist charges when someone purchases the service directly.

Read: Morneau Shepell adds to Quebec EAP presence with Pro Health acquisition

“For psychologists who work with Morneau Shepell, their fees are adjusted as in these situations we are covering some of the operating costs that are typically associated with owning a private practice, such as generating case referral volume, emergency support 24/7 for clients.”

However, the Morneau Shepell spokesperson did agree with survey respondents about the short-term nature of employee assistance programs. “We also agree that for more severe and complex mental-health issues, a more long-term and comprehensive clinical approach is required. In these situations, we often refer our clients to long-term support, with psychologists,” the spokesperson noted.

The Quebec psychologists association is asking employers in the province to look at the indicators of the effectiveness of employee assistance programs, such as the incidence and duration of extended sick leave, rates of absenteeism and presenteeism and staff turnover.

Read: Morneau Shepell acquires another Montreal-based EAP provider

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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