Low-cost program will help employees with substance abuse problems


The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce (MVCC), in partnership with several business organizations on Cape Cod, now offers an affordable employee assistance plan (EAP) for local companies that might have employees struggling with substance abuse problems. The program, called Reach, is a confidential short-term counseling service; employers pay only $9.50 per employee per year.

Nancy Gardella, executive director of the MVCC, became aware of the Diamond Health Care program through speaking with her colleagues at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. “They were approached by the Health Care Service [an insurance company],” she said, “and then they engaged all of us.” The Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce is also involved.

Ms. Gardella noted that many years ago, it was routine for companies to offer counseling services to employees struggling with alcohol and substance abuse. The programs promoted wellness, reduced absenteeism, and increased productivity. These programs, Ms. Gardella said, have become much less common recently.

“We are hoping that if companies have a need, that things will not spiral out of control,” Ms. Gardella said, “but they will instead offer this to their employees first.”

Employers can also tap into the services offered through Diamond Health Care, Ms. Gardella said. If an employee has a child with a substance abuse problem, it could be affecting their performance at work. The employer will be able to get advice about how to help that employee and his or her child.

Ms. Gardella said she became aware of Reach a couple of months ago, and was able to launch it locally at the beginning of this month. Workshops and webinars are scheduled to help answer employer questions, starting Jan. 26. Contact the MVCC at 508-693-0085 or nancy@mvy.com for more information.