HCAMS for Unions & Associations

It is both the legal obligation of a union and the nature of union representation to help those at risk on the job. When the cause of the problem on the job appears to be behavioral health, substance abuse, or stress-related, representation can be challenging. The member is often in denial, feeling shame and being defensive. In fact, denial is a primary symptom of behavioral health and addiction problems.

Hands together
HCAMS works with union representatives and the affected member. We recommend course of care coupled with job defense strategy, follow up on the member’s care, and provide advocacy services.

Since these conditions may often qualify as disabilities under federal law, state law, and case law, employees are entitled to medical/legal remediation.

A crisis such as disciplinary action, or the imminent threat of such, can provide an opportunity to intervene with the member. HCAMS works with the employee representative to gather information about the nature and extent of the problem and then conducts a strategy meeting with the member. The goals of that meeting are to protect the employee’s job and get the employee the assistance that is needed.

Learn how to set up an intervention.

Following the job defense strategy meeting, HCAMS designs a comprehensive treatment plan that fits the individual employee’s needs and resources. The employee is assisted in implementing that plan from initial treatment through the return to work.

HCAMS contacts the insurance provider to determine certification and pre-admission procedures, network providers, and treatment coverage. HCAMS provides medical verification to justify valid admissions and supplies documentation to substantiate the need for treatment and aftercare.

If the client is without insurance, we provide information about public funding that may be available and provide information about admission opportunities to charitable and indigent care facilities.

We advise bargaining agents on how to negotiate protections for members or dependents who are suffering from disabling illnesses, and we provide consumer information to members concerning insurance limitations. The union plays a vital role in consumer education and negotiating language that allows members to convert their insurance to cover treatable disabling illnesses.

Case supervision is an important component of our services. Both the clinical treatment provided and the employee’s rights need to be monitored. Within the limitations of confidentiality, we supply the bargaining agent or employer with documentation necessary to protect the job rights of the client.

If the employee’s care requires time away from work, HCAMS facilitates his/her time off through a confidential letter from the treating doctor. Ongoing services include a “fit for duty” certification from a medical care provider, guidelines for a back-to-work conference or return-to-work agreements, and on-site assistance if required. All parties—employer, employee, and union—have roles to play in making the employee’­s return to work successful.

HCAMS will review the recommended aftercare plan with the union member and offer assistance in implementation.

People suffering from stress related health problems, including substance abuse and behavioral heath problems, have legal rights. Federal and state laws and labor contracts offer protections against discrimination on the basis of medical issues. HCAMS supports efforts by unions to enforce those protections.

We offer training programs for union representatives in medical/legal remediation, work directly with employers when requested, and provide written documentation when necessary.

Sometimes union members face disciplinary action because of job performance prior to getting help for their disability. They merit a vigorous defense. We assist the union throughout progressive disciplinary procedures to identify such medical conditions so there can be earlier intervention.

If the disciplinary action comes before an arbitrator, HCAMS provides documentation and/or testimony to affirm the presence of a disability and to substantiate the medically-directed action the employee has taken to deal with the root cause of his/her job performance problems. We also provide medical certification of the employee’­s fitness for duty prior to the return to work.