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Press release from Business Wire

New guide gives employers tools to support employees with cancer

<p class='bwalignc'> <i>Unum among experts tapped for absence management and return-to-work expertise</i> </p>

Friday, December 06, 2013

New guide gives employers tools to support employees with cancer

11:00 EST Friday, December 06, 2013

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Business Wire) -- A new guide developed by The National Business Group on HealthSM and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® offers employers an online and interactive toolkit to help address the growing impact of cancer in the workplace.

“There are more cancer survivors in the workplace than ever before,” said Robert (Jake) Jacob, director of Health and Productivity at Unum, and a member of the advisory committee for this initiative. “There is a growing need for employers and benefit managers to have a comprehensive approach in supporting employees as they deal with cancer treatment and recovery, and this guide provides that.”

An Employer's Guide to Cancer Treatment and Prevention is the first of its kind in the industry.

Cancer is a leading cause of disability claims for Unum each year. As a member of Unum's Health and Productivity team, Jacob works closely with employers whose employees return to work after cancer treatment.

“Unum has done extensive research on the impact of cancer survivorship on employers,” said Jacob. “We have the knowledge and expertise to help employers support their workers through diagnosis and treatment, and help those employees return successfully to the workplace.”

Jacob's recommendations for the guide focused on three key initiatives:

  • Return-to-work best practices – Recovery and return to work play a particularly significant role for cancer patients. In fact, Jacob says, most people who have been diagnosed with cancer are very motivated to get back to work because it helps create a sense of control at a time when people often feel understandably overwhelmed.

    A successful return-to-work strategy requires a collaborative approach among short term disability case managers, an employee's supervisor and HR representatives. This ensures the employee is getting the support they need to resume work in a safe and productive manner.
  • Expertise of disability benefit specialists, and clinical and vocational resources – Cancer patients experience a wide range of side effects from treatment, including fatigue and cognitive issues that are the result of “chemo-brain.” Short term disability case managers should have the training needed to understand the employee's overall health condition in order to provide the necessary support and accommodations the employee may need as they transition back to work.
  • Short term disability and employee assistance program coordination – Coordination with employee assistance programs is critical to ensure effective management of employees on disability leave.

“For employers, the financial, emotional and productivity burden of cancer in the workplace is high,” said Helen Darling, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. “With significant gains in cancer survival rates and most cancer survivors staying at work during their treatment or returning to work after their treatment, employers need a comprehensive benefits plan to ensure that their current strategies to address cancer in the workplace complement the needs of their employees. That's one of the main reasons we launched this project with NCCN – to help employers meet this growing challenge.”

Jacob was one of 35 members of the advisory committee for this effort. Other participants included benefit managers, clinical cancer experts, medical directors, health plan and pharmaceutical representatives, health care consultants, disability managers, and EAP and health improvement professionals.

Although the project is wrapping up and the advisory committee is formally ending, committee members will continue to support the National Business Group on Health in promoting the guide. There are also plans to enhance the guide to include strategies for managed care organizations, pharmacy benefit managers and consultants.

About Unum

Unum (www.unum.com) is a leading provider of financial protection benefits through the workplace. The disability insurance leader in the U.S. for 36 years, Unum's portfolio of financial protection products also includes life, accident and critical illness, which help protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an illness or injury. In 2011, Unum paid more than $5 billion in benefits to more than 450,000 individuals and their families.

About the National Business Group on Health SM

The National Business Group on Health (the Business Group) is the nation's only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers' perspective on national health policy issues and providing strategic and practical solutions to its members' most important health care and health benefits challenges.

Business Group members are primarily Fortune 500 companies and large public-sector employers–representing the nation's most innovative health care purchasers–that provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. The Business Group fosters the development of a safe, high-quality health care delivery system and treatments based on scientific evidence of effectiveness. Business Group members share strategies for controlling health care costs, improving patient safety and quality of care, increasing productivity and supporting healthy lifestyles.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 23 of the world's leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers.

Unum
Dawn McAbee, 423-294-1892
dmcabee@unum.com

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