Lyra Health raises $45M to create a smart network for treating mental health problems

Treating issues with mental health can be a daunting and very sensitive task for anyone that is suffering from any kind of mental illness — but the problem for many is that a lot of patients just don’t know where to start, according to David Ebersman.

mental signpost graphic for article, Lyra Health raises $45M to create a smart network for treating mental health problemsThat’s where Lyra Health hopes to help. The service works with employers to offer a tool to their employees that helps them securely and confidentially begin to understand what kind of treatment they need to seek if they feel like they are suffering from any mental health problems. Employers naturally have a stake in this as they want their employees to stay health, but the goal is to offer a sort of safe space where users can benefit from years of growth in pattern matching and data to help them figure out where to start. The company said it has raised $45 million in a new financing round including Tenaya Capital, Glynn Capital Partners, Crown Ventures, and Casdin Capital. Existing investors that include Greylock Partners, Venrock, and Providence Ventures also participated in the funding round.

“We felt it was important to build an offering that would be helpful to all of the people who work at these companies and are suffering from a mental health condition like depression, or anxiety, or substance abuse,” Ebersman said. “A lot of the people we want to help don’t know where they’re starting. Trying to build and market something narrowly to a subset of the audience requires the audience to know they’re in that subset. Trying to build something more welcoming and engaging for a broader set of conditions felt to us to be a realistic response to the fact that not everyone can self identify. Fortunately technology really helps us with this — we can build a secure and confidential place where an employee can go and answer some questions that relate to their symptoms, severity, treatment preferences and use technology to match them for the right care.” Continue reading Lyra Health raises $45M to create a smart network for treating mental health problems

Fatigue and worker safety

Experts say employers play a role in tackling the issue

Sarah Trotto

When his first daughter was born, Steve Marks was juggling two jobs.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Marks was a nurse manager at a casino medical unit. When his shift ended, he slept an hour or two before moving on to his other job as a hospital supervisor from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. two nights a week. Afterward, he drove back to his first job, where he curled up under his desk for an hour-long nap.

Fatigue tips infographic for article, Fatigue and worker safety“When you’ve got bills to pay and things that have to be done, children or parents or other things keeping you up, sleep is the last thing that gets paid attention to,” he said. “It’s like, ‘All right, I can deal with this. Let me just close my eyes for a couple minutes and I’ll get back to it.’ That doesn’t make up for the loss [of sleep].”

After two years, Marks decided to stop working two jobs. Now administrator of health and safety services at Viking Yachts in New Gretna, NJ, he shares his stories to educate people about occupational fatigue.

Kim Olszewski – vice president of Lewisburg, PA-based Mid-State Occupational Health Services – also understands fatigue after working the night shift in health care. She, alongside Marks, participates in presentations on occupational fatigue.

Employers are becoming increasingly aware that fatigue is a safety issue, Olszewski said, and they, along with workers, play a role in tackling the problem.

“The key is the proactive piece, driving it from the top down, talking about fatigue, how it can be managed, how can it impacts all aspects of life – not just work,” she said.


In helping smokers quit, cash is king, e-cigarettes strike out

Date: May 23, 2018
Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Free smoking cessation aids, such as nicotine patches and chewing gum, are a staple of many corporate wellness programs aimed at encouraging employees to kick the habit.

info graphic showing stages of quitting smoking for article, In helping smokers quit, cash is king, e-cigarettes strike outBut, new research shows that merely offering such aids for free does not help employees quit, whereas supplementing them with financial incentives is three times more effective.

The study, led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, also provides the first large-scale evidence that offering e-cigarettes to known smokers is not effective at helping smokers stay smoke-free. The results are published today in the New England Journal of Medicine and may hold significant policy implications as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to weigh e-cigarette regulation.

“Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, and nearly all large employers offer wellness programs aimed at getting people to quit. But, these programs vary considerably, and to date, there has been little evidence to suggest which designs and strategies are most effective,” said lead author Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD…


Better Respiratory Protection Needed for Road and Bridge Workers

A poster at the AIHce EXP conference summarized findings from NIOSH assessments at construction sites in 10 states during 2007-2012.

PHILADELPHIA – Workers engaged in constructing or repairing roads and bridges are oftennot being adequately protected against respiratory hazards, including silica and lead, according to a poster presentation at the AIHce EXP 2018 conference here. The poster summarized findings from NIOSH assessments at 13 companies’ construction sites in 10 states during 2007-2012.

Photo of bridge under construction for article, Better Respiratory Protection Needed for Road and Bridge WorkersSix of the companies with sites where air monitoring was conducted had exposures exceeding NIOSH recommended exposure limits. The site visits determined that the companies’ air monitoring was not always adequate for the specific exposures and proper respiratory protection was not always selected.

Improvements suggested by the authors include fit testing tight-fitting respirators, training the workers, ensuring workers are clean shaven for a proper respirator fit, ensuring a respiratory protection program administrator is trained and available at the job site, ensuring respirators are properly cleaned and stored, conducting air monitoring more frequently because of changes in construction work, and providing respiratory protection when engineering controls are not adequate.


Steep rise in insect-borne illnesses puts outdoor workers at risk: CDC

Atlanta — Disease cases stemming from mosquito, tick and flea bites more than tripled from 2004 to 2016 in the United States, and outdoor workers remain among those at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states in a new report.

photo of tick on leaf for article, Steep rise in insect-borne illnesses puts outdoor workers at risk: CDC
Photo: andriano_cz/iStockphoto

According to CDC, cases of domestic disease such as dengueZikaLyme and plague totaled more than 640,000 in that time period. The agency identifies state and local health departments and vector control organizations as the primary defense, but notes that 84 percent of such organizations lack one or more of five core competencies:

  • Routine mosquito surveillance via standardized trapping and species identification.
  • Treatment decisions devised from surveillance data.
  • Killing mosquitoes and ticks at every life stage.
  • Routine vector control activities, including source reduction or environmental management.
  • Pesticide resistance testing.

The risk for developing insect-borne diseases increases as commerce moves insects to different areas of the country and worldwide, the report states. Mosquitoes and ticks can transport germs, while infected travelers can introduce and spread them.

Symptoms of insect-borne disease include body, muscle and joint pain; fever; rash; headaches; stiff neck; fatigue; and paralysis.

CDC offers tips to prevent insect stings and bites. Among them:

  • Wear clean, light-colored clothing that covers as much of the body as possible.
  • Bathe daily while avoiding cologne, perfume and perfumed soaps, shampoos and deodorants.
  • Maintain clean work areas.
  • Remain calm around flying insects, as swatting may prompt them to sting.
  • Perform daily skin and clothing checks for ticks, which tend to populate worksites near woods, bushes, high grass or leaf litter.
  • Use insect repellent with 20 percent to 50 percent DEET on exposed skin and clothing, reapplying as necessary.


Should People Carry Naloxone to Prevent Opioid Overdose?

Arthur L. Caplan, PhD
DISCLOSURES    May 04, 2018

Hi. I am Art Caplan. I am at the Division of Medical Ethics at the NYU School of Medicine.

thumbnail for video by Arthur L. Caplan PhD for article, Should People Carry Naloxone to Prevent Opioid Overdose?How bad is the opioid epidemic in the United States? Here is a statistic that just blew me away and reveals just how awful things are. As recently as 10 years ago, about 1% of people who wound up as organ donors when they died did so because of an overdose. A study just came out and the researchers determined that 13% of all organ donors today, when organs are taken from the dead, are due to a drug overdose.

That is an incredible number. It gives an indication of just how out of control and terrible this opioid epidemic is. It is killing young people, because they are the ones who often wind up serving as organ donors.

This high percentage of organ donors raises some obvious questions. For one, it is doubtful that any of the people who overdosed took the time to let their wishes be known about organ donation. It means that families who may not have had contact with someone who died owing to opioid overdose are going to have to make decisions about organ donation.

There are a lot of terrible circumstances around which people have to make decisions about organ donation, such as car accidents, swimming pool accidents, lots of terrible situations. But these are often families who have not seen the person who died for a long time. They are ridden with anger, guilt, all kinds of emotions when their young loved one dies.

It is just tough in terms of getting a real informed consent and asking them to do what the person would have wanted done when it comes to organ donation. I am not saying that we should not be asking, but it is clear that we are going to have to exercise some real sensitivity when it comes to approaching family members of someone who died of an overdose.

Continue reading Should People Carry Naloxone to Prevent Opioid Overdose?

26 A-B-C’s of Safety to Eliminate Workers’ Comp Costs

May 14, 2018 by 

There are many ways interested stakeholders can reduce workers’ compensation costs in their programs.  Running a more effective program and reducing costs starts with a safe work environment that can be as simple as the A B Cs…

illustration of colorful letters A, B, C for article, 26 A-B-C’s of Safety to Eliminate Workers’ Comp Costs

Avoid unnecessary risks in the workplace.  Educate all workers on how to be safe.

Be aware of common pitfalls that drain program costs.  This includes not making sure all employees are aware of safety.

Caution all employee’s to be careful during the workday.

Do not delay in reporting work injuries.  Provide resources for employees to report claims and provide appropriate First Aid.

Employers are usually the party required to complete the state-mandated First Report of Injury.

Falls in the workplace lead to serious work injuries.  Always make sure employees are provided with the proper safety equipment.

Get an ergonomic workplace assessment for all employees.  Repetitive use injuries are common in any occupation or job.

Help all injured employees in their return-to-work efforts.  Studies show the best way to reduce workers’ compensation costs is to get people back in the workforce as soon as possible.

Idiopathic work injuries are generally not compensable.  A careful investigation is required to determine if this is the case so liability can be denied in a timely manner.

Just because an employee claims a work injury does not mean it is always compensable.  A proper investigation starts immediately after the injury occurs.

Keep your First-Aid kit properly supplied.  This can be the responsibility of a safety committee member to check safety supplies frequently.

Letting garbage sit around the workplace can result in injuries.  Encourage all employees to clean up messes – even if they are not responsible for it.



5 Ways To Facilitate Better Return-to-Work Rates

May 9, 2018 by 

The longer an injured worker is off the job, the more it costs the company and the less likely he is to return — ever. Since that can add up to major expenses for an organization, the goal should be to keep injured employees on the job or, if that’s not possible, get them back to work as soon as possible.

icon style graphic for aricle, 5 Ways To Facilitate Better Return-to-Work RatesMost injured workers are back on the job within 4 days. But there are times when that is not the case — even if the injury itself is not that severe. There are myriad reasons employees don’t return to the job. Using a few simple strategies can aid the process.

  1. Stay in network. The medical providers that are part of your network should be well versed in occupational health issues, especially when it comes to returning the injured worker to work. Physicians in the know understand that it is not only in the employer’s best interests, but the employee’s as well. Research clearly shows people recover and heal faster when they are participating in constructive activities, rather than sitting on the couch. Physicians who are part of the employer’s medical network understand these factors and are more likely to pursue returning the worker to the job site, at least in some capacity.

However, it does not always work out that way, and the employee may go to a physician of his choice for various reasons. Even in states without employer-directed healthcare, the employer can at least recommend certain providers. Someone from the company should also be designated to drive the person to the physician’s office. Doing so will make the worker more likely to agree to be seen by the provider recommended.

Some injured workers say they are ‘fine’ at the time of injury but later seek medical care. All injured workers should be provided with a list of in-network or recommended providers. If the employee later decides to head to a physician, he may be more likely to go to one suggested to him.

Employers need to be clear about the workers’ compensation process and demonstrate their caring and concern for the injured worker. This can be done with effective communication — both formal and informal (see ‘communicate’ and ‘brochures’ below).


Tips to Understand OSHA Rights and Responsibilities to Drive Safety

May 2, 2018 by 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created at the federal level on December 29, 1970, with the goal of assuring “safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.”  Since its creation, the agency has evolved and become commonplace in the workers’ compensation scene as a means of investigating work injuries and providing information to interested stakeholders.  Parties seeking to reduce workers’ compensation program costs should understand OSHA and view the agency as a partner in making workplaces safe for employees. 

work safety and injury statistics poster for article, Tips to Understand OSHA Rights and Responsibilities to Drive SafetyUnderstanding OSHA Basics

 There are many misconceptions about OSHA.  It is important to those seeking to provide a safe workplace to understand better the requirements and how the agency is responsible for enforcing safety standards.

OSHA standards and agency overview covers most private sector employers.  While it does not cover many state and local government agencies, employees of these entities are subject to protections by the federal act and applicable state programs.

The federal act also allows states to create their own OSHA programs.  In these jurisdictions, the state agency receives funding from the federal government to run its program.  This allows states to develop their own standards, provided they meet the federal minimums required under the Act.  There are currently 22 OSHA approved programs that include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.


A push for mental health care at colleges: Depression and anxiety ‘really eat up our kids’

Felicia Mello, CALmatters

When student leaders from 23 California State University campuses came together last fall to set priorities for the academic year, improving campus mental health services received more nominations than any other issue. It beat out even that perennial concern, tuition costs.

Cal State Student Association president Maggie White said she’s not surprised.

“We’re seeing wait times at counseling centers that are exceeding two or three weeks, people turned away after a few appointments because they’ve exceeded the maximum allotment, and students not feeling comfortable going to counselors because no one looks like them or reflects their experience,” White said.

graph showing California college enrollment related to demand for mental health services

As the stigma attached to mental health care fades, California students are increasingly clamoring for more on-campus services that can help them cope with anxiety, depression and the stresses of a contentious political climate and rising living expenses. Several bills pending in the California Legislature would set aside resources for mental health care at the state’s public colleges and universities.

Mental health advocates say on-campus care is especially important because people often first experience psychological problems during their young adult years.

“It’s so much the age when serious mental illness manifests itself, and here we have these institutions that could absolutely be identifying this early on,” said Deborah Anderluh, a spokesperson for the Steinberg Institute, which lobbies for more funding for mental health treatment.