Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

A service, plan or set of benefits which are designed for personal or family problems, including mental health, substance abuse, gambling addiction, marital problems, parenting problems, emotional problems or financial pressures. This is usually a service provided by an employer to the employees, designed to assist employees in getting help for these problems so that they may remain on the job. EAP began with a primary drug and alcohol focus with an emphasis on rehabilitating valued employees rather than terminating them for their substance problems. It is sometimes implemented with a disciplinary program which requires that the impaired employee participate in EAP in order to retain employment. With the advent of managed care, EAP has sometimes evolved to include case management, utilization review and gatekeeping functions for the psychiatric and substance abuse health benefits.