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September 13, 2007

FSAP program expands

Are you the caregiver for an aging parent? Are you looking for child care or adoption services? Is your emotional or physical well-being compromised at work or at home? Are you just plain stressed out by it all?

Help is available. Pitt’s faculty and staff assistance program (FSAP) is expanding its services to help Pitt employees balance work, life and wellness at home and on the job.

The confidential free services, which now include a new web portal with extensive resource information on personal and professional issues, are designed to assist current employees and their household members — regardless of their health insurance provider — with day-to-day matters at home and work.

The program also will launch a series of workshops beginning this month.

To better describe those service enhancements, the program’s name has been changed to Life Solutions, although the FSAP tag will continue to be associated with the program, and the main phone number (1-866/647-3432) and web site ( remain unchanged, according to Pitt Benefits officials.

“Right now, we’re transitioning to the name Life Solutions,” said John Kozar, Pitt director of Benefits. “We probably will be including the name FSAP in any printed or posted materials for a few years with the same phone number, because if someone is looking for immediate help they may recognize FSAP more readily and make the connection than they would the new name.”

Kozar said Pitt has an FSAP advisory committee that meets annually to discuss program modifications. “In that committee, as well as in our meetings with the benefits and welfare committee of the University Senate, we all agreed that we wanted the FSAP to have a broader scope,” Kozar said. “They’re very good at the traditional type of counseling, and that’s still needed. We wanted to very much make sure we included that in any changes.”

The small-group workshops offered by FSAP through Human Resources will continue, for example, he said. “But as we were looking at what we feel are needs for the University community, we ended up working on broadening the scope with Richard Citrin.”

Citrin is director of UPMC’s EAP Solutions, the independent provider that Pitt contracts with for professional counseling services.

Citrin told the University Times that Life Solutions includes a newly purchased service called Work Life. “Life Solutions represents a new direction for this program which will provide resources to help faculty and staff balance work, life and wellness at home and on the job,” Citrin said. “Our newest services provide resources online, by phone or in person, and are flexible enough to be close to your home or work.”

According to David Morris, EAP account manager, employees can access a host of referral services online at by clicking on the “Solution Center” link at the bottom of the web page. The site includes some 5,000 articles, 1,300 videos and 150 “analyzer tools” for assisting in factoring costs, risks and budgets.

“You can access information on child care or elder care or financial guidance or daily living needs in this same way,” Morris said.

This site also offers extensive resources — articles, surveys, documents and links, in the areas of family and caregiving, health and wellness, emotional wellbeing and working smarter. In addition, personalized consultation, research and referrals are available for adoption, education and financial concerns. Work Life consultants can be accessed by phone, email and “live chat,” Morris noted.

Data demonstrate a need for such comprehensive services, Morris added. Last year, more than 2,200 Pitt faculty and staff members utilized services either through web usage, training sessions and workshops, face-to-face counseling or supervisory consultations, Morris said.

Employees can call toll free 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and a counselor will answer questions, offer support or provide resources. Employees also can make an appointment to speak with a counselor face to face, with evening and weekend appointments available. For emergencies, a counselor is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866/647-3432.

Kozar said, “When you think of all these stressors outside of work — dealing with parents, dealing with kids, with child care, with personal health issues, with financial issues — the list can get pretty long, so I think the new name is appropriate: Life Solutions.”

According to Kozar, the Senate’s benefits and welfare committee recommended some areas for EAP Solutions to expand its services, which led to the new workshop series.

“There are several issues that came up, one being elder care,” Kozar said. “Since this is an issue that can impact many faculty and staff we thought it would be appropriate to have that as a University-wide workshop topic.”

EAP Solutions then partnered with Pitt’s Institute on Aging to design the first workshop, “No Elder Care? Know Elder Care.”

Topics will include:

• Facts and myths about growing older;

• Components of professional geriatric assessments;

• How to plan ahead;

• Personalized elder care consultations, and

• Connections to elder care resources.

The workshop is set for noon-1 p.m., Sept. 25 in the William Pitt Union Ballroom.

Other topics for workshops are in the planning stages, Kozar said. Also being planned are workshop webcasts, which employees can listen to in the privacy of their own homes and on their own timetable, he said.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 40 Issue 2

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