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Is an employer health clinic right for your organization?
Is an employer health clinic right for your organization?
By Janet Teske, DNP, Director of Aurora Retail Clinics, Employer Clinics & Wellness.
 
Workplace clinics are nothing new. Decades ago, industries with high occupational injury rates often employed company doctors and nurses to treat their workers onsite. More recently, rising health care costs have prompted employers to look beyond traditional occupational health and to offer broader-based primary care for their workforces, through employer-based health clinics.
 
Is establishing an employer clinic right for your organization? Here are some things for HR professionals to consider:
 
Promoting a healthy workplace
Did you know that Aurora Health Care offers primary and preventive care services at the work site that are convenient for employees and cost-effective for employers?
 
Having easy access to health care at work can result in a healthier, more productive workforce and reduced health care costs. Through its comprehensive Employer Solutions program, Aurora is able to integrate other services, such as wellness programs, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and disease management to promote a healthy workplace.
 
Keeping your employees healthy
Aurora’s on-site providers develop strong relationships with your employees and encourage them to take control of their own health. Scope of services at an employer clinic typically include:
• Routine sports and camp physicals
• Assessment of work-related injuries
• Immunizations and screenings
• Diagnosis and treatment of acute health concerns, including coughs, sore throats, rashes, sinus symptoms and other common medical problems
• Support management of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol 

Preventive care pays big dividends

With convenient access to medical care, employees are encouraged to optimize their health to prevent illness, rather than simply treating it. Preventive visits and screenings encourage employees to be more proactive about their health and wellness.
 
An on-site clinic is a convenient way to help employees manage costly chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Aurora’s health care team can help your employees better manage these conditions and reduce unnecessary (and expensive) trips to the hospital emergency room. The on-site team works closely with employees’ primary care providers, so they stay on top of their health and chronic conditions.
 
Clinics designed to meet your needs
Nurse Practitioners or Physicians Assistants typically staff Aurora’s Employer clinics. These Advance Practice Providers are trained to:
  • Develop a care plan for each individual
  • Establish medical compliance with treatment protocols
  • Facilitate ongoing monitoring to encourage care adherence and  engagement
  • Provide patient education and accountability 
Why employers establish onsite health clinics
A recent Towers Watson survey1 listed the most compelling reasons employers have for establishing onsite clinics:
• Enhance worker productivity (62% of respondents)
• Reduce medical costs (57% of respondents)
• Create a center of health to better integrate all health productivity efforts (48% of respondents)
• Improve access to care (46% of respondents)
• Occupational health and safety needs (33% of respondents)
• Improve quality of care (16% of respondents)
 
Key questions for employers
Before establishing an employer clinic, many questions need to be answered:
• Who will be eligible to use the clinic? (employees only, or family members, too?)
• Will employees be charged for these services? (if so, how much?)
• Which medical services should the clinic offer?
• How should the clinic be staffed and managed?
• How will the costs and benefits of an on-site clinic be measured?  
• Where will the clinic be located? (onsite clinics typically require 500-2,000 square feet of available space)
• Should the clinic be a dedicated, onsite facility or in a shared space with other nearby employers, perhaps located in a nearby business park?
 
Does size matter?
In general, an employer should have at least 500 employees, concentrated in an area, with easy access to an onsite clinic. However, a survey taken by the National Association of Worksite Health Centers2 found that worksite health isn’t just for very large employers.
 
Survey results indicate that many mid-size employers are benefiting from worksite health services, too.
• 37% of respondents in the 500-1,000 employee category have an onsite/near-site clinic and 49% offer an onsite fitness center.
• 48% of respondents in the under-200 employee category have some sort of worksite health program in place, including multi-employer facilities, tele-health services and mobile units.
 
One option especially attractive to smaller employers is to partner with an established “near-site” health clinic. For example, Aurora Health Care can partner with employers to provide medical care for their employees at one of its brick-and-mortar clinics located near the workplace. This arrangement may include extended clinic hours, priority “same day” scheduling and other benefits to fit the busy lifestyles of working people.
 
One final thought
Employers today seek better value for their health care dollars. Most are looking for new ways to slow down the increases in health care costs. A growing number of employers have found that establishing an onsite or near-site health clinic is an effective cost-control strategy that improves both the health and productivity of their workforce. 
 
Sources
1. “Employers Plan to Expand Use of Onsite Health Centers,” Towers Watson, May 28, 2015.
2. “Results of 2014 National Survey of Onsite Clinic Operations and Policies,” National Association of Worksite Health Centers, Dec. 2014.
 
Janet Teske, DNP, is Aurora’s Director of Retail Clinics, Employer Clinics & Wellness. To learn more, visit aurora.org/employersolutions
 
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