What is a multi-employer clinic?

The convenience of healthcare located on an employer’s property is certainly a positive benefit for most employees. Access has been found to be one of the keys to taking advantage of healthcare services, resulting in better outcomes for the patients. However, not all companies are able to afford or have the physical space to accommodate an on-site health clinic. For those companies, another option is the multi-employer clinic. Healthcare clinics that are near the employer’s site may be contracted by several different employers to provide services for their employees. In fact, such a multi-employer, near-site clinic may actually be more convenient for employees and certainly more convenient for employees’ families. Rather than being located on-site, these clinics are located in the community where employees and their families tend to travel for shopping or other errands outside of work. Multi-employer clinics can help employers who want to offer the healthcare clinic as a benefit but who do not have the financial or logistical resources to sustain a clinic located on-site. Sharing costs with other employers can be beneficial in terms of cost savings and in terms of providing additional services that may not have been possible with a dedicated on-site clinic. Company size is not a deterrent in an employer’s desire to offer the healthcare clinic. A recent Mercer survey found that most employers, regardless of size, see the healthcare clinic as a benefit to both employees and the organization as a whole. The survey found that of those companies responding, “63% say it has successfully reduced lost work days, and 58% say it has been successful in helping members control chronic conditions.” The number of employer healthcare clinics continues to grow as their results are seen to improve productivity and reduce absenteeism. For smaller employers, especially, the multi-employer clinic offers a scalable solution to providing healthcare as a benefit.

Christian Piuma
January 17, 2018

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As employers move into on-site care could they start to decrease managed care contracts?

The increase in the number of employers offering on-site care to their employees has impacted healthcare in the US in several ways. On-site healthcare clinics can improve access to medical services which in turn encourages more employees to take advantage of those services. Healthier employees are happier and more productive. In addition, on-site clinics can actually reduce healthcare costs, for the employer as well as the employee. On the other hand, there is growing frustration among employers with managed care contracts in that they don’t seem to be impacting healthcare costs as significantly. Buyers Health Care Action Group (BHCAG) Executive Director Steve Wetzell says in Managed Care that "employers are more and more questioning if they are going to get their needs met.” He further states that “employers may as well just go right to the providers." The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) states that “managed care dollars can represent a significant percentage of a healthcare organization’s revenue” and that “strong managed care contracts can also enhance patient satisfaction because they facilitate patient access to comprehensive treatment and services.” As more employers turn to on-site healthcare clinics as a benefit for their employers, they are recognizing that option as an effective way to drive down their own costs, as well as their employees’ costs. In fact, there has even been some correlation between employers that offer “outstanding health and wellness programs,” such as on-site healthcare clinics, and their financial performance. In addition, patient access to medical services increases with the proximity of on-site clinics. Convenience is a significant factor in whether employees take advantage of the healthcare services available to them. When they access the clinic’s preventative services, they are able to realize health benefits that also benefit their employer. Employers that provide on-site care could very well start to decreased their managed care contracts, as the on-site clinics are shown to reap quality health benefits at reduced costs.

Christian Piuma
January 16, 2018

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Employers plan to expand their use of on-site and near-site employer health clinics

The number of employers offering a healthcare clinic as a benefit to their employees is expanding, as is the scope of services those clinics offer. A survey conducted by Towers Watson found that many employers who already provide on-site or near-site health clinics plan to focus more on the role the clinics play in employee wellness by expanding the services they provide. Two-thirds of the employers responding to the survey said that by 2018 they “expect to expand or enhance the already broad services they offer.” Survey participants also said they “expect their centers to play an even greater role — above and beyond their current use — in the management and coordination of employee wellness.” Many on-site and near-site employer health clinics offer “business class” care, in addition to the basics of flu shots, immunizations, and well checks. In fact, according to the survey, “wellness programs are already available at 86% of centers, and lifestyle coaching to promote and reinforce behavior changes is currently offered at nearly two-thirds (63%).” Expanded services at employer healthcare clinics include pharmacy services and telemedicine. The survey found that in 2015 “half of employer-sponsored health centers now offer some type of pharmacy services, a considerable increase from 38% in 2012.” In addition, “more than one-third (35%) offer telemedicine services, with another 12% planning to in the next two years.” On-site and near-site clinics that use electronic health records (EHRs) also offer employees more access to their own medical records as well as the opportunity to communicate with their providers at their own convenience. When employees have greater access to convenient healthcare services, they are more likely to take advantage of those services, improving outcomes for both employee and employer. As employers measure their return on investment (ROI) in on-site and near-site healthcare clinics, they are finding positive results in reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and healthier employees. Expanding services to include lifestyle management and fitness programs, for example, adds to that ROI and to their own bottom line.

Christian Piuma
January 12, 2018

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How worksite clinics enhance patient access

Everyone wants convenience. If a store is not convenient, there’s a good chance we won’t shop there unless they have something really special that we want or need. Likewise, if healthcare is not convenient, we tend to decide it’s not worth the effort to go to the primary care physician’s office. The evolution of the worksite clinic makes healthcare convenient for employees, giving them the access they need to have their healthcare needs taken care of where they work. Worksite clinics located on-site, at the employer’s facility, basically leave employees with no excuses to not seek healthcare. Employers recognize this fact as well. A 2015 Towers Watson Employer-Sponsored Health Care Centers Survey found that 66% of the employers who had on-site or near-site cited improved employee access to convenient health care services as one of their objectives in providing the services to their employees. A Towers Watson senior consultant stated, when announcing the study’s finding, that “encouraged by their experience to date, many employers with these centers believe providing convenient access to health services increases employee productivity by reducing time away from work.” Convenience and access are the keys to employees taking advantage of the healthcare services provided by the clinics. Many employers allow employees to visit worksite clinics for simple services such as immunizations, flu shots, or well checks without taking leave from their job. Often, these types of visits to the worksite clinic take little time or effort, as the clinic is located within steps of the employee’s work location. In addition, the survey found that “Many centers offer employees access during extended hours: 55 percent are open before 8 a.m., 32 percent are open after 5 p.m., and 16 percent are open on weekends.” Worksite clinics that take advantage of electronic health records (EHRs) also increase employees’ access to their medical information and to communication tools, so they can easily ask questions of their healthcare provider or seek out clarification on medications or care instructions.

Christian Piuma
January 9, 2018

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The next generation of on-site and near-site clinics

The idea of the workplace clinic has been around since the 1800s. On-site healthcare clinics have evolved quite a bit since then, of course, and are now offering expanded services such as fitness centers and life management programs. What’s next for these employer healthcare clinics? The next generation of on-site and near-site clinics promises to “drive significant reductions in healthcare costs for employers,” according to Corporate Wellness Magazine. Eight key concepts around the next generation of on-site and near-site clinics, as described in Corporate Wellness Magazine, include: At Risk Model. The risk in this model is on the healthcare provider. Clinic vendors who are willing to take some risk on their compensation may realize greater results in the end as the employer saves money on healthcare costs. Gaps in Care Analysis. Analytic software, such as electronic health records (EHRs), tracks patient data and identifies higher risk employees. Employers can then “invite” those individuals to make full use of the healthcare clinic services, including programs “designed to ensure quality care and improved outcomes.” Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). In the PCMH concept, the on-site or near-site healthcare provider acts “as a coordinator of care ensuring quality, cost effective, evidence-based medicine is delivered.” Clinical Engineering. Negotiating costs directly with providers shifts the price scenario which results in savings for employers and members. Direct negotiation also results in improved patient outcomes. Price Transparency and Patient Advocacy. When costs are negotiated and known at the time of a primary care physician’s referral, the on-site or near-site provider helps the patient make better decisions on cost-saving options for diagnostic of clinical procedures. Predictive Modeling. Healthcare clinic vendors provide predictive cost data to employers for their use in determining future benefit levels. Telemedicine. Convenience and access are key factors in the employee’s effective use of the on-site or near-site clinic. However, there are situations in which even the on-site clinic is not convenient. Telemedicine enables those employees to receive the medical evaluation and treatment they need. Wellness. On-site and near-site providers are being “cross-trained as certified health coaches and up to 15% of the visits to the clinic are being utilized as purely health coaching sessions.”

Christian Piuma
January 8, 2018

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What is the national healthy worksite program?

Employees spend at least a third of their lives at work. They operate in sedimentary jobs, sitting for long periods of time, in manual labor jobs with physical stress, and in other positions that may pose a threat to their overall health through injury or illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the challenges posed in the workplace for employees and recently implemented the National Healthy Worksite Program. Focused on a healthier workforce, the CDC states that the program was launched primarily because “implementing and expanding science-based strategies documented to effectively change unhealthy behaviors and improve health outcomes, comprehensive workplace wellness programs offer employers the opportunity not only to improve the health of their employees, but also to control health care spending driven largely by chronic diseases.” Employers are increasingly offering their employees healthcare services through on-site and near-site clinics. They have also expanded the focus of these healthcare programs to include fitness and lifestyle management programs, designed to improve employees’ overall health and reduce the occurrence of injury and illness. While most companies are concerned about absenteeism and productivity, many employers are also concerned about the health and wellbeing of their employees. The CDC has a number of resources available for employers and employees, including the Workplace Health Resource Center and the Work@Health Program, designed “with an emphasis on reducing chronic disease and injury risk and improving worker productivity.” Concerns about workplace safety, employee health, and healthcare costs are also factors in CDC’s initiatives. They cite the fact that “a 1% reduction in the following risk factors—excess weight and elevated blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol—has been shown to save $83 to $103 annually in medical costs per person, much of which could accrue to employers in reduced premiums.” These conditions and more can be addressed through worksite healthcare programs.

Christian Piuma
December 20, 2017

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Scaling up an employer clinic to include near-site clinics

Employers who offer healthcare services through on-site clinics often see positive returns on their investment. Employees have access to convenient services such as preventative care, flu shots, immunizations, and, in many instances, primary care services. The popularity of the on-site clinic is increasing among employers and employees. However, not all companies can afford to sponsor a healthcare clinic that is solely dedicated to their employees on their own property. Employer-sponsored healthcare clinics are not just for those large organizations that can afford to host an on-site facility. A positive alternative for smaller companies and for companies with multiple locations may be the near-site clinic. A near-site healthcare clinic is one that, quite simply, is located near the employer site.  The near-site clinic is an established healthcare clinic that is often used by multiple employers to provide healthcare benefits to their employees. The near-site clinic model operates with the same continuity of care standards as an on-site clinic. Additionally, the near-site clinic model is “taking on a new shape with the near-site network concept.” Rather than securing healthcare services at a clinic site near the employer’s facility, the expanded model establishes “multiple clinics in strategic geographic areas based on where employees live, taking accessibility and convenience to another level.” Employees who find that their healthcare is convenient will make more use of the services. Employer plans are generally available to family members as well, so multiple facilities located throughout the employees’ geographic base will make access more convenient for everyone. So the smallest of companies can actually scale up their healthcare benefit for their employees by reaching out to clinics in their area to determine whether they are a good fit. Employees who take advantage of near-site clinic services, particularly those who make use of electronic health records (EHRs), may become more engaged in their own healthcare, improving outcomes for employee and employer alike.

Christian Piuma
December 12, 2017

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How on-site employer health clinics can affect employer bottom line performance

Employers who invest in on-site health clinics realize returns in terms of reduced absenteeism and presenteeism (employees showing up for work even though they are ill) as well as in terms of a healthier, more productive workforce. Employers may realize an additional benefit for their bottom line, as a correlation has been shown to exist between offering healthcare programs and investment value. Though the precise return on investment (ROI) for on-site employer health clinics has been challenging to measure, many companies are seeing results and the number of clinics is increasing. Employers see positive results, for example, when offering the on-site clinic as a benefit to recruit and retain quality employees. A recent article published by News Medical reports on studies that show a correlation between employers that offer “outstanding health and wellness programs” and their financial performance. According to the article, the studies “provide evidence that effective health promotion programs favorably affect a company's stock valuation.” The studies gauged financial results against the returns on investment seen by companies on the S&P 500. One study “evaluated a strategy of investing in winners of the C. Everett Koop Award, which promotes employer achievements in improving population health cost-effectively.” The results of that study showed that investing in these companies over the course of ten years, “yielded about $22,000 more in returns, compared to the S&P 500.” Another study looked at “a strategy of investing in companies that scored high on the ‘HERO’ Scorecard—reflecting implementation of evidence-based workplace health promotion programs.” That assessment showed that over a course of six years, “stocks in the HERO portfolio appreciated by 235 percent versus 159 percent for the S&P 500.” These studies do not indicate that when an employer offers healthcare at an on-site clinic, it will directly result in that company’s increased investment offerings; however, the indication is that companies that offer such a benefit do have an overall sound financial strategy and may be healthier overall than those who do not.

Kendra Gauntlett
December 11, 2017

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Finding the right physicians for your on-site or near-site employer health clinic

The number of employer health clinics is increasing. On-site clinics, those located on the employer’s physical property, and near-site clinics, those operating in a facility close to the employer, provide services that benefit both employee and employer. Employers often use their health clinic benefit to entice and retain quality employees. Of course, employees enjoy the convenience and access of on-site or near-site healthcare. The candidate for a physician position in an employer clinic should understand that it’s a somewhat different environment from the traditional independent physician practice. The clinic is generally open during the employer’s operating hours, which in some cases could extend into the second or third shift. The focus of an employer health clinic is on improving and maintaining the employee’s health, with the end goal of reducing absenteeism and presenteeism (showing up for work when ill). Physicians who want to work in an on-site or near-site employer health clinic should be comfortable and enthusiastic about providing those services employees need most, including: Flu shots Immunizations Well checks Care for immediate, short-term illnesses Coordination with the employee’s primary care or specialty providers The right physician will also understand the population of workers as a whole. Employees may range in age from millennials to older workers, but they typically do not have Medicare or Medicaid insurance. The National Association of Worksite Health Centers estimates that 40%+ of the patients seen in employer clinics do not have their own primary care physician, relying solely on the on-site or near-site clinic for care. The ideal physician candidate should be able to make a connection with local providers, to help coordinate care for those employees. The right physician can make a difference in the quality of care provided by an on-site or near-site employer health clinic. Physician candidates should understand the environment and the needs of both employees and the employer to be successful.

Kendra Gauntlett
December 6, 2017

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The importance of population health management for employer health clinics

When working with a specific population, key trends can be tracked and used for improved outcomes. The same is true in healthcare. When a healthcare clinic is focused specifically on one population group, the trends among the members of that group can be tracked so that their healthcare plans can be optimized to be more effective. An employer health clinic treats a base population of employees and their families. Population health management can be used in those clinics to chart data and improve the quality of their care. Fred Brodsky, MD, Vice President of Population Health and Clinical Integration for Aurora Health Care, says that data analysis is the key to population health management. Dr. Brodsky says that “effective population health management requires an in depth look at the population’s current health, risk factors, patterns of care and a better understanding of the social determinants of health.” Developing a population health management strategy can be a critical element in enabling providers in employer health clinics to proactively treat employees and their families more effectively. Dr. Brodsky adds that a population health strategy is focused “on preventive care and managing chronic conditions for all members of the population group, thus reducing overall health care costs.” Employer health clinic providers can also more actively engage employees in their own healthcare plans, as part of their population health management efforts. Elation Health encourages physicians to improve their employer health clinic population health management with our Clinical First electronic health record (EHR) solution. Clinical First EHR enables physicians to easily find information that supports healthcare decisions with a comprehensive search feature that will trend relevant data. Providers can track their patients’ visits with multiple providers, including laboratories and pharmacies. Assessments and treatment plans are created intuitively, so physicians can spend more time managing their patients’ health for higher quality outcomes.

Christian Piuma
November 28, 2017

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Why on-site care is attractive to millennials

The ideal workplace for a millennial is often envisioned as an open space with scooters, 47 different kinds of free coffee, and a party atmosphere, but most employees of that generation actually want quite different benefits. With over a third of workers in America fitting into the category of millennials, those who were born in the last two decades of the 20th century, employers need to know what attracts them and retains them in the workplace. The retaining piece might be a bit more of a challenge, as millennials are admitted job-hoppers. A survey conducted by FitSmallBusiness in March 2017 found that about 42% of the millennials were looking for a new job at the time of the poll. That statistic may also be a sign of the times, though, as the days of spending 30+ years with one company are no longer. The study found that those millennials are looking for some specific benefits from their employer while they are with the company. One of those benefits is affordable healthcare coverage, which came as something of a surprise to those conducting the survey. Just over a third of the millennials participating in the survey said that healthcare is the most important benefit they look for in a new job. Reporting on the survey results, Forbes added that “more and more millennials are seeking out companies that have an onsite health clinic.” Availability and convenience are also very important to millennials when it comes to their healthcare provider. The idea of an on-site clinic where they can see a physician, receive their immunizations, and get a well check without having to take a complete sick day from work is enticing to this generation. Millennials also appreciate the technology used at on-site clinics that enables them to access their records and communicate seamlessly regarding their healthcare. Employers who provide on-site care for their employees may find that, in addition to seeing a healthy return on their investment, they are attracting more millennials to their workforce.

Kendra Gauntlett
November 20, 2017

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The history of on-site clinics

In a sense, workplace healthcare clinics have been around for a very long time, starting with the company doctor who patched up coal miners and sent them back to work. As far back as the 1800s, doctors were employed at the work site, not necessarily for the benefit of the employees but rather for the company itself. Services provided by that doctor were paid for by the employees themselves, who could not afford to be out of work for an injury or illness. Today, a growing number of employers are offering on-site healthcare as a benefit to their employees, as an incentive effective in recruiting and retaining top quality talent. Many of those companies today offer “business class” benefits as part of their on-site clinics, including fitness centers, dietitians, and weight loss management. The history of on-site healthcare clinics in the US follows the history of economic highs and lows, for the most part. During the Great Depression of the 1920s, the on-site doctor or healthcare provider was needed less as there were fewer jobs and, in fact, many businesses closed their doors completely. The model at that point was still one of employee-paid care and employees, if they were working, had very little money to spare for such things. Once the manufacturing business ramped back up, on-site healthcare once again became necessary. Employees were still primarily responsible for the costs, again with the goal of having their injury or illness treated so they would not lose time on the job. However, a trend began during this time toward employer-paid care as employer insurance started to become more commonplace. When the economy took another hit in the 1970s and 1980s, employer cutbacks again targeted the benefit of on-site healthcare. In the 21st century, however, there has been another rise in the number of employers offering on-site clinics, with Forbes reporting that 29% “of companies with 5,000 or more workers offered an on-site or nearby health clinic in 2014, up from 24% in 2012.”

Christian Piuma
November 17, 2017

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Worksite clinics are not just for mega-companies according to industry association

When we think of employer sponsored worksite health clinics that are provided as a benefit to employees, we often think of large, “mega” companies. However, a study conducted by the National Association of Worksite Health Centers (NAWHC) found that to not necessarily be the case. The number of worksite clinics is growing, among employers of all sizes. NAWHC’s study was conducted of 255 employers of varying sizes, from those in the “under 200 employees” category to those in the “greater than 25,000” category. Of the employers participating in the study, “75% said they offered some form of worksite health program or providers,” and “43% indicated that they have an onsite or near-site clinic.” As to the sizes of the employers who offer some form of worksite healthcare, the study found: 37% of respondents in the 500-1,000 employee category have an onsite/near-site clinic and 49% have 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. The return on investment (ROI) for these clinics was found not in the size of the employee base but in factors that encouraged use of the clinic. NAWHC states that the greatest return was found among those employers of all sizes who “experience high emergency room use for non-emergency conditions, show high levels of lost time from unscheduled medical issues, or have covered populations that show low utilization of existing primary care, preventive screenings or condition management programs and services.” While emergency and preventive care ranked at the top of the services offered by the clinics, about a third of those employers surveyed said that their worksite clinic offers primary care services. Most understood that patient/employee confidentiality was paramount in providing medical services, but many were unclear as to the effect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and employees’ use of a health savings account (HSA) would have on their use of the clinic as a benefit.

Kendra Gauntlett
November 6, 2017

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What exactly is a near-site clinic?

Employers are offering the healthcare services of an on-site or near-site clinic in increasing numbers as benefits for their employees. Both employer and employee are realizing returns from these benefits in terms of cost savings and improved healthcare outcomes. An on-site clinic is typically employer sponsored and physically located on the grounds of the business itself. What, though, is a near-site clinic? Smaller businesses may not have the resources to host a clinic on-site at their physical location. A quality alternative is the near-site clinic, an established healthcare clinic that is often used by multiple employers to provide healthcare benefits to their employees. As CareATC explains it, the near-site clinic is “generally located near the employer, still providing easy access to employees and their families.” Convenience and access are key factors in employees’ use of a worksite clinic. While an employer may not be able to host an on-site clinic, perhaps due to financial or logistics reasons, providing the benefit of a healthcare clinic that is nearby may prove just as beneficial for improving employee health and for saving the employer money. An alternative that may be offered with the benefit of the near-site clinic, as suggested by CareATC, is providing employees with access to a number of networked clinics, so that convenience extends to their home base. Family members entitled to the use of the clinic may actually find access easier when they have a choice of clinics located either near the employee’s workplace or near their home or school. Services provided at a near-site clinic are typically covered by the employer’s plan. The near-site clinic may provide treatment for injuries or illnesses, immunizations and preventative care, as well as primary care services. Providers at the near-site clinic will then coordinate with the employee’s healthcare provider to share medical information regarding follow-up or ongoing treatment plans.

Kendra Gauntlett
October 31, 2017

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Employers and the ROI from on-site, near-site clinic care

Employers who provide worksite health care as an employee benefit often do so in anticipation of realizing certain returns for their investment. They may look toward improved employee health, reduced absenteeism, increased retention, or better recruitment results. Sometimes they can put those returns into numbers but not always. Employers vary on their interpretation of the return on investment (ROI) they see from their on-site and near-site clinics. A Mercer survey conducted in 2015 found that employers are continuing to offer worksite clinics in increasing numbers, Affordable Care Act (ACA) uncertainties aside. When asked about their ROI on these clinics, the majority of the employers responding cited the clinic as being a success. However, very few were able to pinpoint specific numbers or data to measure their ROI. Of those employers participating in the survey, only 41% had actual ROI data. However, “63% say it has successfully reduced lost work days, and 58% say it has been successful in helping members control chronic conditions.” Absenteeism and presenteeism are important factors for employers in considering the return they see on their investments. Presenteeism occurs when employees show up for work feeling ill and then do not perform their jobs up to standards and/or infect their co-workers when they are contagious. On-site and near-site clinics offer the convenience for employees to access preventative care, immunizations, well visits, and treatment for such illnesses. Employers recognize the value in having healthy, productive employees. Employers also realize that employee utilization of their on-site or near-site clinics is one of their best ROI measures. In the Mercer survey, participating employers reported that “45% of employees, on average, used the clinic in 2014.” To encourage employees to take advantage of the clinic services, the majority of employers who have hourly employees (61%), “do not require them to clock out of work for visits to the clinic.”

Christian Piuma
October 30, 2017

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Corporate on-site, near-site clinics provide "business class" care

Employer healthcare clinics had their origin in on-site emergency treatment for factory workers and miners. Job-related injuries were more prevalent when manufacturing, steel mills, and other industries dependent on manual labor were in their prime. Often there was a “company doctor” who treated workers, at the workers’ expense, so they could get back to their jobs as quickly as possible. The idea of the employer clinic has morphed significantly into today’s on-site and near-site clinic that provides preventative services, immunizations, primary care, and a host of other services for employees. Today’s on-site and near-site clinics offer much more than treatment of workplace injuries. Corporate clinics have elevated to the level of “business class” care. Many companies offer a wide range of services, in addition to the basic medical care provided by these clinics. Ongoing wellness and life management programs are prevalent among the large corporations on Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. Fitness centers, dietitians, and weight loss management are often provided to corporate employees as well as to their dependents, in a number of cases. On-site medical care may also include stress management programs appropriate for managers and executives in a corporate setting. Additional programs may include smoking cessation and other health-focused classes. The employer healthcare clinic that once was focused on treating employees with the sole purpose of getting them back to work now includes a wider range of preventative and health management services designed to “lower medical costs for companies, encourage better long-term employee health, reduce absenteeism, and improve productivity,” according to Fortune. Of course, other aspects of the employer clinic have improved along the way. Employees are now assured that their treatment and their medical information are kept private and secure, in compliance with HIPAA regulations. They may also find that their medical records are maintained electronically, aiding them in accessing their own information and in sharing it with their primary care or specialty provider, a significant move toward business class care.

Kendra Gauntlett
October 26, 2017

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Legal considerations for employer worksite clinics

Employees who access the healthcare services at an employer’s on-site or near-site clinic may be concerned about the privacy and security of their medical information. They may also have questions about what happens to their medical benefits under COBRA, if they were to leave the company. For the employer, there are a number of other legal considerations for their worksite clinics. Employees can be assured that their medical records detailing visits for preventative and primary care at an employer worksite clinic are protected under HIPAA regulations. When the clinic uses electronic health records (EHRs), employees’ data is considered to be electronic protected health information (ePHI) covered under those same HIPAA restrictions. COBRA provides an option for employees to continue with their group health plan coverage after they leave the company. Worksite clinics are considered group coverage, under COBRA, if they do not provide: Primarily first aid for injury or illness that is a result of a workplace incident Healthcare only to current employees Treatment free of charge to employees For the employer offering a worksite clinic to employees, legal considerations include: Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (‘‘ERISA’’) - a report in Bloomberg BNA describes the worksite clinic’s responsibilities under ERISA, “if the on-site clinic is providing more robust services, such as preventive care services, primary care services, screenings, diagnostic services and wellness exams,” as “fiduciary and reporting and disclosure requirements.” Affordable Care Act (ACA) - although in flux, there are certain regulations and requirements that may apply to a worksite clinic if it is “deemed to be an employer group health plan for purposes of ERISA.” W-2 reporting and the Cadillac tax are two important considerations for the employer under ACA. State laws - some states regulate whether a corporation can hire or “control” a physician. There may also be state laws pertaining to the physical site, requiring a separate entrance or specific signage for the worksite clinic.

Christian Piuma
October 24, 2017

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What exactly is workplace wellness?

Understandably, employers view workplace wellness in different terms than do employees. Although employers have traditionally provided healthcare coverage as an employment benefit, they typically are more focused on having employees that show up for work and are productive. Employees, on the other hand, want access to care that this is affordable and accessible. Corporate Wellness Magazine points out that employers recognize that they have a role in workplace wellness efforts because: Healthier employees have fewer accidents and are more productive Healthier employees show up for work more often, reducing the organization’s absenteeism rate The organization’s overall healthcare costs are lower when employees are healthy If the employer offers a good wellness program, it will help in attracting and retaining quality talent. Clearly, that is not the entire workplace wellness picture. The definition of a “good wellness program” is not clear among many employers. Even with employer efforts to provide quality healthcare coverage for their employees, Corporate Wellness points out that the US has “most expensive health care system in the world, with some of the worst health outcomes.” Chronic illness is a significant contributor to those costs and outcomes, even though over 80 percent of chronic illness is preventable. True workplace wellness focuses on preventative care. Wellness is not simply treating symptoms; rather, it is preventing illness. Worksite clinics that offer primary care, immunizations, well checks, and other preventative services can contribute to the overall level of workplace wellness for an employer and its employees. Of course, employees must be encouraged to use their healthcare benefits. In the case of on-site clinics, employees may hesitate to take advantage of the convenient medical services out of fear that their employer will have access to their medical records. Wellness programs such as fitness classes, weight management and smoking cessation clinics, can also contribute to the quality of wellness among employees in the workplace. These quality outcomes can positively impact employers, who are focused on decreasing absenteeism and increasing productivity, as well as their employees, who can realize true wellness as a result of using their workplace benefits for preventative care.

Kendra Gauntlett
October 20, 2017

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The impact of on-site and near-site employer clinics on healthcare as a whole

The number of employers offering the benefit of an on-site or near-site clinic to their employees is increasing. Employers find that the clinics offer cost savings for the organization and employees enjoy the convenient access to healthcare. There are a number of other advantages to the on-site and near-site employer clinic, most notably in the area of healthcare outcomes. Access is key in healthcare. Employees who have access to an on-site or near-site clinic tend to take advantage of those services more often. Employer clinics that offer preventative services, including immunizations and screenings, can have a significant impact on the healthcare outcomes of those employees. The occurrence of absenteeism and presenteeism, those employees who still go to work even though they feel ill, decreases for employees with access to preventative and treatment services. A recent study in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing examined the benefits of employer clinics, in terms of healthcare expenditures and outcomes. The study found that physicians at on-site and near-site clinics “have been successful in working with employees to comply with evidence-based medical guidelines for diagnostic screening.” The earlier a condition is detected, the more positive the healthcare outcomes. Employer clinics are also effective in managing chronic conditions, by coordinating with the employee’s primary care provider. Employees may be more likely to visit the on-site or near-site clinic that is convenient to their workplace, to check blood pressure and glucose levels. With a convenient clinic available, they are less likely to have to take a significant amount of leave time to be able to visit the provider’s office for such diagnostic tests. Monitoring an employee’s medications and healthcare progress can also be done effectively at employer clinics. When the clinic uses electronic health records (EHRs) to maintain visit notes and to communicate with the patient and with the patient’s other healthcare providers, the quality of care improves as well.

Christian Piuma
October 16, 2017

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What are some of the services your worksite clinic should be offering to employees?

Employees may see on-site health clinics as a place to go for emergency services, flu shots, or other one-time needs. However, many worksite clinics operate as full-service primary care facilities. A survey conducted by Mercer in 2015 found “29% of employers with 5,000 or more employees provided an onsite or near-site clinic offering primary care services.” The survey also found that immunizations and screenings are the most common services provided by employer clinics, but that most of those clinics provide many more services to employees. Additional services and the percentages of clinics that offer those services include: Urgent care - 73% Preventive care exams - 71% Chronic disease management - 63% Pharmacy services - 38% Mental health / Employee assistance program (EAP) counseling - 26% Biometric screenings - 77% Face-to-face chronic condition coaching - 60% Smoking cessation programs - 50% Weight management programs - 56% Your worksite clinic should consider offering these services as part of a medical home for employees, which, according to Mercer, “allows employers to offer a greater level of care to the higher-risk, medically challenging employees and dependents who typically account for the largest portion of health care spending.” In the 2015 survey, 26% of the respondents used the worksite clinic as their medical home and another 11% were considering it. In addition, “about half the respondents (49%) say that members are allowed to select the clinic as their primary care provider.” Employees enjoy the convenience of access to healthcare services at an onsite clinic. Another service that would prove beneficial to employees is the use of electronic health records (EHRs). Offering employees that convenient access to their medical information and to communication tools that enable them to ask questions and receive further instructions can further engage them in their healthcare plans and outcomes.

Christian Piuma
October 10, 2017

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Study shows the cost savings on employer worksite clinics

On-site and near-site clinics have been shown to be beneficial to both employees and employers. Employees have convenient access to medical care that ranges from treatment of workplace injuries to immunizations to full primary care, sometimes for their dependents as well. Employers realize reduced absenteeism, improved productivity, and healthier employees. Worksite clinics also result in cost savings for employers, in financial terms. A prime example of the cost savings is the more than $700,000 in healthcare savings realized by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as reported in 2015. State employees who accessed care through four on-site clinics provided in the capital of Frankfort cost their employer $38.53 per visit, as compared to $85 per visit to other primary care physicians. A separate study published in The American Journal of Managed Care in 2015 found that the world’s largest privately held software company, SAS, realized cost savings when employees used their on-site healthcare center (HCC) consistently rather than casually. The study also found that companies such as SAS, Mead Corporation, and Southwire “experienced cost savings … when providing on-site healthcare to employees in their larger locations.” The study included Syngenta, a biotechnology company. Syngenta’s “worksite clinic was found to provide its employee healthcare services 66% less expensively than it would have cost to provide similar healthcare services off-site.” Overall, the study found that, among the companies analyzed, “primary care costs for patients seeking care from a worksite medical home were 42% lower than for patients seeking care from community providers.” Other cost savings resulting from employer worksite clinics include reductions in the amount of time employees spend going to see a physician. With on-site healthcare services, many employees can easily and efficiently seek out care without losing a significant amount of time on the job. A reduction in lost work hours translates into cost savings as well. When the worksite clinics offer immunizations and preventative services, absenteeism is also reduced and the employer’s cost savings is increased.

Kendra Gauntlett
October 9, 2017

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What the research says about site clinics

Employers continue to offer on-site clinics to their workforce as an added benefit and as a way to cut healthcare costs. Forbes reports that 29% “of companies with 5,000 or more workers offered an on-site or nearby health clinic in 2014, up from 24% in 2012.” Forbes adds that, in 2016, over 40 companies listed on “Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For” provided on-site health care for their employees. Research conducted by Louise C. O’Keefe, PhD, CRNP, and Faye Anderson, DNS, RN, NEA-BC, and published in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, indicates that these on-site clinics provide a number of benefits to employers and employees alike. Their study discusses several ways in which on-site healthcare is making a difference: Decreasing costs. Employees who have access to on-site healthcare generally pay a low, or no, co-pay. For the employer, the costs of absenteeism due to illness can be reduced when employees have more convenient access to a healthcare facility. Increasing preventive care. Convenience is also a significant factor in employees accessing preventive care and immunizations. Increasing ability to manage chronic conditions. On-site clinics can coordinate with an employee’s primary care provider for more effective management of that employee’s chronic condition, resulting in improved care and reduced expenses. Increasing diagnostic screening and early detection. Providers at on-site clinics have been successful with encouraging employees to comply with established guidelines for screenings. The research suggests this effect “is mainly attributed to a better patient–provider relationship, likely influenced by having the provider and employee working in the same place.” Establishing wellness programs. On-site wellness programs have been shown to “positively influence employee morale, retention, and productivity.” Facilitating trusting relationships among employees. When a healthcare clinic is located on the workplace site, the providers and staff tend to have a better understanding of the needs of that company’s employees. Physicians are able to communicate with patients, guiding them through recovery plans designed to “get the employee back to health and back to work.” The research has shown that on-site healthcare clinics provide benefits for employers and employees. The employee saves money, enjoys convenient access to healthcare, and tends to be more involved in preventive care. The employer also can see a positive return on investment (ROI), both financially and in terms of reduced absenteeism and healthier employees.

Christian Piuma
October 3, 2017

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What is the Cadillac tax and how does it affect on-site and near-site employer health clinics?

Among the many aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that continue to be in flux is the “Cadillac” tax on employers. The ACA’s high cost plan tax (HCPT) would impose a 40% excise tax on employers for healthcare plans offered to their employees that exceed $10,200 in premiums per year for individuals and $27,500 for families. The Cadillac tax was originally scheduled to take effect in 2018 but has been delayed until 2020. There is now uncertainty as to whether that will be extended until 2025 or whether the tax will be repealed. The continuing debate over the ACA and its potential replacement may impact the implementation of the tax as well. If it remains intact and does take effect within the next few years, how does this tax affect employers offering on-site and near-site health clinics? It appears the Cadillac tax will actually have very little impact on employers’ decisions to offer on-site and near-site clinics, as the benefits for them outweigh the costs. As reported in Forbes, “Employers are taking a long-term view of worksite clinics as a way to control healthcare costs.” Employers continue to offer these clinics to their employees in growing numbers. Employers who offer on-site and near-site clinics as employees see it as a benefit for their employees’ overall health, which proves to also benefit the employer. Employees who have access and become engaged in their own healthcare, including preventative care, tend to be healthier with higher productivity and lower absenteeism. On-site clinics have also proven to be helpful in managing employees’ chronic conditions effectively. Even with the Cadillac tax looming, employers still see the on-site and near-site clinic as being a cost-effective option for providing healthcare to their employees. In fact, David Keyt, a Mercer principal, says that “the cost of offering a clinic is usually low single digits as a percentage of the overall healthcare spend for a given employer.”

Kendra Gauntlett
October 2, 2017

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Ideas for wellness initiatives at your on-site or near-site employer health clinic

A number of employer health clinics provide immunizations, screening services, and treatment for emergencies such as workplace injuries. Most also provide basic primary care services, including wellness checks. Employees use their health clinic to get flu shots and for urgent care, as well as for their medical home when they do not have a primary care physician. You can set your employer health clinic apart from the rest by offering wellness initiatives, above and beyond these basic services, that will benefit both the employee and the employer. Life management programs, such as for smoking cessation and weight management, can help employees become healthier and can help employers realize lower healthcare costs. A fitness center at the on-site clinic can augment the effects of these life management programs, by encouraging employees to not only give up bad habits but also to establish new, healthier habits. Laitram Machinery, for example, found that by offering a fitness and nutrition center through their on-site clinic “employee visits to hospital emergency rooms have dropped 26% since 2010, and nearly 8 in 10 workers have seen improvement on at least one measure of health, such as blood pressure, cholesterol or body fat percentage.” Other initiatives that can be offered include assessing workplace environments for healthy ergonomics. An on-site clinic can review the way employees work, how their furniture is set up, and whether their chronic conditions, such as neck or back aches, could be caused by the way they sit, lift, or otherwise perform their daily work routines. An important initiative to offer in an on-site or near-site employer health clinic is the use of electronic health records (EHRs). Employees who are able to access their medical information securely and easily will become more engaged in their own healthcare. Knowing that they can ask questions, get clarifications on medications or instructions, and become more knowledgeable about their health status will encourage them to become more involved in improving their outcomes.

Christian Piuma
October 2, 2017

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3 metrics successful employer health clinics need to track

How does an employer truly know when an on-site health clinic is successful? What does it mean to be successful? The impact of an employer’s investment in on-site healthcare services may be difficult to measure, particularly in regard to the value the employer may receive for its financial investment. However, there are three metrics, as suggested by HealthStat, that an employer may want to track around the performance of its on-site clinic. 1. Level of access. One metric that will help an employer understand whether an on-site clinic is performing appropriately for employee needs is to determine whether employees are actually using the clinic’s services. Access is one of the key benefits of offering an on-site clinic to employees. Generally, people who have greater access to healthcare are more likely to use those services. Without breaching HIPAA regulations, the employer should examine the clinic utilization records. Are employees accessing the services once or on an ongoing basis? Why are they visiting the clinic? Are they only going when they are ill or are they taking advantage of preventative services? 2. Population health status. To determine how the on-site clinic is impacting the overall health outcomes for the employee population, the employer can, according to HealthStat, “trend quality measures for the top conditions, as well as general measures for preventive care, to help assess whether clinic visits are leading to improved care compliance.” 3. Cost management. The third metric focuses on analyzing the cost of the healthcare delivery provided by the on-site clinic. The employer should measure direct as well as indirect costs. Examples of indirect costs include absenteeism and productivity rates that are impacted by the level of healthcare the employees are receiving. Reduced rates of hospitalizations and reduced costs of routine lab tests and procedures also factor in this metric. In addition, the “clinic’s impact on chronic condition management may also lead to reductions in inpatient and emergency department utilization,” which can result in reduced overall healthcare costs for the employee and the employer.

Kendra Gauntlett
October 2, 2017

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Employer health and the transition to value-based care

A concern among employers in today’s healthcare environment is that their employees are not able to afford quality care. They want their employees healthy and realize that when healthcare costs are out of reach, employees simply won’t access the care they need. Employers need healthy employees to help reduce their own costs, to maintain a quality level of productivity, and to reduce absenteeism. In general, the current transition to value-based care is welcome news to most employers, with its focus on quality care at the physician’s office and cost containment for both employer and employee. Large employers indicate, according to a recent article in the Washington Post that “the cost of health-care plans will grow 5 percent next year, to an average cost of more than $14,000 per employee.” A survey conducted of 148 employers found that “employers will shoulder approximately 70 percent of those health costs, leaving employees on the hook for an average of $4,400.” A new partnership between the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) and the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH), called the DRIVE Health Initiative, has launched a campaign to “decrease costs, improve quality and vitalize the economy through value-based care.” DRIVE, an acronym for Deliver Results, Innovation and Value for Everyone, has as its main goal, accelerating “value-based care by working with the government to reduce unproductive regulations and implement market-based purchasing strategies.” Employers recognize that employees often do not have access to quality healthcare, because of the costs or because of logistics. Convenience can also be a key factor and so a growing number of employers are offering on-site health clinics as benefits for their employees. Value-based care provided at these on-site health centers can help entice employees to engage more in their own healthcare plan, resulting in improved outcomes for both the employee and the employer.

Christian Piuma
September 25, 2017

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Addressing common misconceptions about employer health clinics

Employers are realizing the many benefits of providing on-site health clinics for their employees and the number of employer health clinics continues to grow. However, since healthcare coverage offered by an employer has traditionally been in the form of subsidized insurance, many questions still arise around the health clinic, among employees and potential employees in particular. A recent article in TwineHealth outlined six common misconceptions employees might have about employer health clinic: It doesn’t exist: Employees who don’t see it or use it every day may not understand how the clinic works. All employees need to be fully informed about the availability of the clinic and their benefits in regard to using the clinic. It costs a lot of money: Employees also need to fully understand what their costs will be to use the clinic. What kind of benefit do they have? Are certain services, such as preventative care, covered as they would be at their primary care physician’s office? Explain to employees in detail what they can expect in regard to their costs for the clinic’s services. Employee health information will not remain private: Many employees suspect that their employers might use their health information against them if they use an employer health clinic. Employees need to be reassured that medical records are covered by HIPAA privacy and security regulations, even when the employer is sponsoring the health clinic. The clinic is only for flu shots and band-aids: Employees may think that the clinic is only available for certain peripheral services. Detailed information should be provided to employees that outlines exactly what services are provided at the clinic. The clinic is only meant for certain types of employees: Administrative staff may believe the clinic provides services that are more appropriate for factory workers, for example. The employer can reassure everyone that the clinic is provided as a benefit for all employees. Clinic services are not as good as the employee’s regular doctor’s office: Information about services offered at the clinic can help clear up this misconception as well. Particularly if the clinic uses technology such as electronic health records (EHRs), employees can be reassured that clinic staff provide quality healthcare services for all employees.

Kendra Gauntlett
September 25, 2017

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Tips for measuring on-site employer health clinics ROI

An employer may offer on-site healthcare to its employees for a number of reasons. The on-site clinic is a benefit for employees and helps to entice potential job candidates. The employer generally also benefits from having available healthcare on-site, as employees who take advantage of the clinic services tend to be healthier and have lower absenteeism rates. An employer must look at a number of factors, to truly measure its return on investment (ROI) in the on-site health clinic. ROI is measured in different ways, particularly in the healthcare field. In addition, the employer’s initial investment may take several years to produce significant results. However, employers generally are looking for financial outcomes when reviewing their ROI. They want to reduce the cost of the healthcare benefits they provide to their employees and see the on-site clinic as a way to ensure employees have convenient access to healthcare services. In a 2015 survey conducted by Mercer, 85% of the employers who offered on-site clinics to their employees said it was a success. Respondents pointed to increased productivity and healthier employees as their measure. Of those employers who offer on-site clinics, “63% say it has successfully reduced lost work days, and 58% say it has been successful in helping members control chronic conditions.” Despite these positive results, less than half of the survey respondents, 41%, were able to provide ROI data. “An ROI of 1.00 to 1.99 was most common (23% of respondents reported ROI in this range), and 13% percent reported an ROI of 2.00 or higher.  Only 5% have an ROI of less than 1.00.” There are a number of options for evaluating the impact the on-site clinic. Employee usage is a key factor. When employees take advantage of the basic services such as check-ups, preventive medicine, and immunizations, they tend to be healthier and more productive at work. When on-site physicians coordinate care with the employees’ primary care or specialty providers, treatment for more complex conditions is more effective. The efficiency of healthcare services provided by the on-site clinic can be a factor in measuring ROI as well. When the clinic takes advantage of technology such as electronic health records (EHRs) in maintaining patient data, the employer is likely to realize cost savings in its healthcare spending and, more importantly, the on-site physicians will be able to provide higher quality healthcare to the employees.

Kendra Gauntlett
September 18, 2017

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The potential for behavioral health-focused on-site and near-site employer health clinics

A number of on-site and near-site employer clinics offer additional services to help improve employees’ overall lifestyles. These programs are often focused on helping those employees to quit smoking or becoming more physically fit. Services to help employees with mental health issues are usually part of employee assistance programs (EAPs), provided as an optional benefit. According to some experts, it may be time to include those behavioral health services as an integral part of the on-site or near-site health clinic. Dr. Phillip Franklin, MD, MPH, HealthStat Medical Director, writes that research “suggests that the negative impact of poor employee mental health can be mitigated when these issues are addressed early on.” Mental health not only affects the patient but also impacts others in the workplace, particularly in “environments where tight deadlines and low work-life balance are the norm.” According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), “approximately 80% of persons with depression reported some level of functional impairment because of their depression, and 27% reported serious difficulties in work and home life.” Of those, “only 29% of all persons with depression reported contacting a mental health professional in the past year, and among the subset with severe depression, only 39% reported contact.” Behavioral health issues can affect absenteeism and productivity as much as physical health issues. Providing access to behavioral health services in an on-site or near-site clinic and removing the stigma from such services can vastly improve the overall health environment in the workplace. One concern of the employee seeking healthcare services for a behavioral health issue may be that stigma that is so often associated with mental health. Elation Health is dedicated to supporting on-site and near-site clinics with the electronic health record (EHR) technology they need to ensure that all healthcare records are secure, so physicians can deliver quality healthcare and patients can be assured their records remain confidential and safe. Research has shown that patient engagement improves healthcare outcomes. The convenience of the on-site and near-site employer health clinic may encourage more employees to seek and becoming actively engaged in treatment for their behavioral health issues. Asking the right questions of the clinic to ensure it is providing the services needed by the employees is critical to determining whether behavioral services are appropriate and can be provided by the clinic.

Christian Piuma
September 18, 2017

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How to get employees excited about on-site and near-site health clinics

Employer on-site clinics seem like the perfect solution for everyone. They save money for both the employers and the employees, they are convenient, and they help keep employees healthy who might otherwise miss work because of illnesses. Why, then, do many employees not take advantage of these clinics? What are some effective ways for employers to encourage on-site clinic participation from their employees? Employees might be skeptical of on-site or near-site clinics for a number of reasons. Their main concern appears to be the issue of confidentiality. A recent post on the Occupational Health & Safety site points out that employees worry about employers using the information against them when they use an on-site clinic to treat an illness. Employees may also doubt the sincerity of an employer’s purpose in providing on-site or near-site healthcare. When company leaders do not take advantage of the clinic and company vending machines continue to offer unhealthy “junk” food, it sends a mixed message to employees. Communicating reassurances and benefits is a significant first step in getting employees excited about using the services of an on-site or near-site health clinic. Communications via email, intranet, posters, and face-to-face meetings can serve to address employee concerns and point out the rewards for the employees in using these services. Confidential concerns are the easiest to address. All health records, regardless of whether they are created and maintained on-site or in an independent provider’s office, are protected by HIPAA regulations. Medical information cannot be shared without the patient’s explicit written permission. In addition, on-site clinics generally save the employees money. Services at these clinics are typically offered with lower, or even non-existent, co-pays and deductibles. Research published by the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing points out that employees benefit from on-site clinics as they “receive prompt medical services, pay reduced co-pays, decrease the amount of time away from work, and maintain work productivity.” When company leaders set the example by visiting the on-site clinics for their healthcare services, employees will be more inclined to get excited about doing so as well. The example of quality healthcare should permeate throughout the organization, including at the vending machine and in the cafeteria. Employees will also get excited about the reduced wait times associated on-site clinics that take advantage of tools such as EHRs. These physicians are able to provide more efficient service, as they are able to access patient information via a cloud-based system, rather than continuously searching through paperwork. Patient communication is streamlined and more secure, ensuring the level of confidentiality employees need in their on-site clinic services. There are many benefits to using an on-site clinic. With the right message, targeted toward the employees’ specific concerns, it is possible to get them excited about taking advantage of those benefits.

Kendra Gauntlett
September 18, 2017

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Understanding how onsite and near site clinics create a healthier workplace environment

The option of offering an on-site or near-site health clinic as a benefit for employees is becoming more popular among employers. Provided as part of their healthcare package, the employer clinic is popular among employees and is a draw for potential candidates. A 2015/2016 Global Staying@Work Survey, conducted by Willis Towers Watson, found that “half of employees participate in health risk assessments and use an onsite or near-site health clinic.” The survey was conducted of 1,669 employers in 34 markets around the world. These on-site and near-site clinics contribute to the health of employees who take advantage of their services and generally create a healthier workplace environment. There are a number of factors involved in the clinic’s ability to create a healthier workplace: Access. People who have easy access to healthcare tend to use it. Employer sponsored clinics provide their employees, and sometimes employees’ families, access to preventative care, immunizations, well-checks, as well as timely treatment for minor injuries and illnesses. Reassuring employees that their healthcare records are protected under HIPAA, even at an employer clinic, will help to encourage them to access these services. Convenience. With on-site or near-site clinics, there is less need to take time away from work to visit the doctor. Employees who are able to visit a physician that is minutes from their workplace tend to use the clinic’s services more as well. Absenteeism / Presenteeism. When employees have the access and convenience they need for preventative and treatment visits, their absenteeism rate decreases. Perhaps more importantly, the rate of “presenteeism” decreases. Employees who do not have ready access to treatment tend to go to work feeling ill or injured, as they don’t want to take the time off to heal. Reducing presenteeism is a significant factor in creating a healthier workplace environment. Lifestyle programs. In addition to basic healthcare services, many on-site and near-site clinics also provide programs that help employees live a healthier lifestyle overall. These may include smoking cessation or fitness programs. Engaging employees in their overall healthcare outcomes definitely helps to improve the health of the workplace environment. Care coordination. Collaborating with the employee’s primary care or specialty physicians is also an important factor in creating a healthier workplace environment. Coordination includes communication with the employee and other providers to ensure the employee’s treatment plan is effective and is being followed appropriately.

Christian Piuma
September 7, 2017

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The impact of technology on employees’ wellness

Technology has become prevalent in the workplace, from smartphones to cloud storage. Employees use technology to communicate with each other and with clients. In many cases, they are also able to take advantage of technology when engaging in their healthcare efforts, to communicate with their primary care provider, to track their fitness activities, and to monitor their healthcare progress. What impact does technology have on employee wellness? Technology can definitely have a significant impact on employee wellness, in many ways. Employees who are able to use technology to record, track, and monitor their own health and fitness efforts tend to be more engaged and more focused on positive outcomes. Further, employers who use technology to encourage participation in wellness programs or on-site health clinics see improved results from their efforts. An ADP Research Institute study found that “72 percent of employees surveyed felt positively about their organizations using technology to measure and impact employee well-being.” Those tools may include fitness bands that track activity, mobile apps that monitor health, and access to intranets or other internal communications that encourage and reward participation in wellness activities. Employers who offer an on-site clinic may also see improved engagement and improved outcomes among their employees, particularly if those clinics use electronic health records (EHRs). An EHR system with a patient portal enables employees to automatically have access to visit summaries from each visit and can reference the physician’s instructions anytime. When the on-site employer clinic uses a technology tool such as Elation’s Clinical First EHR, employees have access to their critical health information – allergies, problems, history, current medications, immunizations, legal and specialists - and are able to share it with specialty providers or their primary care provider who would find it helpful to facilitate care. Employees can easily view their clinical information on their smartphone.

Kendra Gauntlett
September 7, 2017

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The potential for behavioral health-focused onsite and nearsite employer health clinics

A number of on-site and near-site employer clinics offer additional services to help improve employees’ overall lifestyles. These programs are often focused on helping those employees to quit smoking or becoming more physically fit. Services to help employees with mental health issues are usually part of employee assistance programs (EAPs), provided as an optional benefit. According to some experts, it may be time to include those behavioral health services as an integral part of the on-site or near-site health clinic. Dr. Phillip Franklin, MD, MPH, HealthStat Medical Director, writes that research “suggests that the negative impact of poor employee mental health can be mitigated when these issues are addressed early on.” Mental health not only affects the patient but also impacts others in the workplace, particularly in “environments where tight deadlines and low work-life balance are the norm.” According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), “approximately 80% of persons with depression reported some level of functional impairment because of their depression, and 27% reported serious difficulties in work and home life.” Of those, “only 29% of all persons with depression reported contacting a mental health professional in the past year, and among the subset with severe depression, only 39% reported contact.” Behavioral health issues can affect absenteeism and productivity as much as physical health issues. Providing access to behavioral health services in an on-site or near-site clinic and removing the stigma from such services can vastly improve the overall health environment in the workplace. One concern of the employee seeking healthcare services for a behavioral health issue may be that stigma that is so often associated with mental health. Elation Health is dedicated to supporting on-site and near-site clinics with the electronic health record (EHR) technology they need to ensure that all healthcare records are secure, so physicians can deliver quality healthcare and patients can be assured their records remain confidential and safe. Research has shown that patient engagement improves healthcare outcomes. The convenience of the on-site and near-site employer health clinic may encourage more employees to seek and becoming actively engaged in treatment for their behavioral health issues. Asking the right questions of the clinic to ensure it is providing the services needed by the employees is critical to determining whether behavioral services are appropriate and can be provided by the clinic.

Kendra Gauntlett
September 7, 2017

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Trends in employer health for 2017

With an uncertain future for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), trends in healthcare have become a challenge to predict. However, there are certain areas that employers will undoubtedly address and be affected by, as we move through 2017. One trend that continues to be certain is that healthcare costs are rising. In response, many employers are offering high deductible plans for employees so they can keep their premiums down. Lower plan costs also help employers reduce their healthcare-related expenses. US News & World Report cites the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Education Trust 2016 Employer Health Benefits Survey as showing “that annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage amounted to $18,142 this year [2016], up 3 percent from last year.” There is also a trend toward preventive health and wellness programs. Many employers have recognized that offering on-site programs, such as fitness classes or nutrition education, can keep their employees healthier, which benefits everyone. A number of employers also offer on-site clinics and that trend continues, even though it dipped somewhat. A research report published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 2017 Employee Benefits, shows a slight increase in on-site medical clinics, among those employers surveyed, from 8% in 2015 to 10% in 2016. However, the number dipped back to 8% in 2017. Elation Health is dedicated to helping employer on-site clinics provide the highest quality care for their patients, to ensure that employee and employer can benefit. Our electronic health record (EHR) system enables clinic staff to focus on their patient care instead of being bogged down in paperwork and administrative work. Wellness, cost, and convenience are important factors for employers and employees, and are all evident in the trends for employer health in 2017. Employers are more receptive to the ideas of ancillary benefits such as dental, vision, and accident insurance. Additional healthcare options that are becoming more popular among employers include telemedicine and assistance with navigating the healthcare system.

Kendra Gauntlett
August 31, 2017

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Comparing and contrasting on-site clinics and direct primary care

Employers typically offer benefits to their employees in the form of health care coverage. That coverage can take many forms beyond the traditional health insurance program. A number of employers provide on-site clinics for their employees and some are starting to offer direct primary care (DPC) physician services as their healthcare benefits. What are the differences between these two options? Convenience is a significant factor in both the on-site clinic and the DPC model. Employees who have access to an on-site clinic enjoy the benefits of being able to see their physician and, in many cases, have lab tests done, at their employers’ physical site. The need to take a day off from work is virtually eliminated when the clinic is only steps away. A DPC practice generally provides quick and convenient access to the physician as well. The DPC model is supported through patient membership fees, which the employer would pay when offering as a benefit to employees. In return, patients are provided with personalized care, including focused attention and communication with their primary care provider during and after their visit. Physicians in a DPC practice see fewer patients per month and are able to give each patient more time per visit. Patient-focused care is at the heart of the DPC practice. With no per-visit fees or co-pays, the administrative burden is significantly reduced so there is more time to focus on each patient. An on-site clinic may be seen as focused on the organization’s employees, so family members may not feel as comfortable visiting the physician there. Employees are not able to use their Health Savings Accounts (HSA) for any DPC fees that would not be covered by their employers. On-site clinics are covered by more traditional insurance plans that might enable employees to take advantage of the HSA program. Both the on-site clinic and the DPC practice are focused on providing quality healthcare to their patients, including coordinating care with other providers that might be treating the employees.

Christian Piuma
August 25, 2017

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Staffing your on-site or near-site employer clinic

Employer clinics offer convenience for employees, help reduce costs for employers and employees, and may even encourage some employees to take a more active role in their own healthcare. An on-site or near-site employer clinic generally provides basic preventive and diagnostic services. Additional services, such as a pharmacy, an x-ray facility, nutritional counseling, or an on-site lab may also be offered. How you determine staffing needs for your on-site or near-site employer clinic depends on which services you will offer and which model you use for your operations. A recent article from Twine Health offers a list of suggestions for basic staffing needs: A practitioner. Depending on state laws and your operating model, the practitioner could be a primary care physician, a Nurse Practitioner (NP), Physician’s Assistant (PA), or even a Registered Nurse (RN). A health coach. The coach is a separate person who works with patients to keep them motivated toward making the right choices and becoming engaged in their healthcare plan. The role could be filled by a certified health coach or an RN. Patient communication is a key aspect of the health coach’s role. The clinical support team. This is the group of people responsible for patient management. They will include a Medical Assistant (MA) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) who can take blood, assist patients to and from exam rooms, and generally keep the flow of the clinic moving smoothly and keep patients happy. A specialty provider. If your clinic offers ancillary services such as nutritional counseling, a pharmacy, or a lab, you will need the appropriate staff for these areas of care. The primary care practitioner will need to collaborate with the specialty providers to ensure quality coordinated care for the patient. The operational support team. Your clinic cannot run efficiently without a quality team responsible for billing, scheduling, and other administrative tasks essential for practice management. Depending on your operational model and your state’s laws, you may need to staff your on-site or near-site employer clinic with some or all of these team members.

Christian Piuma
August 21, 2017

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How to evaluate an onsite employer health clinic

An on-site health clinic can benefit both employer and employees. Or can it? While interest in employer sponsored on-site health clinics has increased in recent years, the employer must be able to evaluate the clinic as to its effectiveness in driving down costs and increasing employee health outcomes. Evaluating the on-site employer health clinic involves doing some research into the types of services offered, the type of services used by employees, and the data associated with costs for the employer and employees. The employer can do research to determine if employees are taking advantage of the services offered by the clinic. Without violating HIPAA regulations, find out which services are being used the most. For example, are employees being treated more for cold symptoms or for more complex conditions? Are most of the visits for preventative services? Given this information, it can also then be determined whether the on-site clinic is staffed appropriately for the employees’ needs. Assessing whether the clinic uses electronic health records (EHRs) to provide more efficient services can help in the evaluation process as well. Those records can further provide the data necessary to more fully determine whether the clinic is reducing costs and improving absenteeism. These records can also help the employer evaluate whether the clinic is coordinating care with employees’ primary care and specialty providers, to provide fully comprehensive healthcare services. As described in a recent Benefit News article, on-site clinics can contribute to a healthier employee base, which impacts productivity and attendance rates. The article recommends that employers “incorporate absence data to understand whether improved access to care contributes to lower rates of absence and associated costs.” Even though on-site health clinic generally do provide significant benefits to the employer and its employees, a periodic comprehensive evaluation will help the employer determine whether the clinic’s services are being utilized efficiently and effectively.

Kendra Gauntlett
August 18, 2017

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Electronic health records (EHRs) and employer site clinics

Efficiency, convenience, and secure patient data are essential elements for employer on-site clinics. Employers who provide on-site clinics to their employees do so as an added benefit to attract quality candidates and as a way to help their employees stay healthy. Employers also benefit from the reduced absenteeism among employees who have convenient access to healthcare and from the cost savings of providing on-site health benefits. In fact, a study published recently by the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing found that employer on-site clinics “provide cost-effective, quality healthcare to employees, as they provide services targeted to the needs of the workforce.” Preventative care, diagnostic services, and treatment of illness and injury are some of the basic services provided by these clinics. They may also work with the employer to provide fitness or nutrition classes to further improve employees’ health. On-site clinics that use electronic health records (EHRs) to maintain their employee medical records provide an even greater benefit. Employees expect the clinics to be efficient. One of the main attractions of an on-site clinic is that it can be a time saver for busy workers. EHRs enable the healthcare provider to view patient information, including visit notes, lab results, and prescriptions, with one touch. Likewise, communication between patient and physician as well as between multiple providers is seamless and secure in an EHR. An on-site provider can easily collaborate with other providers using EHRs. Many employees may use the on-site clinic as their primary provider. When they see specialty providers, all of the physicians involved in the employee’s care are able to view important information input by each healthcare provider. Likewise, employees may have a primary care provider but use the on-site clinic for visits specific to an illness or injury. In those cases, the clinic physician can input visit notes and test results for the employee’s primary care physician to view. Of course, all of this data is secure and HIPAA-compliant. EHRs comply with the regulations shielding electronic protected health information (ePHI). In fact, secure electronic systems minimize the possibility of compromising ePHI by protecting against virus infections, hacking breaches, and third parties trying to steal patient health information.

Christian Piuma
August 14, 2017

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Patient engagement at on-site near-site employer health clinics

An on-site or near-site clinic offers the convenience of basic healthcare services to employees and often results in cost-savings and other benefits for employers. Does the availability of an on-site or near-site employer health clinic also impact patient engagement? What does patient engagement mean for the patient, the physician, and the employer? The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) states that patient engagement can significantly impact healthcare outcomes. It further explains that patients “who are engaged as decision-makers in their care tend to be healthier and have better outcomes.” Patient engagement not only benefits the patient, but it can also have an effect on the physician who may actually be able to save time and manage the patient’s healthcare plan more effectively when the patient is actively engaged. With these results, the employer that sponsors the on-site or near-site clinic also benefits, as the employee enjoys improved healthcare outcomes including reduced illnesses and reduced absenteeism. So what is the relationship between the on-site or near-site clinic and patient engagement? Convenience of care is a significant factor. When an employee is able to access care on-site or near-site, that employee is more likely to become more involved in preventive care as well as decisions regarding future care. IT tools used by the clinic can also contribute to increased patient engagement. For example, when the clinic offers electronic communication for the employee to be able to ask questions or receive further instructions, the employee becomes more engaged in his or her own care. Jonathan Spero, M.D, writing in Corporate Wellness magazine suggests that on-site and near-site clinics build “trust and relationships with members, which facilitates engagement in wellness, disease management, and patient advocacy programs driving improved outcomes and lower costs.” On-site clinics become part of the employee’s workplace, essentially, which drives an increased level of involvement that benefits patient, physician, and employer.

Christian Piuma
August 8, 2017

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10 companies that provide on-site or near-site care for their employees

Providing easy, affordable health care access for employees has become a huge focus for employers as health care costs continue to prove to be a challenge to both employers and employees alike. Several companies are turning to near-site or on-site clinics as a means of providing comprehensive primary care to their employees at no cost or lower cost to benefit eligible employees. Here are 10 of the best companies to work for that are utilizing on-site or near-site care clinics. 1. National Public Radio (NPR) - Back in 2013, when NPR relocated they took the opportunity to devote thousands of square feet of their new building to employee wellness and health care.  Their in house urgent care clinic is free to any benefit-eligible employee, regardless if they are enrolled in the health plan. 2. CHG Healthcare Services - CHG’s on-site health clinics are open to not only the employees, but to their families as well, for comprehensive primary care, acute care, and laboratory testing. The clinic is free even if the employee is not enrolled in the company health plan. 3. USAA - The on-site clinic at USAA allows employees to get cancer screenings, flu shots, blood pressure checks, and other screenings provided by licensed registered nurses and other support staff. As an additional health perk licensed occupational and physical therapists administer on-site massage and some physical rehabilitation. 4. Goldman Sachs - The largest offices at Goldman Sachs offer an on-site health facility while some of the other offices offer on-site fitness centers. These are available to all enrolled employees and their dependents. 5. CustomInk - On-site convenient health care is located at each location. They also have exceptional health care coverage - covering 99% of employees health care premiums. 6. Arthrex -   At their southwest Florida locations, Arthrex provides on-site medical concierge clinics that are free to employees. 7. JM Family Enterprises - There are 9 on-site health and wellness centers at JM Family Enterprises locations. Company doctors are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through a dedicated help line. 8. Quicktrip - The gas station chain has multiple health care clinic locations available to their 20,000+ employees. Comprehensive primary care is available to employees and their family members. Many of the on-site physicians work solely for Quicktrip clinics. 9. Capital One Financial - Multiple on-site medical locations along with fitness centers are provided to help employees meet their health and wellness goals. 10. Mars - On-site medical care is available for employees. The candy giant has even won awards from the Workplace Wellness Councils of America for their health & wellness initiatives.

Kendra Gauntlett
July 28, 2017

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The growth of employer site clinics

More employers are offering the benefit of on-site health clinics to their employees, as a recruiting tool and as a way to help improve employees’ healthcare access. One of the more recent surveys, conducted by Mercer, found that “in 2014, 29% of employers with more than 5,000 employees offered a work-site clinic that offered general medical services, up from 24% the previous year.” The trend is predicted to continue. Employers are finding that on-site health clinics are enticing benefits for potential employees, especially millennials. Forbes reports that 34% of millennials see healthcare as the most important benefit in the workplace. The millennial worker, born between the early 1980s and the turn of the 21st century, has grown up in an environment of access and immediate gratification. The lure of an on-site health clinic speaks to this age group because of its convenience as well as the cost savings involved. Convenience is a major factor in the growth of employer on-site clinics. Employees spend less time “going to the doctor” when the provider is located within the company’s physical site. That typically encourages them to visit the physician more often, for preventative care and for the treatment of illnesses or injuries. As a result, their absenteeism is reduced and their healthcare outcomes are improved. Millennials are also a digital group and appreciate the electronic health records (EHRs) being used by many employer on-site clinics. With the added ability for patient-physician communication and coordination between multiple providers, the EHR tool adds to the benefits seen in an on-site clinic. The number of employer on-site clinics is growing as a benefit to employees in terms of cost and convenience and to the employer in terms of healthier employees. With the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in flux, healthcare costs and coverage are the primary concerns of many employees and potential employees. Employers see the on-site clinic as a way to recruit those potential employees and to keep their current employees healthier and more productive.

Christian Piuma
July 28, 2017

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Getting the most out of an employer health clinic

When an employer decides to offer an on-site clinic to its employees, the first step it needs to take is to ask the right questions. The choice of a clinic provider and the arrangement made between the clinic and the employer can significantly impact whether the employer and its employees are able to get the most benefit out of the on-site clinic. Understanding exactly what types of services a clinic can provide will also enable the employer to realize the most benefits from the arrangement. Depending on the work environment of the business, an employer may see greater costs savings with an on-site clinic that is primarily run by a Physician’s Assistant or a Nurse Practitioner. For a business that is involved in heavy manual labor, an on-site clinic with more extensive staff and capabilities, including a physician and x-ray facilities, might prove more beneficial to the employer and its employees. An on-site clinic that emphasizes preventive care will benefit an employer that is concerned about absenteeism. Many on-site clinics focus on diagnoses, screenings, and preventive measures such as flu shots. The clinic can then share those records with the employee’s primary care physician for further healthcare treatment. Choosing a clinic that incorporates the use of electronic health records (EHR) can make a significant difference in the employee’s coordinated care plan. Employers can promote the on-site clinic as an added benefit in their recruiting, hiring, and retention efforts. Reassuring employees and potential employees of the convenience and security of on-site healthcare will help the employer attract and retain quality employees. Choosing a clinic that is also willing to work with the employers to review and improve workplace health and safety, the ergonomics involved in the business operations, can help an employer realize a greater benefit as well. Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of the on-site clinic’s services will help the employer gain a clearer picture of just how much it is getting out of the on-site health clinic. A 2015 survey, cited in Modern Healthcare, found that “more employers are now measuring ROI, though only 12% have commissioned independent analyses.”

Kendra Gauntlett
July 28, 2017

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Who can benefit the most from employer site clinics?

Employers may provide an on-site or near-site clinic for their employees as an added perk, to improve their employees’ healthcare access, or even to save the company money. These clinics offer a number of benefits for everyone involved. Many people benefit from on-site or near-site clinics, including a surprising group of potential employees. Employers themselves benefit when they offer preventive and primary care to their employees at on-site or near-site clinics. The employer generally sees positive results in the form of reduced absenteeism, healthier employees, and financial savings in regard to benefit costs. The employer may also see fewer occurrences of employees showing up for work when they are not feeling well who still attempt to perform their job or possibly even infect other employees. Independent primary care physicians benefit from employer on-site or near-site clinics as they are able to provide that preventive and diagnostic care that is so important to the continued health outcomes for their patients. Employees who have easy access to a primary care physician are more likely to take advantage of those services. Employees want to be sure their health information is protected and will not be shared with their employer, but the independent primary care physician is always bound to those HIPAA regulations, regardless of the care venue. Employees, of course, also greatly benefit from having that access to primary care on-site. These clinics have proven to be an effective enticement for recruiting employees, particularly millennials. According to a recent article in Forbes, “more and more millennials are seeking out companies that have an onsite health clinic.” Millennials are especially concerned about their healthcare costs and see on-site clinics as financially attractive. Millennials may also be encouraged to become more involved in their healthcare if the on-site clinic uses the latest in technology tools, such as EHR and electronic patient communication. Employer on-site and near-site clinics benefit employers, independent primary care physicians, and employees. Costs are lowered, absenteeism is lowered, and employees have convenient access to quality preventive and diagnostic healthcare.

Christian Piuma
July 28, 2017

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Report shows the impact of onsite employer health clinics

Improved access to healthcare services generally results in improved patient outcomes. Employers who provide access to an on-site health clinic for their employees work generally experience lowered absenteeism and workers compensation claims. A 2015 study conducted by the National Business Group on Health and Truven Health Analytic involved a survey of 107 large employers, with a total of over 4 million employees, regarding their healthcare benefits and resulting workers comp and disabilities benefits. Of those participating in the study, 60% offered “some form of health care services at their worksites, with 48% indicating that they offer acute care and 33% offering occupational health services.” The study found that absenteeism and workers compensation claims were both reduced among those employers offering on-site health clinics. Employees who have convenient access to preventative care as well as diagnostic and treatment services are less likely to miss a day’s work because of an illness. Preventative care often includes vaccines and inoculations that help keep employees healthy during flu season, for example. Minor aches and illnesses can be treated on-site, without missing a significant amount of work, which encourages employees to see their physicians more often. On-site health clinics and other wellness programs offered to employees also have an impact on the rate of injuries and workers comp and disability claims. Many of these clinics offer wellness programs such as fitness instruction or smoking cessation classes, helping employees become healthier and less injury-prone. Those employers participating in the study that provided on-site fitness programs reported workers compensation costs that were 21% lower than those employers without such a program. Other studies have also shown that the patient engagement level that results from on-site health clinics can improve patient outcomes. When employees have available resources on-site, including convenient communication tools, they are more likely to become more involved in their own healthcare plan.

Kendra Gauntlett
July 21, 2017

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The difference between on-site clinics and near-site clinics

A number of larger employers offer on-site clinics for their employees, as a benefit that provides positive results for all involved. Healthcare costs are reduced, absenteeism is reduced, and employees have ready access to preventive and diagnostic care. Alternatively, employers may offer the benefits of access to a near-site clinic for their employees. What are the differences between on-site and near-site clinics? Smaller employers who want to provide convenient healthcare services for their employees may opt for the near-site clinic benefit option. Primarily a financial consideration, joining with other employers or contracting with a local clinic provides the healthcare benefits without the direct overhead costs of an on-site clinic. Near-site clinics do not have quite the same convenience factor for employees as on-site clinics, but they are still perceived as a valuable benefit. Near-site clinics may make more sense for “office settings in which workplace injuries are unlikely to occur, and in which medical surveillance generally isn’t needed,” according to an article in The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine. On-site clinics are generally best suited - and may make more sense for employers - in those work environments in which there is an increased risk of injury and a need for OSHA reporting. On-site clinics are ideal for employee visits, but may raise concern about privacy issues. Employees want to be sure their employers do not have access to their medical records. While HIPAA regulations apply to healthcare records regardless of the site location, a near-site clinic may reassure employees that their information is more secure. Electronic health records can benefit providers and patients in both on-site and near-site clinics, particularly a provider-centric Clinical EHR that exists at the nexus of the clinical workflow, supports the physician-patient relationship and drives outstanding patient outcomes. Both on-site and near-site clinics promote preventive and diagnostic care, focus on health management, and offer benefits that improve their patients’ health care outcomes. The decision as to which an employer should offer depends on that employer’s size, financial situation, and work environment.

Christian Piuma
July 17, 2017

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The ACA and employer health clinics

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was officially signed into law in 2010. As of July 2017, the ACA is in flux and under threat of being repealed and replaced by a new healthcare bill. While the focus of discussion has primarily been on individuals and how their healthcare coverage will be affected under any new law that may be passed, the ACA still has a significant effect on employer health clinics. Lower out-of-pocket costs are one of the main concerns individuals have about their healthcare coverage. Most Americans have health insurance coverage through their employers, and costs are rising for both the individuals and the employers. Employer-sponsored health clinics, both on-site and near-site, have been found to reduce those costs for both parties. Costs have risen as a result of the ACA, primarily due to the mixed pool of insured that must be covered by health insurance companies. As Ellen Blaine, MPH, explains in a recent HealthStat article, “onsite clinics can solve the riddle of how to control costs for both employers and employees. And they improve access to care at the same time.” Blaine further explains that some changes may be seen in the coming years as employers continue to try to provide affordable, healthcare options to their employees. She anticipates that virtual visits may increase, both as a matter of convenience and cost. Electronic communication between the physician and patient can certainly improve the overall healthcare quality and perhaps even reduce the number of office visits. Such virtual “treatment” would have to remain HIPAA-compliant, of course, but may become a growing trend. Employers continue to see the value in providing quality healthcare options for their employees, in keeping costs low, and convenience high. As Blaine concludes in her article, “onsite clinics are poised to be the centers of employee well-being. It’s the best way to point employees in the right direction and coordinate programs, which in turn improves access and saves money.”

Kendra Gauntlett
July 7, 2017

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The advantages of on-site and near-site clinics in the workplace

Larger employers began providing on-site healthcare in the 1980s, usually as a way to treat occupational injuries. These employers were generally in the heavy industry or manufacturing trades and saw a significant number of on-the-job injuries that needed to be treated quickly. As those industries experienced a decline, however, so did their on-site clinics. Recently, within the past ten years or so, on-site and near-site clinics have experienced a resurgence in the workplace. What advantages do these clinics hold for employers and the employees? Lower costs. Employers have more negotiating power and therefore more control over the actual healthcare delivery costs at on-site clinics. Employees generally incur a lower co-pay. In fact, some services at on-site clinics may not require any co-pay. Increased preventive care. The convenience and lower costs of on-site or near-site clinics encourage employees to focus more on their preventive care, such as diagnostic screenings or flu shots. Through collaboration with the employee’s independent primary care physician, on-site clinics can also help manage chronic conditions effectively. Reduced absenteeism/presenteeism. When employees have better access to convenient, lower cost healthcare, they are less likely to develop illnesses that keep them away from work. In addition, they are less likely to come to work with an illness, which then may be spread to others or which may make them less capable of doing their jobs properly. According to an article for The Journal of Issues in Nursing, the latter is known as “presenteeism, which occurs when employees come to work impaired by illness and are unable to work to their full ability.” Recruiting benefit. Potential employees recognize the availability of an on-site or near-site clinic as an added benefit when considering whether to accept a position with a company. If the clinic is taking advantage of technology tools such as an EHR system, the attraction may be even greater for the potential employee. When an employer provides an on-site and near-site clinic as a benefit to employees, there are many advantages for all parties. The clinic provides convenient, cost-effective preventive care and can coordinate care with the independent primary care physician, to help promote higher quality outcomes for the patient.

Christian Piuma
June 21, 2017

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What are on-site and near-site clinics?

With health care costs continuing to rise, more and more employers are looking for a better way to curb these costs for both themselves and their employees.  The workforce has become unhappy and unhealthy.  Since it is costing more to see a doctor, employees will typically delay seeking treatment. Employers are turning to site clinics to provide easy access to affordable primary care.  There are two types of site clinics – On-Site Clinics and Near-Site Clinics. On-Site Clinics On-site clinics allow employers to offer medical and wellness services at clinics that are located directly at their companies. These services are delivered by licensed clinical primary care physicians and other licensed practitioners to either all employees or employees that meet eligibility criteria. On-Site Care Clinics offer a wide range of services ranging from general first aid to primary care appointments. The use of these clinics is typically part of employee’s health benefit packages. Near-Site Clinics Near-site clinics are only slightly different than on-site clinics.  Near-site clinics allow the opportunity for multiple employers to establish a clinic for their employees that still offers employees low upfront costs. Near-site clinics offer the same benefits to employers and employees as an on-site clinic would. Benefits of On-Site and Near-Site Clinics Care clinics, whether on-site or near-site, are a win-win for employers and employees. For Employees:      No cost or low cost treatment      Convenience – on-site pharmacies, labs, and preventative care      Same day appointments available      Personal attention and longer appointments For Employers:      Valuable tool for recruiting and retaining employees      Decreased absenteeism, increased productivity      Lower costs of provided health care benefits      Reduced costs of employees using emergency rooms for non-urgent care      No required revenue margins on top of service and products that are provided to patients at the on-site or near-site clinic In 2014, the National Association of Worksite Health Centers (NAWHC) Onsite Clinic survey indicated that nearly 75% of companies that used on-site clinics had increased employee engagement in their workplace health programming. As site clinics become more and more popular, employees and employers both have the opportunity to improve the well-being and health of thousands of individuals. See how Elation Health delivers an innovate experience for site clinics.

Christian Piuma
June 15, 2017

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