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Read and follow the latest trends in on-site and near-site 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.