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.