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 As of July 2017, the ACA is in flux and under threat of being repealed and replaced by a new healthcare bill.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


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


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