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Employer health clinics and value-based care

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Employers are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs. In the prevailing move toward value-based care, those employers are also searching for innovative strategies to help their employees become healthier and maintain their health. On-site and near-site clinics have been shown to be a viable solution for both challenges.

A report from the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation cited the connection between population health management and workplace clinics, stating that, in particular, the employer programs help manage employees’ chronic conditions. Approximately 90 percent of US healthcare costs are related to chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

The report states that “Employers have targeted this issue in a number of ways. 62 percent of large employers and 38 percent of small employers offer health risk assessments, with an even larger percentage providing programs like smoking cessation, lifestyle coaching, and weight-loss management. In another survey, 20 percent of employers report having opened onsite clinics, and 8 percent have near-site or multi-employer clinics, with a larger percentage of employers considering it.”

Larger companies such as SAS, National Public Radio (NPR), USAA, Goldman Sachs, and Capital One Financial offer their employees basic primary care services through on-site or near-site healthcare clinics. Additionally, companies such as Apple, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan & Chase have announced plans for internal healthcare ventures that will provide health and wellness services to their employees.

The Duke-Margolis Center report details the importance of offerings such as employer health clinics as they relate to value-based care. “Employer-sponsored health insurance coverage accounts for 49 percent of insured Americans. If the U.S. health system is to be transformed into one that rewards value, then employers must not only participate in the transition, but play a leading role.” The report continues to explain that “Employers have an interest in the value of care not only because they help pay for their employees’ health insurance coverage, but also because better employee health means fewer missed days of work and better productivity.”

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.