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On-site, near-site clinics growing in appeal

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The number of employers offering healthcare clinics either on-site or near site has increased significantly since 2012, according to a survey conducted by Mercer in 2018. The 2018 Worksite Medical Clinics Survey, a collaboration between Mercer and the National Association of Worksite Health Centers, was conducted in March and April 2018 and involved 121 employers. The businesses surveyed ranged from 150 to over 300,000 employees.

Significant findings from the survey include:

  • One-third of all organizations with 5,000 or more employees provide a general medical clinic at or near the worksite. That’s up from 24% in 2012 and from just 17% in 2007.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of survey respondents with general medical clinics allow members to select the clinic as their primary care provider, compared to just 49% of respondents to our 2015 survey.
  • Well over half of these employers reported a return of 1.5 or higher, meaning that for every dollar invested, they have saved a dollar and a half.
  • In 2018, 66% of the clinic sponsors responding to the survey have physicians on staff, compared to 52% of the sponsors responding to the 2015 survey.
  • Only 3% of survey respondents reported the average wait time in their clinics to be more than 10 minutes, reflecting the unique focus on patient experience in the fee-for-value employer clinic model.
  • Just over two-fifths (41%) of respondents are satisfied with their clinic’s navigation of patients to community value-based care, indicating a significant opportunity for improved member cost, quality and patient experience.

One concern that arose among survey respondents is the challenge for employees with health savings accounts (HSAs) in taking advantage of the employer clinic. The report states that “current IRS guidance states that having access to a worksite health clinic that provides significant medical benefits for free or at a reduced cost may prevent an employee from making or receiving HSA contributions.”

Half of the survey respondents offering a “medical plan eligible for a health savings account (HSA) believe that the requirement to charge members with HSAs for clinic services before their deductible is met has reduced clinic utilization.” The report adds that “Since both HSAs and worksite clinics are seen as positive ways to control healthcare spending, there is considerable support in Congress for legislation that would make it easier to employers to offer both.”