How can employers control health care costs, give easy access to medical services, improve employee health, enhance engagement in worksite programs and increase productivity? Provide an onsite clinic.

Employers reported that onsite and near-site clinics helped in all of those areas, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Worksite Health Centers. About 95% reported they at least partially met their goals of increasing employee satisfaction and productivity by offering a clinic, according to the survey, which polled 255 employers of all sizes. More than 80% said their clinic improved access to care and 75% saw increased participation in worksite health programs. Nearly seven in 10 surveyed attributed improved health to their clinic and 64% said clinics helped reduce their medical costs.

Employers that have employees who frequently use the emergency room use for non-emergencies and those with high levels of lost time due to unscheduled medical issues benefit most from clinics, NAWHC and other industry research shows. Employers with workers who don’t take advantage of existing primary care, preventative screenings or condition management programs also stand to benefit from clinics. The survey found that about 70% of employers saw reduced time lost by employees leaving work to see a doctor and 63% saw a reduced use of the emergency room.

Employers of all sizes use clinics

Top services offered at clinics include acute care, preventive and wellness. Six in 10 respondents provide traditional clinic services with onsite or near-site facilities, the survey says. More than 70% offer wellness, prevention and fitness services via clinics, telemedicine and mobile units. About half of employers said they provide behavior health services and more than 30% of onsite clinics offer primary care — a number NAWHC expects to grow in the future.

Another statistic expected to increase is the number of employers who partner with physician groups and hospitals. More than 35% of employers manage their own clinics, where nurse practitioners and physician assistants are the main medical providers, the survey says.

“Onsite clinics are not just for jumbo employers,” says NAWHC Executive Director Larry Boress. “We found an increasing number of employers of all sizes are running these themselves or finding willing partners among local providers and vendors.”

Boress expects to see more employers offering onsite clinics. “Especially in light of health care reform, onsite clinics are increasingly being recognized by employers of all sizes as a valuable benefit to reduce costs and absenteeism, while serving as the hub to integrate all worksite programs and increase employee health and satisfaction,” he says. 

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