Advisers are always looking for new ways to improve satisfaction and increase engagement within their clients’ workforce.

One such way to do so is on-site clinics, an increasing trend among larger organizations. But for smaller organizations, that option may seem out of reach due to the necessary resources and investments required.

However, this doesn’t mean a client with 75, 300 or 500 employees is completely bereft of options when it comes to innovative, employee-first care options. For smaller, self-insured organizations, near-site healthcare is an affordable, scalable option.

Near-site clinics offer the same services as on-site clinics but with reduced start-up and operating costs. The model fits well with nearly any self-insured employer, regardless of headcount. Whereas an on-site clinic requires organizations to fund, build and staff a private clinic, near-site clinics allow employers to access a shared clinic network with multiple convenient locations.

The clinics are built and managed by a clinic solution provider, which removes the day-to-day operating logistics from the shoulders of an individual employer. There is also less long-term risk involved as the majority of the operating costs are shared across multiple employer partners.

Employees can use near-site clinics to receive personalized primary care services, expedited and lower cost lab and medication benefits, and wellness coaching — all without running up healthcare costs for self-insured employers.

A flexible, scalable option with little startup time

For smaller, self-funded companies that do not have large budgets for additional benefit options, near-site clinics are certainly a more affordable option. Employers leveraging near-site clinics typically pay a per-employee-per-month fee and can even choose which employees are eligible for access to the services provided. As your organization grows, more employees can easily be added to your program, making it simple to scale without sacrificing employee satisfaction.

And instead of spending months (or even years) working with developers to create a usable space, planning the clinic services, and staffing and launching the clinic to employees, smaller employers can tap into an out-of-the-box and ready-to-use network with near-site health clinics. Employees can start leveraging near-site clinic services and making healthier decisions right away.

Employee and family utilization

Building an on-site clinic at the workplace does not guarantee your employees or their families will actually utilize the clinic. Typically, it can take months of careful planning, promotion, and internal marketing to drive employee support, and even then there is no way to require employees to use the services provided. Participating in a near-site clinic service mitigates some of this utilization risk for employers because overhead costs are much lower.

Although on-site clinics provide a convenient healthcare option for employees at the workplace, their spouses and dependents may feel otherwise. If these dependents are covered under your employer health plan, driving lower care costs extends to them as well.

In larger metropolitan areas, near-site clinic partners have access to multiple locations across a city or region, giving both employees and their partners and dependents more options. The multiple locations of near-site clinics also work well for larger organizations that may want to invest in on-site clinics, but also have off-site employees that need more convenient locations.

So, does near-site healthcare sound like it could be the answer for your organization? If, like me, your goals involve improving the lives of employees, boosting satisfaction rates and establishing the company’s reputation as a leader in workforce wellness, it may be time to take advantage of a healthcare model that can help us all get there.

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Heather Halliburton

Heather Halliburton

Heather Halliburton, SPHR, is Vice President of People & Culture for Indianapolis-based OurHealth.