If you work for a major corporation, you may already have access to an on-site gym, cafeteria and daycare center. While these things are certainly convenient, such “perks” were actually instituted because keeping employees at work reduces the amount of work-time sacrificed to transportation. After all, if you never leave the parking lot, you can’t get stuck in traffic and come back late. In this vein, the next trend in on-site conveniences may be the company health clinic.
According to a report issues by the Kaiser Family Foundation, employer health premiums increased by 7.7% in 2006, and while that’s actually smaller than in previous years, employers still feel the hit. Opening an on-site clinic, then, in spite of the initial construction and setup costs, can actually save money.
Kelly Victory, M.D., CMO of Whole Health Management, a Cleveland, OH based company that provides such clinics as well as on-site gyms, says, “There is no question that on-site health clinics can deliver significant cost savings to employers, particularly when they take an outsourced approach.” She goes on to add, “We are able to save our clients money on their direct health care spending, in addition to their indirect costs, such as lost work time, lost productivity, and employee turnover.”
Such clinics and wellness centers are often provided after a major outbreak of a preventable illness, or a string of work-related, but preventable, disabilities, but Whole Health Management’s president, Jim Hummer says that adding a clinic before that happens is more cost effective, because, “We can help you achieve a healthier workforce that consumes less health care services and is more productive.”
On-site health care may not be the best choice for every employer, but if you work for a company that has around 2,000 employees at a single site, your company may be a good candidate. Company clinics don’t handle all the same things as a primary care facility, but they can handle non-emergent injuries, issue preventative measures such as flu shots, and help care for routine illnesses such as colds and sinus infection, that often spread among people who work in close contact with each other.