Onsite Health Care Facilities a Win-Win for Employers and Workers

Posted on Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Onsite or near-site health clinics are an increasingly popular job perk, say respondents in a survey of 255 employers. Respondents say, overall these clinics have been a very welcome benefit among their workers. But also, the companies themselves have seen many benefits. Those benefits include:

Higher productivity,
Improved morale and loyalty among staff,
Decreased absenteeism,
A lower incidence of presenteeism (defined as working while sick), and
Higher profits.

The survey was part of research conducted by the National Association of Worksite Health Centers (NAWHC), a Chicago-based not-for-profit trade organization. Here are some of the findings of the study:

Many employers provide the clinic services free of charge. However, for health plans which include Health Savings Accounts, it's important to charge employees a fee reflective of market prices. The group advises employers to consider implementing fair market charges for clinic services.
More than one-third of employers in the survey said they don't include the clinics as part of their benefit packages. NAWHC suggests this may be because there's uncertainty about how to value these services in terms of complying with the excise tax computations of theAffordable Care Act.
Generally, these clinics are staffed either with nurses or physician assistants.
Most employers contract with third-party vendors to manage their facilities. However, an increasing number are forming partnerships with local physician groups and hospitals.

Who Uses the Clinics and Why?

While the clinics perform both first aid and emergency health care services, they also report assisting employers in executing preventative health measures, routine health services and wellness programs. Specifically, researchers found heavy employee usage of vaccination administration and checkups.

Employers reported a marked increase in overall employee job satisfaction after setting up onsite health clinics. In addition, employers reported many other benefits attributed to the clinics, including:

Reduced or eliminated expensive emergency rooms for non-emergency purposes (63%).
Decreased cost of medical care (64%).
Reduction in lost time (70%).

In addition, a majority of employers who have established onsite medical facilities said the clinics helped them achieve financial objectives and provided a tangible benefit to the company's bottom line.

Finally, the authors of the survey also found that employers who set up an onsite health care program say they have better integration of management services for medical care, a higher level of employee engagement in health management programs, and a marked improvement in the effectiveness of health care programs.

It's clear the benefits of an onsite health clinic are many. But a large number of companies just don't have enough employees at any one site to justify the expense of such a facility. Some of those businesses chose instead to provide these services via telemedicine – in which patients have access to a doctor or nurse via a private, secure video uplink.

Employer Responsibilities

The NAWHC notes that the issues of privacy and confidentiality are always key considerations. Setting up an onsite, near-site or telemedicine health program has to meet the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. That means limiting the distribution of personally identifiable health information and providing for specific requirements on how medical records may be stored and transmitted.

If your company uses vendors, it needs to ensure that the vendors closely supervise clinic operations for efficiency and confidentiality. It's also advisable to select vendors that provide tools to help your business measure the return on investment a clinic delivers.

Naturally the responsibilities in providing an onsite health facility are numerous, but there is also abundant evidence that the rewards are great. Consider whether this is an employee perk that may benefit your company.

For more information, contact the National Association of Worksite Health Centers at www.worksitehealth.org.

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