Controlling health-care spending top objective of workplace clinics: survey

A large majority (89 per cent) of employers cited a better control of health-care spending as the top reason for having workplace medical clinics, according to a new survey by Mercer and the National Association of Worksite Health Centers.

The survey, which queried 121 U.S. employers offering onsite or near-site medical clinics, found 84 per cent of respondents said the top objective of these clinics is reducing employee health risk, followed by reducing absenteeism and presenteeism (76 per cent) and increasing employee productivity (75 per cent).

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Additional reasons for onsite medical clinics included managing chronic conditions (71 per cent), quality and consistency of care (69 per cent), enhancing health and wellness leadership (66 per cent), attracting and retaining talent (59 per cent) and reducing and managing workplace injuries (54 per cent).

“Employers are becoming more directly involved in shaping the health-care market and improving their employees’ health,” said Carly Deer, board chair of the National Association of Worksite Health Centers and senior benefits leader at Target Corp., in a news release. “Properly structured onsite medical facilities can create a foundation of primary care and associated services that can assist moving care upstream, which can help improve outcomes, manage cost and increase productivity.”

Looking at how successful clinics are at reducing health benefits cost trends, 61 per cent of respondents said it’s successful, while 71 per cent said it’s successful in improving health and wellness objectives.

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Of those who deemed the onsite or near-site medical clinic as successful, more than three-quarters said it has done well in regards to employee satisfaction (83 per cent) and utilization (78 per cent). Other areas of success included increasing engagement in wellness programs (63 per cent), helping members manage chronic conditions (60 per cent), as well as reducing modifiable health risks (58 per cent) and lost work days (48 per cent).

“More and more employers are finding measurable value in providing high quality health-care and patient experience via worksite clinics,” said David Keyt, worksite clinics consulting group leader at Mercer. “Given the high rates of employee satisfaction and utilization, I think we will continue to see growth in offerings of clinics and expansion of the health services that clinics provide.”