As the benefits landscape continues to evolve, onsite employer health clinics have become popular among organizations of all sizes (and across all industries).
While this offering provides a clear advantage to companies and employees, it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution. If you’re thinking about implementing a health clinic within your organization, there are a few questions you should ask. Here’s what you need to consider.
What Are Employer Health Clinics, Exactly?
To complement existing health insurance offerings and the proliferation of wellness rooms, many employers have chosen to open onsite health clinics. This benefit provides employees with immediate access to medical services that they’d traditionally leave the office for.
Workplace health clinics are staffed by qualified medical providers who help make receiving routine health care more convenient. Employees with health conditions that are not life-threatening can drop in for quick checkups or consultations whenever they’re able.
How Common Are Onsite Health Clinics?
Onsite health clinics may be more common than you think! The National Association of Worksite Health Centers (NAWHC) reports that 33 percent of U.S. employers with 5,000 employees or more currently offer onsite medical clinics, and 16 percent of companies with 500–4,999 employees provide onsite medical services. Another 8 percent say they plan to add a similar offering soon.
Benefits of Onsite Employer Health Clinics
Busy employees may put off going to the doctor if they can’t afford to leave work. However, skipping out on routine checkups can turn minor health concerns into major medical expenses.
Onsite health clinics are often the most desirable benefit among employees. The perks of having a walk-in clinic readily available to workers include:
- Better preventive care
- Reduced incidence of serious medical problems
- Less work hours missed
- Increased workplace productivity
- Fewer costly emergency room visits
- Lower overall health care costs
- Better retention of top talent
What Are the Potential Drawbacks?
Few risks, if any, exist when implementing an onsite health clinic. The biggest potential drawback is cost, and whether the perceived benefit to employees—and overall health care cost savings—will exceed the expense of running the clinic. Another possible drawback can occur if you don’t hire the right staff to run your organization’s clinic. Careful planning to ensure quality staff and care can significantly boost the return on investment, as well as employee satisfaction.
Key Factors to Consider
When deciding whether to implement an onsite health clinic within your company, there are several key factors to consider. Here are six things you and the HR department should keep in mind:
- Number of employees
- Level of employee interest
- Whether or not there’s ample space available
- The company’s budget
- How to hire quality medical staff
- What to charge for health services
NAWHC reports that in more than 60 percent of onsite health clinics, medical care costs less than standard community or network provider rates. Your organization will decide what to charge employees and their families, and determine whether to hire medical staff and manage the clinic in-house or hire a third-party agency to staff and run the clinic.
About 18–30 percent of employers manage onsite health clinics themselves, according to NAWHC. Hospitals or physician groups run 18–20 percent of these clinics, and the majority of business owners contract with third-party vendors to build, manage and staff onsite health centers—largely to avoid taking on compliance and health management roles.
There’s not really universal way to measure return on investment after opening an onsite health clinic, but you can still determine how successful the clinic is. Your company might save money in direct medical costs, or reap savings associated with preventive medicine (preventing serious health complications). Soft ROIs include productivity gains, less absenteeism and retaining or recruiting top talent. You can also compare projected costs with actual costs to evaluate the effectiveness of the company’s clinic.
Getting the Word Out
There are numerous ways to get the word out to employees about the presence of an onsite health clinic. Examples include:
- Invest in a clinic sign
- Post smaller signs in front of your building and in hallways, elevators, meeting rooms, break rooms and office doors
- Send out employee newsletters and emails
- Create an onsite health clinic social media presence
Word of mouth is an excellent way to make an onsite health clinic known, which is another reason pursuing quality medical staff and care at your work site is crucial.
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