Employers are taking a more active role in the health of their employees. Many companies that have onsite occupational health clinics are leveraging their investments by expanding to offer other clinical services. Others are investing in new clinics.
According to Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-sponsored Health Plans, one third of the 121 public and private companies surveyed with 5,000 employees or more said they provide a general medical clinic either onsite or near the worksite. That’s nearly a 10 percent increase from 2012. Plus, another 11 percent claimed to be considering adding a clinic this year.
All of this is for good reason. Nearly half of Americans are insured by employer-sponsored health plans which give employers added incentive to keep their employees healthy and productive. Consider these facts:
1. Poor worker health costs U.S. employers $530 billion a year.
According to the Integrated Benefits Institute, a health research group that works with U.S. employers, lost productivity due to worker absence, chronic conditions that cause “impaired performance”, workers compensation costs, and medical, pharmacy and missed opportunity costs amount to 60 cents for every dollar employers spend on healthcare benefits.
2. Patients spend an average of 34 minutes in travel time for medical care.
Altarum, a nonprofit research and consulting organization, looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Study and found that patients spend an average of more than half an hour just traveling to and from medical appointments. This makes it hard for people who work to schedule appointments over lunch hours and can lead to employees skipping annual physicals and preventive care.
3. Chronic conditions have significant health and economic costs in the U.S.
The CDC estimates 90 percent of the nation's $3.3 trillion in annual healthcare expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions. When these chronic conditions go undiagnosed or untreated, serious and very costly health events can occur. In fact, there are several studies suggesting that employees with a chronic condition are at an increased risk for an acute occupational injury.
These are compelling reasons for employers to view the health of their employees as a key business strategy. Offering a clinic at or near the worksite is one way to address these challenges. By making it more convenient for employees to receive the care they need, employers may help employees avoid expensive hospital stays and be more productive on the job.