Last August, CNBC reported that Amazon plans to open health clinics for its Seattle-based employees. According to Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-sponsored Health Plans, this company is not alone. Of the 121 public and private companies with 5,000 employees or more that participated in the survey, one third said they provide a general medical clinic either onsite or near the worksite. That’s nearly a 10 percent increase from 2012, and another 11 percent claimed to be considering adding a clinic this year.
So, what’s behind this trend? According to the survey, the top objective of employers is to have more control over their overall healthcare spending.
The total average cost of healthcare — including premiums and out-of-pocket expenses — for an employee and his or her dependents is nearly $15,000 this year according to The National Business Group on Health (NBGH). Employers cover roughly 70 percent of the costs as a benefit to employees. Multiply that by thousands of employees and it’s easy to see why healthcare costs are such a huge challenge for employers.
Onsite health clinics that offer primary care services can ease the pressure by making it easier for employees to get the care they need. Truth be told, people who work full-time find it difficult to make time for primary care. This is especially true for those who work Monday through Friday during “normal” business hours when many primary care physicians offer appointment times.
What happens? Many workers skip annual physicals and chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol go undiagnosed or untreated. This can lead to serious and very costly health events. In fact, the CDC estimates chronic conditions account for a whopping 75 percent of healthcare spending in the U.S.
Employers now understand that with their role as purchasers and providers of healthcare, they must take the lead in addressing the situation. At Enterprise Health, many of our large employer clients are doing so by expanding the clinical services offered by their occupational health clinics. They are leveraging the investments already made in their onsite clinics to cover a full range of employee health and wellness needs.
As the scope of ambulatory services at these onsite clinics increases, these clients rely on the certified EHR at the heart of the Enterprise Health solution to help ensure adherence to best practices. Their goal is to give employees easy access to the urgent care, preventative care and wellness programs they need to stay healthy and miss less work which will, in turn, help contain costs.