Posts Tagged ‘employee health’

Guest Post: 3 Key Reasons Companies Should Embrace Corporate Clinics

September 26th, 2017 by Rob Indresano, COO, Barton Associates

A number of large corporations are taking a unique approach to healthcare by employing a resident physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant to tend to the needs of workers and their families.

Models range from small clinics, such as the CVS Minute Clinic, to larger facilities that offer a full array of primary care services. While many companies opt to house the clinics on-site, some organizations have partnered with internal branches or outside firms to provide healthcare services at off-site locations.

For companies and employees alike, corporate clinics are an attractive option. These clinics keep costs in-house, giving companies greater control of healthcare expenditures. Corporate clinics can also reduce the time employees take off work to receive basic medical care, encouraging workers to seek routine care more regularly. In turn, this leads to better overall employee health and fewer sick days.

Better yet, these in-house clinics are available to employees as well as their dependents. Corporations spend less money to provide employees and their loved ones with more and better care. It’s a win-win situation.

The corporate clinic movement stems from a dramatic rise in overall healthcare costs and the amount of time employees aren’t at work for minor medical issues. The movement stuck because employees and their families became healthier and happier, with productivity booming for companies that adopted the model.

As corporate clinics became more popular, many factors combined to guarantee their success. Locum tenens, for instance, made it possible for corporations to seamlessly launch and staff corporate clinics as the need arose. Telemedicine continues to grow in popularity — Kaiser Permanente reported 52 percent of its 110 million patient visits in 2015 were done via telemedicine — making it possible for corporations to expand the scope of care while driving down costs.

Making the Case for In-House Care

The average American spends more than 90,000 hours at work over the course of her life. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted, personal and family health problems cost companies about $226 billion annually in lost productivity. It’s easy to understand why a healthy work environment is vital to a happy and productive workforce.

Some companies already enjoy the benefits of on-site clinics. The clinics bring employees everything from primary and preventive healthcare to physical therapy, pharmacists, dentists, optometrists, and more. These clinics help lower insurance costs, improve health and job satisfaction, and increase productivity.

Toyota in 2007 opened a $9 million corporate clinic at its San Antonio truck manufacturing plant. The company has reported a 33 percent decrease in specialist referrals and a 25 percent drop in employee visits to urgent care clinics and emergency rooms.

Intel had similar goals when the technology titan launched its own corporate clinics in 2011. Company officials hoped workers would be more likely to visit the in-house doctors, ideally curtailing chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes in the process. The company paid about $1 million to build and another $1.5 million to operate each clinic, though Intel has since managed to break even on those operating costs.

Employers enjoy short-term benefits such as greater control over direct costs for specialist visits, prescriptions, and trips to the emergency room. In the long run — and perhaps more important — corporate clinics can help establish new healthcare policies and wellness programs to promote healthier lifestyle choices for employees.

How Corporate Clinics Will Change the Business World

With perpetually increasing healthcare costs and a tremendous potential for return on investment, the corporate clinic model is set to alter healthcare and business in three important ways:

1. Reduced healthcare spending. Corporations with on-site or near-site health services spend less money on healthcare. It’s as simple as that. HanesBrands, for example, reports saving about $1.40 for every $1 the company spends on its in-house clinic. Companies can then take that savings and instead invest in other business-related purposes.

2. Healthier, happier, and more productive employees. Rather than taking time off work to visit a doctor or risking lost income, employees often forgo care for relatively minor issues. This becomes problematic, considering the chronic diseases doctors often detect through repeat visits account for 75 percent of U.S. healthcare spending. Easy access to primary care services means employees are willing and able to see on-site providers for more routine health concerns they might have otherwise neglected.

3. Greater transparency regarding treatment costs. Almost everyone has received a bill from his insurance at some point listing a litany of codes and featuring a hefty amount due at the end. On the flip side of that coin, most physicians are kept in the dark about the costs of treatments so they can prioritize patient care above all else. Corporate clinics can alleviate some of the secrecy surrounding healthcare costs by being transparent about employee treatment. This can actually lead to improved care and lowered costs, with on-site physicians working in tandem with company leaders to drive down expenses.

As more companies find value in corporate clinics, an increasing number of large corporations will likely bring medical services in-house to help drive down bloated healthcare costs. Mid-sized businesses might also be tempted to explore the possibility of creating their own clinics given the potential cost savings. The shift will help foster a culture of health in the United States that benefits employers, employees, and communities.

Rob Indresano, Chief Operations Officer, Barton Associates

About the Author: Rob Indresano is president and COO of Barton Associates, a national recruiting and staffing firm based in the Boston area that specializes in temporary healthcare assignments. Rob is responsible for managing operations as well as the company’s strategic vision. Before joining the Barton team, Rob was vice president and general counsel for Oxford Global Resources Inc. and corporate counsel for Oracle Corp.

HIN Disclaimer: The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of the Healthcare Intelligence Network as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

Infographic: Optimizing Employers’ Health Program Performance

November 10th, 2014 by Melanie Matthews

Employers are rethinking their healthcare strategies to achieve a high-performance benefit portfolio by making sure their health plans are aligned, affordable, efficient and engaging, according to new research by Towers Watson.

In a new infographic, Towers Watson explores how employers are aligning health plans with broader goals and needs, making plans affordable for both the business and the employee, leveraging efficient strategies and tactics, and engaging employees in accountability for their own health.

 Optimizing Employers Health Program Performance

Population Health Framework: 27 Strategies to Drive Engagement, Access & Risk Stratification Faith-based integrated delivery system Adventist Health is on a mission to improve population health status with a wellness-based approach it estimates will eventually net $49 million in savings.

In Population Health Framework: 27 Strategies to Drive Engagement, Access & Risk Stratification walks through the elements of Adventist’s population health management program that engages individuals to modify behaviors and prevent illness in the future.

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Don’t Ignore ‘Reasonable Alternative Standard’ When Offering Outcomes-Based Incentives

March 15th, 2013 by Jessica Fornarotto

Companies contemplating outcomes-based health incentives shouldn’t ignore the portion of the population that can’t meet predetermined health standards, advises John Riedel, the president of Riedel & Associates Consultants, Inc. Reidel defines outcomes-based incentives, explains the role of risk-adjustment in these programs, and shares some recent data on incentives use among other companies.

We’re individualizing health goals based on where a person is on their health continuum as well as on their interest continuum. Based on behavioral economics principles, you also want to appeal to what people are most interested in, what will get them engaged in some sort of change. This is setting a risk-adjusted target. And so that you’re not presuming that all employees can meet a predefined set of health goals, you’re making this more individually targeted.

For instance, if someone is morbidly obese, or has cholesterol levels that are so high that it is unrealistic to bring them down to the health goal that you’ve already set, risk-adjust it and help people create the incentive program that will work best for them; get them on the right path.

When you offer outcome-based incentives in your company, you’re tying financial awards to whether or not the employees are within healthy ranges that you have set with them, which could be blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, or any other biometric measures.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires a ‘reasonable alternative standard’ because there are people who can’t meet an outcomes-based incentive. If they have an unreasonably hard time meeting a goal, you must provide them a reasonable alternative standard. The law on that is fairly open-ended. Incentives are becoming more common and the requirements are getting tougher. In other words, they’re being moved more toward outcomes-based incentives.

According to Towers Watson Staying@Work Survey, over half of U.S. respondents are currently providing financial rewards for participation in health programs. Rather than simply rewarding program enrollment, about a third of employers are requiring employees to complete multiple activities to receive a reward or avoid a penalty. That reward could be a progress-based incentive or an outcomes-based incentive. About 23 percent plan to impose this kind of requirement.

In other data, Hewitt Associates found that the use of cash payouts for HRA completion doubled between 2009 and 2010, up to almost two-thirds. Also, the Kaiser Family Foundation Annual Survey of Employee Benefits Plans shows that large employers are reducing premiums for engaged employees. For instance, a company with 1,000 to 5,000 employees will reduce premiums by 17 percent.

Clearly, incentives are becoming more common.