Dating back as early as the 1860s, worksite health clinics have flourished and fizzled over the course of 160 years, as employers have invested in them in bull markets and abandoned them during economic downturns. These clinics have been found to reduce the cost to deliver care, decrease absenteeism and improve productivity.
Worksite clinics are growing in number, and now there is evidence that many large and some midsize employers are doubling down on them to help prevent disease and drive more appropriate care utilization by employees.
Employers are seeing the opportunity in worksite clinics, especially large employers with 5,000 employees or more. PwC’s Health and Well-being Touchstone survey found that 38 percent of large employers offered an onsite health clinic in 2019, up from the 27 percent that offered a clinic in 2014. An additional 13 percent said they were considering adding one.
Worksite clinics are expanding beyond occupational medicine into primary care, preventive medicine, behavioral health services and alternative medicine. Thirty-six percent of consumers surveyed by HRI who have access to a worksite clinic said that the clinic offers an annual preventive health exam.
An energy company that consistently beat national medical inflation trends over the last few years attributes this result in part to its worksite clinic. The company’s 1,200 corporate employees and their families have quick access to urgent care, preventive care and chronic condition management services through the clinic. Retirees also have access. Use of the clinic by employees skews toward primary care versus costlier specialty care. Preventive screening compliance is above industry benchmarks.
With a focus on lifestyle medicine, one biotechnology company’s 10,000-square-foot clinic has an extensive mix of services that integrate primary care and alternative medicine provided by acupuncturists and chiropractors. The clinic includes space for health counseling, where nutritionists, therapists and health coaches work together, and also offers a range of other services including allergy shots, physical therapy, mental health services, STD screenings and women’s health services. It even implemented the 12-week, National Institutes of Health recommended Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes program centered on chronic condition prevention and customized it to the company’s employee population.
Some companies have even integrated medical specialty care into their worksite clinics based on the needs of their employees. Staff at a New York-based investment bank have access to rotating specialists ranging from dermatologists and gynecologists to rehabilitation medicine doctors.
For citations, implications and insights, please read our full report, Medical cost trend: Behind the numbers 2020.