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Survey Work-Site Clinics Gaining in Popularity

The clinics, traditionally used to treat occupational injuries in industrial and manufacturing settings, are becoming an increasingly popular way to control health care spending and to enhance productivity, Mercer says.

January 12, 2009
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Work-site clinics, traditionally used to treat occupational injuries in industrial and manufacturing settings, are becoming an increasingly popular way to control health care spending and to enhance productivity, a new survey concludes.

Although providing occupational health services is the most common reason for offering work-site clinics—cited by 31 percent of surveyed employers who use such facilities—14 percent now use their clinics to provide primary care services, the survey found. In addition, 10 percent of all employers surveyed are considering offering a primary care clinic this year, according to a follow-up report to “Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans.”

The new report, “Mercer’s Survey on Worksite Medical Clinics,” is based on data from New York-based Mercer’s annual survey, conducted in the summer of 2007, combined with a new survey of work-site clinic sponsors and nonsponsors that was conducted in July 2008. A total of 345 employers with at least 200 employees responded to the survey, including 100 with clinics already in place.

Among the reasons cited by employers for offering work-site clinics: 86 percent said it was as a convenience for their employees; 77 percent cited better access to preventive care; 75 percent said it was to encourage employees to make better use of health and wellness programs; and 74 percent said it was to control overall health care spending.

The services that the greatest number of respondents said they were considering adding to their clinic offerings were health screenings (71 percent), immunizations (61 percent), urgent care for nonoccupational injuries (56 percent) and chronic-disease management (50 percent).

Large and jumbo employers are more likely to offer work-site clinics, the survey found, with 31 percent of employers with 500 or more employees and 33 percent of employers with 20,000 or more employees offering them.

Small employers that offer the clinics are more likely to share them with other employers, according to the survey. About one in 10 respondents—11 percent—currently share their clinics with another employer, and an additional 13 percent said they would consider sharing. The smallest employers—those with 200 to 999 employees—were more likely to share their clinics, the survey found, with 25 percent of them reporting doing so.

Thirty-four percent of employers offering clinics allow retirees to access the clinics, while 34 percent provide access to dependent adults and 32 percent to covered dependent children. Employees from other locations are permitted to use on-site clinics at 68 percent of employers sponsoring work-site clinics.

“Mercer’s Survey on Worksite Medical Clinics” is available for $25 from Tara Lewis at 212-345-2451 or online at www.mercer.com.

Filed by Joanne Wojcik of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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