Tuesday, January 13, 2009

News You Can Use: When it comes to wellness, employees say out of site, out of mind

I have a treadmill in my home, and it's a good thing I do. Otherwise, I likely would not exercise. I have the same attitude toward health care; I prefer to go to retail clinics because I don't need an appointment and their hours fit my schedule. Convenience is king. Apparently, I'm in good company, and employers are noticing.

A recent Mercer survey finds that employers who offer primary care services at an onsite clinic can control health-care costs by providing a lower-cost option and to improve productivity by reducing time lost for workers to receive care offsite. Some 31% of large employers offer occupational health clinics, 14% offer a clinic to provide primary care and 10% are considering adding a primary care clinic this year.

Of course, the inevitable response is: Well sure, we'd love to have an onsite clinic but they're too expensive. However, according to Mercer, some employers have found sharing clinic services to be a workable, cost-saving solution. The survey finds 11% of respondents currently share their clinic with another employers and 13% would consider sharing.

And relating back to my 'convenience is king' argument, Mercer finds that 86% of employers cite “convenience (in terms of time and effort) for their employees” as an important or very important objective in offering an onsite clinic. Among other reasons:
* 77%, better access to preventive care.
* 75%, encouraging employees to make better use of health/wellness programs.
* 74%, control of overall health spend.

For more from EBN on onsite health, click here.

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