Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

Benefits of On-Site Clinics

Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

Benefits of On-Site Clinics

Article excerpt

Promoting health and reducing costs related to both acute and chronic illness are concerns of organizations across the nation. One option for controlling healthcare costs is that of an on-site clinic for employees. Interest in on-site clinics has intensified in recent years (Tu, Boukus, & Cohen, 2010). On-site clinics offer healthcare services at the worksite and can provide employees access to both prevention and treatment of illnesses. Services provided by onsite clinics have moved beyond providing traditional occupational health and minor acute care services; these clinics now offer a full range of wellness and primary care services (Sherman & Fabius, 2011). Treating acute conditions at workplace clinics can eliminate trips to off-site clinics and/or emergency departments that can take hours or even the entire day. Prevention activities, such as immunizations and oversight of chronic conditions, avoid or minimize acute episodes of disease.

Employers are recognizing the need for alternatives to the existing health delivery system. On-site clinics can provide cost-effective, quality healthcare to employees, as they provide services targeted to the needs of the workforce (Sherman & Fabius, 2011). On-site clinics add value in three ways: improved health, lowered healthcare expenditures, and improved productivity related to both reduced absences and/or to presenteeism, which occurs when employees comes to work impaired by illness and are unable to work to their full ability (Caloveras. Liu, Exum, Broderick, & Mattke, 2014).

In this article, we will review the history and value of on-site clinics and present a case study of an on-site, university-campus clinic that has had a positive financial impact, Such a clinic is an example of how an on-site clinic can be a positive strategy to reduce healthcare costs for the employer and employees while promoting the health of employees

Workplace clinics are not a new phenomenon. In the 1980s, these clinics, usually found in large companies, existed primarily to treat occupational injuries. However, many clinics went out of business because of the decline in heavy industry and manufacturing. In the past 10 years, there has been a resurgence of on-site clinics (Tu et al., 2010). However, the current focus is now on health promotion, wellness, and primary care services. Employers, employees, and policy makers are showing an interest in workplace wellness programs; and a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) encourages more employers to offer such programs. Additionally, a focus on recent increases in healthcare expenditures is a common theme in the on-site clinic literature (Bolnick, Millard, & Dugas, 2013: Caloveras. et al.. 2014: Isaac. 2013: Lerner, Rodday, Cohen, & Rogers, 2013: Marshall, Weaver, Splaine, Hefner, Kirch, & Paz, 2013: Sherman & Fabius, 2012).

Employers that provide healthcare benefits are increasingly controlling rising costs by shifting the cost burden to employees through consumer-driven, high-deductible, health plans coupled with health savings accounts (Marshall, et al., 2013). Employees can use health savings account to pay for services at the on-site clinics. In addition, employers are placing emphasis on wellness initiatives and creating incentives, such as a lower insurance premium, for participating in healthy behaviors (Marshall, et al., 2013).

Value of On-Site Clinics

On-site clinics have risen in popularity because they contribute to decreased costs, a reduction in healthcare expenditures and a positive return on the associated financial investment. These benefits are discussed below.

Decreased Cost

The cost of a visit to an on-site clinic is less expensive than the same visit to an off-site clinic (Tao et al., 2009). This is often due to lower operational costs at a worksite clinic than at a community clinic. Additionally, employees can seek prompt treatment for health concerns for which they would typically see a primary care provider, thereby receiving timely care and decreasing costs associated with unscheduled absences from work, the burden of which is high for companies. …

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