Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Working for Good Health: On-Site Medical Clinics Growing Trend for Okla. Employers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Working for Good Health: On-Site Medical Clinics Growing Trend for Okla. Employers

Article excerpt

Bringing wellness to the workplace is a growing trend in Oklahoma. Dozens of businesses across the state provide on-site fitness centers for employees to work out, and a handful have on- site medical clinics.

While the goal for many is to do the right thing, there is an added benefit of reducing health care costs and increasing productivity, said Pam Troup, executive director of St. Anthony's physicians operations.

"With health care reform and all the changes, it's becoming more costly for employers," she said. "All the clients we deal with, their major objective is the right thing to do for employees; they want a healthy, happy workforce. The side benefit is saving money."

St. Anthony's operates on-site clinics at Chesapeake Energy, American Fidelity Assurance Group and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. Devon Energy has joined the ranks of other Oklahoma businesses that are bringing health care to the workplace. The company recently opened a clinic, operated by the University of Oklahoma Physicians group, in Corporate Tower downtown.

Troup said though her clients' on-site clinics operate differently, they have the same goal: to improve employees' health and save time spent outside of the office. Improving preventive care is crucial, she said.

Ranked 43rd in the nation for health outcomes, Oklahomans face daunting statistics: One in three are overweight, one in four smoke and one in nine are diabetic. To make matters worse, about 30 percent of people who have health care benefits don't have a primary care physician.

Mollie Collins, director of marketing, PR and physician recruitment at Tulsa-based CareATC, said the 30 percent of people who don't see the doctor regularly are driving health care costs up for everyone, because they are more at risk for catastrophic illnesses. Her company works to set up doctor's offices on or near a work site to help clients manage and prevent chronic diseases.

"Employers have a vested interest in their employees' health and productivity," she said. …

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