In an effort to curb health care costs and provide employees with more convenient means of addressing urgent and chronic health needs, a growing number of companies are employing the use of in-house medical professionals and clinics.
As Reuters reports, employers such as Intel benefit from in-house clinicians by stemming employee absenteeism for medical reasons and producing a healthier work force through less costly, on-going preventative care:
While companies have for years offered yearly flu shots or brought in yoga teachers, that hasn’t been enough to offset expenses from rising obesity rates and other conditions.
“We were beginning to see … growing chronic conditions in our population,” says Tami Graham, director of global benefits for Intel. “All the stuff that ails America, ails Intel.”
For every dollar spent on in-company programs, employers get a return on investment of $1.50 to $3, according to a 2009 study by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a society of healthcare professionals. [...]
Employers and employees hail the services, saying they save money and time. Workers can walk to nearby clinics, rather than spending work hours commuting to doctors’ offices. And the convenience prompts many to get symptoms checked quickly. Urgent – and contagious – conditions are then caught earlier.
The new trend towards in-house care is another example of firms implementing creative experiments, such as corporate insurance exchanges, in the face of rising health care costs and an American workforce beset by unhealthy habits and their corresponding chronic medical needs. The previously mentioned report also underscores the correlation between health coverage and employees’ work output, as recent studies have demonstrated that higher costs and reduced access to care lowers productivity.