A Washington Post article today examines the trend of opening clinics in the workplace to provide handy quick access to medical care. At no or minimum cost to the employee!
Here's an excerpt from the article:
A quarter of Fortune 1000 companies are expected to have on-site clinics by the end of next year, up from the 15 percent or so that have them now, according to David Beech, a health-care consultant at Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc., a benefits consulting firm. The trend has caught on so quickly that there is little comparative data: Watson Wyatt didn't even ask the question until this year.
Higher health premiums have helped nourish the trend: Employer health premiums rose 7.7 percent in 2006, according to the 2006 Kaiser Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey. That is slightly lower than previous years but still feels burdensome to companies and employees alike.
Companies are discovering that not only are direct health care costs reduced (less $s spent on premiums as their employees tend to get treated earlier and take preventive steps like getting flu shots, fewer resources used as there can be greater oversight of the use of clinical guidelines for uncomplicated illnesses). Indirect costs of lost work time have dropped dramatically as well.
Seems like some smart healthcare providers have figured out that if the Mountain won't come to Moses, then Moses must go to the Mountain. For those employees who keep putting off their checkups and routine preventive care, to avoid taking that half day (getting to the doctor, being kept waiting 40 minutes, being seen, following up with labs/tests etc, and driving back to work), having a clinic they can walk to during their lunch hour must be a godsend. Now if only they'd take advantage of it regularly......
What's neat is that employees are encouraged to continue a relationship with their primary care doctors and specialists, as there seems to be no pretence that these clinics are substitutes for replacing the insights of a physician into the medical and psychosocial needs of a long-standing patient.
I loved the comment from one company representative: "They are not treating their body like a car where it gets constant care and checkups", she said. "That's what we're trying to do."
Can you just see the billboard or posted in the employee workplace?
"Get your quarterly tune-up at the Human Body Shop - quick lube job, realignment and exhaust check, to keep that engine ticking over smoothly. No co-pays, no wait, no outdated copies of People to bore you"
Joking aside, with an emerging trend such as this, what entrepreneurial opportunities do you sense for physician business start-up, or for your practice?