Healthcare Business News

Activate Healthcare looks to add workplace clinics in Wisconsin

By Bob Herman
Posted: July 11, 2014 - 3:45 pm ET

A healthcare company founded by a former burger chain executive and a physician group leader is growing its base of on-site workplace health clinics—a facility type some view as critical to the shift toward preventive care.

Indianapolis-based Activate Healthcare announced it is in the process of expanding its clinic operations into Wisconsin. Activate, which manages 20 near- or on-site health clinics with more than 40 employers, already has a presence in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Washington. It has not yet signed a client in Wisconsin, but the company is predicting quick growth there.

On-site workplace clinics are touted as a way to lower healthcare costs, improve employee productivity and bolster preventive care.

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Employers build the facilities on or near their grounds, allowing employees to schedule wellness exams, physicals or other services on their lunch breaks.

The recession caused many employers to delay or cancel on-site clinic plans, but companies have regained interest in the past year, especially as employer-sponsored health premiums have continued to skyrocket.

Former Steak n Shake Co. CEO Peter Dunn and ex-Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates CEO Debra Geihsler created Activate in 2009. The company contracts with school districts and various-sized companies, such as Monarch Beverage Co. in Indianapolis, to provide employees with primary-care services, chronic-disease prevention and management, health screenings, low-cost laboratory services, generic drugs, immunizations and physical therapy. Employers then pay a per-employee monthly fee to Activate, which builds staffs and operates the clinics.

Patricia Lenius, Activate's vice president of business development, did not disclose fee levels.

The goal and structure of Activate is slightly different than the traditional workplace clinic, Lenius said. The physicians, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, wellness coaches and other clinic employees receive salaries.

Fee-for-service and productivity-based payments aren't conducive to providing high-quality primary care or preventing chronic conditions, Lenius explained.

“Everything (we do) is wrapped around the patient and the process of wellness,” she said.

Follow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman

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