Workplace medical clinics were once a benefit reserved for employees at only the largest companies with the deepest pockets. But now some vendors are helping groups of small and midsize employers provide convenient primary care at shared clinics in hopes of tamping down medical spending.
Meanwhile, as employers of all sizes grapple with rising healthcare costs and consider workplace clinics as one remedy, hospital systems are signing up to staff those clinics to gain new patients or keep vendors from stealing existing ones.
Many employers find workplace clinics can help lower healthcare costs to the point they can put more money into paychecks. “If a clinic is well-run, staffed correctly so that providers are productive—that they're seeing your patients—and the providers are referring patients to specialists within the favored networks of the employer, it will help to save money,” said Dr. Allan Khoury, a senior health management consultant with Willis Towers Watson.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local in Cincinnati shares two such medical clinics with the local plumbers and pipefitters union. Rick Fischer, business manager of IBEW Local 212, said medical spending was eating up union members' pay raises each year, so he looked at the clinic as a way to curb those insurance costs and put more money into workers' wages and pensions.