When it comes to healthcare initiatives, employers often look for low-cost, immediate-impact options that are supposed to deliver ‘big bang’ results without the high price tags. Too often, however, these low-cost initiatives disappoint by delivering low-quality outcomes, resulting in a continuous cycle of new program additions, higher costs, and rigid guidelines that employers and employees alike must abide by.
Employee healthcare is one of the largest expenses an employer will incur. As such, it deserves a quality, long-term savings approach in order to keep costs lower. While it may sound counterintuitive, investing in initiatives like onsite or near-site clinics can actually mean increased ROI both in the short—and especially—the long term.
While these clinics require a considerable amount of start-up investment, the potential ROI is incredibly tangible and can provide significant dividends for organizations that take the leap sooner than later.
Here are 5 ways onsite and near-site clinics can deliver long-term savings:
1. Redirecting Primary Care Visits
In today’s unpredictable claims environment, employees are given a plethora of physician choices. However, only a handful of those physicians are likely covered by the employer’s health insurance plan of choice. Instead of continuing to use this approach where employees struggle to even identify a physician they want to see that’s actually covered under their policy, they can visit an onsite clinic which—along with providing quality care without travel time—has no fluctuation in cost and little to no surprise charges. Employees also know what they’re going to be charged ahead of time, thanks to transparent employer communication.
2. Reducing Avoidable ED Visits
One of the largest costs to an employer’s health insurance bill is the Emergency Department – an average visit costs $1,233. Incredibly, a whopping 71% of ED visits are unnecessary, which means the cost was avoidable. But many patients are compelled to use the ER as their source for care – simply because they have no other source for care – especially in time of need.
By offering employees onsite and near-site clinic access with options for acute care needs, many non-emergent and unnecessary ER visits can be avoided. Patients will have convenient access to a dedicated primary care provider for acute needs such as back pain, stomach aches, urinary tract infections, as well as long-term effective treatment for chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, whose acute symptoms can land patients in the ER with surprising regularity. Delivering improved access to care through onsite clinics gives employees an easier option for emergency care than driving all the way to an ED or calling a very costly ambulance. In many circumstances, onsite clinics can readily deliver the necessary acute care for these employee ‘emergencies,’ helping them avoid the ED—and the ED costs—all together.
3. Keeping Costly Specialty Referrals in Check
In today’s network-based healthcare environment, specialty care referrals are made based on in-network relationships and partnerships, which doesn’t always equate to providing patients with the highest level of care. Instead of only allowing employees to visit certain specialists, employees with access to an independent, unaffiliated onsite or near-site clinic can be referred to whomever provides the best quality care at the best value, regardless of network. Having the independence to operate outside of traditional hospital or physician network boundaries allows independent onsite clinics to deliver high-quality coordinated care without compromising on value.
4. Controling Direct Costs to Labs and Pharmacies
Another important component of self-funded healthcare is direct costs, which includes pharmaceuticals and diagnostic lab tests. Some onsite and near-site clinics, such as those OurHealth provides, include onsite dispensaries with the most frequently prescribed medications in stock. These generic drugs can be obtained for almost 20% lower than market prices, delivering the cost savings directly back to employers. Laboratory tests also present a high-cost charge for employers, but with onsite clinics that leverage lab test purchase agreements in bulk, lab prices can be discounted at least 70% lower than market prices.
5. Managing Chronic Conditions
One of the main reasons employers invest in onsite clinics is to help employees that battle chronic conditions maintain healthy outcomes. Providing easy access to care makes it easier for employees with chronic conditions to visit the doctor, keep up with improvement plans (losing weight, monitoring blood pressure, etc.), and feel motivated to lead healthy lifestyles—all without having to leave the job site. Having a wellness-focused organization can also help identify chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease early and help prevent worsening or spreading. Investing in an onsite or near-site clinic is the best way to show employees that the company is invested in their health, which is a motivating factor to live well.
Start Saving Today with Onsite and Near-Site Clinics
For high-impact wellness initiatives to actually deliver value and results, a significant investment is a must. Fortunately, the savings is readily available for organizations who take steps towards delivering a new kind of healthcare to employees. Organizations like OurHealth are providing high-quality, long-term onsite and near-site health clinics to employers looking to cut back on healthcare costs.