For Family-owned Bank, Giving Employees More is Giving Back

For Centier Bank, the choice to give its associates primary care services via an onsite clinic came down to one reason: Family.

Founded in 1895, Centier is Indiana’s largest, private family-owned financial institution and the idea of family permeates every aspect of the organization’s culture, says Chrisanne Christ, Senior Partner in Human Resource Development.

That culture has earned the Merrillville, Ind.-based bank the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s “Best Places to Work” designation 12 years in a row, as well as fierce loyalty from its employees, many of whom spend professional careers spanning decades working for Centier.

Christ says that familial independence and strong focus on the best interest of its employees were key factors in bringing onsite healthcare to the organization more than five years ago. “We’re not strictly about the bottom line,” Christ says. “We have to make a profit of course – we have to be competitive, we have to be strategic – but we always make sure our decisions are right for our associates.”

Christ says she became aware of the option of onsite healthcare more than a decade ago. “What was appealing about it was the convenience of bringing healthcare to you versus having to make an appointment,” she says. “[When you make an appointment], then you go wait in the doctor’s office, then once you get seen, you have to get a prescription filled somewhere else – you would have to take a half to whole day off just to go the doctor, and that’s not even if you’re sick.

Chrisanne Christ, Centier Bank

“Making healthcare convenient means busy people will more readily take advantage of it.  Then add that it’s free, and it becomes a superior, unique benefit.”

Centier utilizes an OurHealth onsite clinic at its Merrillville headquarters, OurClinic @ Centier, providing accessible primary care to all of its full and part time employees. It saw initial success engaging employees with these services, so then partnered with other like-minded local employers to build a second OurHealth Clinic in nearby Valparaiso, Ind. to be shared amongst all of their employees. Most recently, after successfully expanding its presence in the Indianapolis metro area, it provided associates with access to care providers at OurHealth’s Indianapolis network of seven MyClinic locations.

And it’s not just employees or dependents on the health plan. “We made it available to every single aassociate – everyone gets to use it so it truly becomes an associate benefit,” she says. “We didn’t want any associate to not have it.”

That benefit was an ideal fit for Centier Bank for a number of other reasons, too, Christ says:

  • A Like-minded Partner: “When we do business, it’s much more effective to work with a like-minded partner, with a culture that’s similar to ours. When we met with Jeff Wells and Ben Evans (OurHealth’s co-founders), they were very sincere about why they were building the business – it wasn’t just about making money,” Christ says. “If you’re doing business the right way, that should be a byproduct.
  • Network Independence – Christ also notes that OurHealth’s network-neutral positioning and independence as a healthcare provider was an advantage compared to clinic providers from larger provider groups or hospital systems who may be incented to act as an exclusive referral source. “I didn’t want our associates to feel like they were just going to be referred into a particular system automatically,” Christ says. “I liked that independence.”
  • Stronger, Longer-term Provider-Patient Relationships – Christ says the appeal of OurHealth’s clinic model included the deeper relationships a provider can establish with their patients. “The model is all about getting to know the patient and their health,” she says. “By having healthcare that’s available when you need it, and having longer appointments, they’re really getting to know you as a patient.”

 The Results

“The No. 1 reinforcement that we made the right decision are the testimonials,” Christ says. She mentions that from preventing the risk of stroke or heart attacks to early detection of cancer, the stories she hears from associates run the gamut. “If had a nickel for every time someone said, ‘If the clinic hadn’t been there…’ – hearing those stories is all we need.”