Number of on-site corporate clinics continue to increase

The trend has been slowly gathering steam for some time now, and of late it seems to be hitting its stride. A growing number of large companies, including Cisco Systems, Walt Disney Co., Harrah's Entertainment, Toyota Motor Corp., and Dow Chemical, are offering on-site clinics as a means of keeping employees healthier, cutting healthcare costs and minimizing the time workers spend offsite at doctor appointments.

Not only are employers offering on-site clinics, they're doing them in style. Cisco's, for example, includes wireless tablets for sign-in, private "care suites" for appointments and waiting rooms with HDTV sets that display a patient's vitals and medical info before that patient even sees the doctor.

One thing these employers have in common is that they're virtually all self-insured, meaning that they benefit directly when a patient's care costs less. Still, even traditionally-insured large employers are interested in this approach. Almost 30 percent of large employers had a clinic on-site or planned to open one by 2009, according to a 2008 survey by human resources consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide and the National Business Group on Health.

Will mid-sized firms follow suit? Probably not. Companies need to have at least 1,000 workers in one location to make investment in an on-site medical worthwhile, according to Watson Wyatt.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this San Francisco Examiner piece

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