Healthcare shifts: More care centers at workplaces, full-service clinics

The way physicians provide healthcare is undergoing some seismic shifts, from walk-in doctor visits that treat patients where they work to clinics that provide services beyond the typical offerings.

Take, for instance, The Wall Street Journal's spotlight on Stephen Fealy, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in New York, who sees patients at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s clinic on the 10th floor of the firm’s headquarters.

More and more businesses are establishing on-site medical clinics where employees can receive primary care and, in many cases, consult with specialists, the newspaper reports. They are doing so to help control rising healthcare costs, but also to offer a competitive benefit to employees. 

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“An on-site health center used to be a nice-to-have novelty, but it is now considered a mainstream benefit for a large employer,” Stuart Clark, chief executive at Premise Health, a Tennessee-based company that oversees the Goldman Sachs health center and others across the country, told the newspaper.

This year, around 50% of American businesses will offer on-site medical care for employees, up from around 30% in 2014, Larry Boress, of the National Association of Worksite Health Centers, told the newspaper. The level of care can vary from a single nurse to a team of primary care doctors and specialists that might include dermatologists, gynecologists, physical therapists and chiropractors.

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In addition to on-site clinics, the industry has seen the growth of patient-centered medical homes, such as the Cotton O’Neil North clinic in Topeka, Kansas. At the clinic, part of the Stormont Vail Health system, providers work together as a team, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.

“The idea is to be in people’s neighborhoods and where they live, where they work, for easy access and to be part of their community,” Melissa Herrman, M.D., a family medicine physician at the clinic, told the newspaper.

The clinic offers care beyond that typically found in a primary care office, with a mental health provider, a social worker, a Medicare wellness nurse and a care coordinator. The social worker, for instance, deals with patients’ socioeconomic needs, from transportation to medication assistance.

And the team-based approach offers better care, Herrman told the publication. “I know if my patient’s not taking their medicine because (another provider) told me, or if they couldn’t get it filled,” she said. “I can prescribe them all the medicine in the world to control their diabetes, but if they can’t afford it, and they’re only taking one of the three, I’m not going to get anywhere no matter how much more medicine I throw at them. Now we have the resources to help them get their meds and be successful.”