Workplace clinics multiplying under health reform

Retail clinics and hospital EDs aren't the only places patients might seek care other than your office. As part of health reform, a growing number of employers are creating onsite clinics to promote employee wellness, Fox Business News reports.

Incarnations of the occupational clinics set up to handle worksite injuries on manufacturing plants, newer clinics include broader services like primary and specialty care, pharmacy service, blood draws, X-rays and physical therapy. For most services, a round-trip visit from a patient's desk takes about 45 minutes. In addition to convenience, patients have financial incentives to visit workplace clinics, as employees typically are responsible for lower or no copays and pay less for prescription drugs at worksite pharmacies. Workplace clinics also tend to be more technologically advanced than private practices, with 80 to 90 percent of them using an EMR, says Bruce Hochstadt, who leads Mercer's work-site clinic consulting group.

While the trend was once isolated among large, self-insured employers, smaller firms are increasingly teaming up with other companies or hospitals to open clinics. "There is no shortage of urban clinics in lower Manhattan," Hochstadt says. "Most of the major financial institutions have worksites, as do the technology firms along Silicon Valley's Route 101."

While employers take on the significant expense of operating these clinics in hopes of keeping sick days and health expenses down, some employees may be leery to trust that medical records will be kept confidential from their employers.

To learn more:
- read the Fox Business story