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Onsite clinics offer employer savings and convenience for employees

What if, instead of taking time off from work to make a trip to your doctor's office, you could visit your company's onsite health clinic when you're feeling unwell?

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Initially onsite health clinics were meant to treat occupational injuries such as cuts and other wounds. Today, many worksite clinics have a broader focus and treat the overall health of employees through preventative care, health screenings, vaccinations, urgent care and the management of chronic diseases.

Workers who have access to onsite centers receive quality care that is typically covered by their health insurance. In many cases, dependents who share an employee's health care plan have access to on-site services, too.

Onsite clinics gaining popularity

If your company doesn't have an onsite clinic yet, it may soon. According to a recent Mercer study, 31 percent of businesses with 500 or more employees and 33 percent of those with over 20,000 employees now offer work-site clinics.

In addition to helping employees, workplace health programs are usually good for the bottom line. In fact, onsite clinics and other workplace health programs can reduce absenteeism, health care costs, and disability and workers compensation expenses by more than 25 percent, according to the Council of State Governments' Healthy States Initiative. In total, these benefits produce a return of between $3 and $6 for every dollar invested in the program by the employer.

Because of the expense of hiring medical staff and purchasing equipment and supplies, it generally doesn't make sense for mid-sized or small businesses to open their own onsite health clinics. However, banding together with other local businesses to share the cost is an option for small- to mid-sized employers. The Mercer study found that 25 percent of respondents with between 200 and 999 employees had established joint on-site health centers with other regional employers.

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