Some companies are redefining how their employees visit the doctor by providing on-site or near-site clinics.
MillerCoors’ clinic employs 10 people, including a full-time physician, a full-time physical therapist and a part-time physician assistant. The clinic offers convenience with appointments scheduled for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Last year, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the clinic had about 2,600 patient visits for primary care, 1,900 visists for physical therapy and 2,20 ancillary visits, such as getting a blood-pressure test.
“We think it’s been quite effective in slowing the rise in health care costs,” said James Sheeran, director of corporate benefits for MillerCoors. “We are very confident of that.”
The MillerCoors clinic is run by QuadMed which emerged from a clinic Quad/Graphics opened almost 25 years ago. QuadMed president Sue Buettner explained the savings can vary by employer, because they depend on the workforce and services offered.
Near-site clinics are also a growing trend. These clinics are shared by several employers. For example, Wisconsin’s West Bend School District has a clinic at the school district’s central office.
The clinic is open 30 hours a waeek and staffed by a physician assistant. The majority of the PA’s time is spent on wellness and providing basic primary care.
The school district’s health plan covers a visit to the clinic and includes lab tests and prescription drugs from the clinic’s limited pharmacy.
Valley Elliehausen, chief operating officer of the West Bend School District, said a visit to the clinic costs on average $129 compared to $226 for an office visit.
But, Elliehausen said, the real savings are expected to come from helping some employees and family members change their behavior and live healthier lives.