Large employers that offer an onsite health center for employees want to expand the scope of services offered, as well as the audiences eligible to use the centers.
According to the Towers Watson 2012 Onsite Health Center Survey, most companies (62 percent) establish or keep their centers open to gain improvements in employee productivity that come from eliminating visits to offsite medical providers. Other factors for establishing a center include cost reduction (57 percent) and improved access to care (46 percent).
The survey polled 74 large employers that have established or are planning to establish onsite health facilities. Services offered at onsite centers can include onsite coaching, immunizations, biometric screenings, physical therapy, pharmacy and other medical services.
While these employers believe both companies and employees view these onsite centers positively, only 38 percent believe these centers generate a positive return on investment. The remaining 53 percent either don’t know or don’t track the ROI. Those that measure use lost time as the most common factor to make their calculations (74 percent).
“Even though internal support is high, companies are finding it difficult to get their arms around how to measure the ROI of onsite health centers,” says Allan Khoury, senior consultant at Towers Watson. “But that will come along in time. With employee health and productivity, and cost control, remaining paramount concerns, the future of onsite health centers remains very promising.”
A little more than one-third of onsite health centers allows spouses and children to use the centers, and within a year those numbers are expected to jump, according to Towers Watson. An additional 13 percent are planning to allow spouses to use the centers, and another 11 percent are planning to allow children. More employers are also planning to allow former employees on COBRA, as well as temporary and contract employees, to use their centers.
“Treating covered dependents can provide as much value to an organization as treating an employee,” says Patti Friedman, senior consultant at Towers Watson. “In fact, when evaluating the expected costs and savings of implementing an onsite health center, more use tends to translate into higher returns.”
Other survey findings include:
- While employers offer benefits at their onsite health centers beyond the normal scope of what is considered exempt from ERISA requirements, only 53 percent identify their onsite health centers as an ERISA plan.
- 84 percent of centers currently in place utilize an electronic medical record.
- More than three-quarters do not expect their centers’ service offerings to change due to health care reform. However, 30 percent expect the use of their centers to increase due to reform, while 34 percent do not expect an increase, and 36 percent are unsure.
ONSITE HEALTH CENTER OFFERINGS:
Biometric Screenings - 81%
Wellness counseling - 73%
Urgent care and first-responder services - 70% each
Primary care services - 63%
COMPANIES PLAN TO ADD:
Telemedicine - 28%
Primary care services - 8%
Full onsite pharmacies - 6%
Physical therapy - 6%