In-office health clinic saves money, improves employee satisfaction

Workplace primary care clinics have potential to boost employee retention, recruitment.
Workplace primary care clinics have potential to boost employee retention, recruitment.

NEW ORLEANS — An employee-family health clinic implemented within a specialty orthopedic practice in Mississippi effectively reduced health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses and improved satisfaction among employees. 

“If you have nurse practitioners within a specialty clinic, they're in a unique position to provide increased healthcare access and improve cost savings with an employee health clinic,” Alena Lester, DNP, FNP-C, told The Clinical Advisor

After observing a 10% increase in health insurance premiums paid out for employees, her practice decided to utilize the practice's three nurse practitioners to provide primary care within the workplace. She explained the process during a poster session at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners 2015 meeting

“We talked to the board of nursing, obtained collaborative agreements, worked out contracts, designated staff members, built out templates, and basically started the employee health clinic,” Lester said. “We see both urge care and primary care patients and provide services including physicals and screening.”

The implementation involved six key steps: 

  • Conducting a needs assessment for increased access to primary care for employees and family members covered by the current company insurance provider
  • Developing a conceptual framework positioning nurse practitioners as building blocks for an employee-family health clinic
  • Examining possible internal and external influences that could effect health outcomes of employees and families and clinic goals
  • Formulate collaborative practice agreements with local family practice physicians
  • Educate staff members about the purpose, benefits and procedures for the clinic
  • Develop policies regarding patient flow, appointment scheduling and billing procedures

The practice provided health insurance for 100 employees and more than 250 employee family members. Within one year, the employee-family health clinic decreased the cumulative benefits the practice paid out in claims by $70,309 and cut monthly out of pocket expenses for employee insurance premiums from $106 to $60.

“For a minimum-wage employee this decrease in monthly payouts, especially for a mom with three kids, is huge,” Lester said. 

In addition to the financial benefits, the practice also saw a 90% drop in employee absenteeism within the first three months, which then leveled off and stabilized. Prior to introducing the clinic, the practice had an estimated 10 absences per month. That number is now down to an average of three per month. 

“The employee-family health clinic boosts employee retention, employee recruitment, and has led to a better, healthier work force,” Lester said. 

Reference

  1. Lester A. Poster Session. "Implementation of an Employee-Family Health Clinic within a Specialty Practice." Presented at: AANP 2015. June 10-14; New Orleans. 
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