How our employer-sponsored health clinics help you manage healthcare costs

| September 9, 2021

How our employer-sponsored health clinics help you manage healthcare costs

Explore the ways that our advanced primary care health centers are improving workforce health and employers’ bottom lines


Amid healthcare costs growing faster than general economic inflation, U.S. employers are searching for strategies to provide high-value employee health care while effectively managing healthcare costs and getting the greatest value from dollars invested. [1]

Forward-looking employers are turning to employer-sponsored health clinics as innovative delivery methods to bring health care directly to workers at or near their workplace. These onsite or near site health centers are specifically designed to help businesses control rising healthcare costs by engaging employees and applying a preventative care approach to employee health.

In a recent survey of nonfederal public and private employers, it was found that among employers with 50 or more workers, 20% that offer health benefits have an onsite or nearsite employer-sponsored health clinic and large employers with 5,000 or more employees are more likely than smaller employers to have these clinics. [2] With these promising numbers, it is important for employers that are interested in an employer-sponsored health center solution to find the right partner that is focused on providing better care to their employees while generating substantial healthcare ROI.

At WeCare tlc, instead of merely operating employer-sponsored health clinics, we are committed to creating health centers that are the medical homes for your employees and their families. Our onsite and near site health clinics offer employees comprehensive, advanced primary care while delivering consistency in both results and outcomes, restoring the doctor-patient relationship, and providing a sustainable solution for long-term investment.

Continue reading to learn the significant ways that our advanced primary care health centers are improving employee health and employers’ bottom lines.

#1: Utilizing the patient-centered medical home model.

Too often, employer-sponsored health clinics fail to meet their full potential. A recent survey found that of employers with onsite or near site health clinics: [3]

78%

cite clinic utilization rate as successful when rating overall clinic performance.

60%

find the clinic to help members control chronic conditions.

<50%

report a return of 1.5 or higher on their investment in the clinic.

As the only independent, privately held, primary care solutions provider in the country that is 100% transparent, we are proud that our results prove the value of our approach to employer-sponsored health clinics:

↑ 65%

of our clients’ workers use our clinics in the first year. That grows to more than 80% in the second year.

↑ 99%

of employees would recommend WeCare TLC clinics to a fellow employee.

↑ 3 years

Employers covered the cost of the clinic, eliminated medical inflation and reduced overall health plan costs within three years.

↓ 15-25%

Employers lowered their health care costs by 15 percent to 25 percent.

We believe that to truly manage health plan costs, onsite and near site clinics must become the primary point of contact for all the health care needs of your employees. Only then can the doctor-patient relationship be restored which then leads to better health through the supply of preventive care services. That is why our clinics are organized as patient-centered medical homes (PCMH), an evidence-based model that lowers costs and improves quality of care.

A PCMH like ours includes the following functions and attributes:

  • Comprehensive care: Accountable for providing the majority of patients’ physical and mental health care needs including wellness check-ups, disease management, lab work and other diagnostics. 
  • Patient-centered: Providing a patient-centered experience and outcome to each member that is oriented to understanding each individual’s unique needs and preferences. 
  • Coordinated care: Taking steps to ensure that patients receive all the care they need within the clinic and community.
  • Accessible services: Committing to improving patients’ access to care through shorter wait times for urgent needs, enhanced in-person hours, and more.
  • Quality and safety: Continuous commitment to quality and quality improvement through evidence-based medicine and clinical decision-support tools to monitor and improve outcomes. [4]

A growing body of research is providing evidence that PCMHs benefit employers by curtailing overall health care costs through reducing inpatient visits, emergency department use, and hospital readmissions.

A recent survey of 255 employers who provide onsite clinics to their workforce reported that their financial objectives for their clinics are being met with a 64% reduction in medical care costs, nearly 70% reduction in time lost from visiting offsite medical providers, and 63% reduced emergency department use. [5] In addition to benefiting the employer, these statistics also make a strong case for encouraging employees to make the health center their medical home. 

Learn more:
WeCare tlc to offer new mental health options for employers

#2: Practicing team-based care.

At WeCare tlc, our PCMH modeled employer-sponsored health clinics rely on a team to deliver care. Instead of one physician trying to accomplish everything a patient needs in a brief in and out visit, our clinical team—physician, registered nurses, medical assistants and licensed practical nurses—works together to care for the patients.

From our patient’s perspective, this means more time with the physician as part of our effort to restore the doctor-patient relationship and provide advanced primary care to our members. Freed up from routine tasks, WeCare tlc physicians spend 40 minutes with each patient on the first visit and at least 20 minutes during subsequent visits. Patients also enjoy the convenience of accessing advanced primary care, laboratory services, wellness programs, and medications all in one visit.

Our application of team-based care is backed by research that shows it improves patient satisfaction, confidence in health providers, and overall comprehensiveness and effectiveness of care. Although some may perceive team-based care as moving away from patient-centered care, it is quite the opposite. Team-based care only strengthens our clinics’ focus on patient-centered care by improving the value of care that our members receive from our health care providers. 

Team-based care has many benefits such as effectively:

  • Expanding access to care through more hours of coverage and faster wait times
  • Delivering additional clinic services including care coordination, wellness program oversight and analysis, integrated behavioral health, and targeted total lifestyle counseling
  • Fostering an environment where all team members are encouraged to perform work matched to the best of their abilities. [6]

Learn more:
The importance of integrated behavioral health

At WeCare tlc, our team-based care staffing model includes:

  • Physician: Sets the care plan; evaluates all the data and information to make modifications to the care plan; performs minor surgeries and refers patients to specialists if needed.
  • Nurse practitioner: Cares for lower-risk patients and provides urgent care.
  • Registered nurse: Talks to patients who have symptoms; follows up on complicated test results; coordinates pre- and post-surgical care; educates patients on their conditions and coaches patients in self-management; serves as health coaches; manages the care for individuals with complex conditions; implements disease management programs.
  • Licensed practical nurse: Renews prescriptions and follows up on abnormal (but not complicated) test results.
  • Medical assistant: Schedules patients and performs blood draws and simple examinations.

#3: Providing convenient and accessible care.

Typically, going to the doctor is inconvenient, stressful, and expensive. We strive to make it as easy as possible for employees to get the care their employers are offering through:

  • A physician-led model. Healthcare is a very personal aspect of your life which is why a strong relationship between the patient and their doctor should be the foundation of care. The more doctors learn about their patients and their history, the quicker they can recognize issues and offer solutions.
  • No co-pays and no deductibles. Even a small copay acts as a deterrent to care, so our fixed monthly fee covers 100% of primary care services.
  • Open appointments for walk-in visits. We purposefully schedule open appointments each day to handle urgent and emergent care.
  • An onsite prescription drug dispensary. The top reason patients first come to a clinic is to get their medications filled. Our prescribed medications can be conveniently collected for free from our clinics.
  • Convenient and flexible hours. Clinics are open at varied times to best fit the community it serves and designed to meet employee needs and schedules.

As a result of this approach to care, we have some of the highest employee participation rates in the industry with over 65% of our clients’ workforce using our clinics in the first year and more than 85% in the second year.

WeCare tlc helps employers manage healthcare costsPercentage of WeCare tlc clients whose employees use their on-site clinics.

#4: Measuring metrics to ensure success. 

One of the hallmarks of a PCMH modeled employer-sponsored health clinic is an ongoing commitment to quality improvement. At our onsite and near site health clinics, we analyze important performance metrics to identify our areas of weakness and enact improvements.

The metrics we analyze include:

  • Patient satisfaction: Patients are surveyed on every visit.
  • Generic utilization: Frequency of patients’ use of generic medications.
  • Provider utilization: How often employees use providers at various licensure levels: RN, NP or physician. It also assesses the types of clinical services being used.
  • Evidence-based practices: Providers’ charts are audited continuously to ensure care is complete and follows evidence-based protocols.
  • Referrals: Referrals to specialists must be timely and appropriate; none should occur for routine office care.
  • Follow-up care: Frequency that patients receive timely follow-up care.

Additionally, we seamlessly pull together employer health plan and on-site health clinic data, which we then analyze to identify health care cost savings and quality improvement opportunities for your business.

Using data from medical claims, employees’ health risk appraisal forms, the electronic health record, pharmacy, lab and clinic costs, our clinical analysis toolkit reports reveal where your employee population health needs lie, where they are getting healthier, and hidden opportunities for cost-savings.

Our goal is to identify and manage current and potential employee health issues in a way that mitigates short-term health costs. This helps you save money on health plan costs, while increasing your employees’ long-term health and productivity in a comprehensive approach called medical risk management.

With our medical risk management approach, you find answers to questions such as:

  • What are the untreated health needs in my employee population such as diabetes and high blood pressure?
  • What is the risk level of each employee?
  • How many employees are overweight or tobacco users?
  • When can generic medications be used?
  • Which community specialists and hospitals should I include in my plan design?
  • Where am I seeing excessive specialist utilization and should I bring those health services in-house?

You can then respond by coordinating a plan with our team and taking such actions as:

  • Promoting the use of generic medications at the on-site dispensary
  • Changing clinic hours to ensure maximum employee participation
  • Steering employees to certain hospitals or specialists in exchange for lower prices
  • Reaching out to individual patients to boost enrollment in disease management programs
  • Modifying clinic offerings to bring more visits in-house.

Case study: Healthier employees in just one year

When we opened one of our health centers to serve a heavy equipment manufacturer in Indiana, many of the company’s 720 employees were suffering from obesity, high blood pressure, and uncontrolled diabetes.

In just one year, employee health improved dramatically:

  • 58 employees—or more than half of the firm’s diabetic employees—had their blood sugar under control.
  • 181 employees—or 42% of the overweight and obese workers—lost weight.
  • 64 employees improved their management of high blood pressure.

Using widely accepted measures that tie dollar values to health improvements, we estimate the employer saved $404,325 in long-term costs.

Troup County Clinic case study:
A public-private primary care collaboration to improve community health and well-being

Protect your bottom line by managing healthcare costs

WeCare tlc onsite and near site health centers help you manage healthcare costs by providing similar services to traditional employer health benefits at much lower costs and disrupting the existing model of health care delivery.

Since changing employee behavior and reversing health cost trends can take time due to actions and inactions from years before, we look at health plan cost data for up to three years prior to opening a clinic. After one year of opening a WeCare tlc health center, our data team provides employers with a rolling, month-over-month analysis of how their financial trend is changing.

Once you partner with us for your employer-sponsored health clinic, you can expect to see health care cost inflation flatten in the first year, as your employees increasingly use generic medications and get their primary care needs met at the clinic. In the second year, referrals will decline as your employees use specialists less frequently and their health improves as they start to more proactively manage their chronic conditions. In the third year, your employees’ chronic conditions improve, leading to reduced prescription medication and health care costs.

The positive financial impact WeCare tlc offers is unmatched

WeCare tlc financial impact (**all savings are net of clinic costs)

These healthcare cost savings we offer our clients are all tied to the way in which our clinics are constructed. When it comes to medications, tests and treatments, our clinics offer these services at a fraction of the market cost. Our providers are salaried and have no incentive to refer patients to specialists or order unnecessary tests. In fact, our clinics have reduced referrals to specialists by 50% by providing needed care within our primary care clinics.

We are proud to share that since our founding our results show:

90%

of employees are satisfied with the scope of services

50%

reduction in specialist referrals

85%

of prescriptions filled with generics

As for long-term benefits of offering a health clinic for your employees, our healthcare model has shown to improve overall employee health because many workers who use our clinics previously had no primary care provider. Through care management, nurses also follow employees when they receive care outside our clinic to ensure high-quality, coordinated and cost-effective treatment. Through health coaching programs, healthy employees stay well and those with chronic conditions learn to better take care of themselves, which lowers future health care costs for you as an employer.

Ready to generate healthcare ROI and create a healthier workforce?
Partner with us

“WeCare tlc brings a fresh concept to the practice of medicine. They have the experience of operating clinics that are customized to the client and their needs. I strongly believe that WeCare tlc offers the experience, neutrality, and advocacy an employer needs and the expertise to manage your health care clinic.”
Jim Rubottom, Vice President of Human Resources, The Knapheide Manufacturing Company

Sources:

1: Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker | How has U.S. spending on healthcare changed over time?

2: Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) | 2019 Employer Health Benefits Survey

3: Mercer | Worksite Medical Clinics 2018 Survey Report

4: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality | Defining the PCMH

5: National Association of Worksite Health Centers (NAWHC) | Onsite Clinics Are a Key Component to a Successful Health Benefits Strategy

6: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality | Creating Patient-centered Team-based Primary Care