A growing number of companies are now offering on-site medical clinics, where doctors give everything from flu shots to physical exams. The clinics also offer blood tests and other routine health screenings. And just like your personal doctor, the clinics can help you treat chronic health conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
Over the past two years, the number of employers hosting on-site medical clinics jumped 15-percent. And experts say the trend is all about reducing health insurance costs. Because with workplace clinics, companies can be more proactive about improving their employees’ health, like offering nutrition and weight loss programs, quit-smoking programs and diabetes management classes. Plus experts say workers are less likely to call in sick, or take time off to see a doctor, when they know they can just pop into a clinic at work. And that helps companies boost productivity.
One problem with workplace clinics? Privacy experts say any time you have a service paid for by your boss, there’s always the possibility they’ll use that service against you. At one major tire manufacturer, for example, workers who are overweight or have high blood pressure have to pay higher insurance premiums. And you never know when employers might use your poor health as an excuse to fire you.
But make no mistake: Workplace clinics DO work. As an example: Ever since Hanes brands opened a clinic at its headquarters, ER visits among workers dropped 30-percent. And exactly half of the workers with diabetes have shown improvement in their condition. That’s a big reason why Hanes estimates it’ll save more than $1 million this year in health insurance costs by offering an on-site doctor.