Health care is confusing, but by utilizing a shared-site clinic to deliver advanced primary care, an organization can provide its employees with easy-to-access care while reducing their overall spend.
In fact, The Alliance advocates for this model so much so, that we are currently working with employers in multiple communities to establish our own shared-site clinics – available even to employers that are not members of The Alliance!
But first, let’s begin by defining the two clinic models and how each might benefit your organization.
Shared-Site and On-Site Clinics
- Shared-Site Clinics are located at a community site and are available for use by employees and families from multiple employers. This is a popular option for smaller employers because costs are shared by all employers who are part of the clinic.
- On-Site Clinics are located at a single employer’s worksite for use primarily by their employees only. This model provides employers with maximum control over the benefits their clinic offers.
How Are Clinics Funded and Staffed?
Some employers contract with a health care system when establishing a clinic. Why? It’s built, staffed, and subsidized by the health system. This allows an employer to provide their workforce with accessible health care with little effort and less financial risk.
Another way to access a clinic is by contracting with an independent vendor. This may require more up-front costs because the employer might be responsible for implementation costs. However, this model provides a greater long-term impact on an employer’s health care spend due to the independence it offers. Because the employer has more control over the clinic, they can use their claims data to focus on cost-saving measures specific to their industry or employee population. Additionally, any care that is referred outside of the clinic can go to the highest value provider, and is not restricted to a specific health care system.
What Are the Benefits?
One benefit of using a shared-site clinic is it can be a big time-saver for employees. Patients usually see their doctor more quickly (and more often) thanks to their clinic being in closer proximity to their workplace. This is a big deal because, according to research by The American Journal of Managed Care, patients spend approximately 37 minutes traveling to their provider, and another 87 minutes being there – all for just 5-8 minutes of face-to-face time with their primary physician. Removing this time barrier and guaranteeing next-day (or even same-day) appointments incentivizes patients to see their health care provider more often, who, in turn, spends more time with the patient because they serve a smaller patient population.
Perhaps a more obvious benefit to using one of these clinic models is that it often saves on total health care costs. For example, about six years ago Brakebush Brothers opened an on-site clinic. Today, their healthcare costs are less than what they were in 2014!
In traditional health care, the employer’s health care costs increase as their employees increase their health care utilization. Typically, the only tool employers know they have to offset those costs is to raise employee co-pays – which is a difficult decision to make. But with a clinic model, employers are paying a set fee for accessing the clinic, so employers aren’t burdened with higher costs for excessive health care utilization. Additionally, the use of urgent care and the emergency room decreases when patients have the convenience of a nearby clinic.
And last but not least, employers can reduce absenteeism, increase retention rates, and become an employer of choice in their area by providing cost-friendly, easy-to-access primary care in the form of an on-site, near-site, or shared-site clinic.
Interested in starting or joining a Shared-Site Clinic? Contact Member Services.