On Site Clinics, ACA and Wellness

The country as a whole is looking at a shortage of physicians by 2025.  This is in part due to the Affordable Healthcare Act, i.e. more people being insured and seeking to find a primary care physician, and population growth and aging.  How can we as wellness providers make a difference in this projection, and can we make a difference?  Are employers interested in seeking alternate healthcare provider systems for their employees?  Can a wellness company provide such a system?

On-site clinics have provided basic first aid to employees at manufacturing companies for a while now.  Employees get injured, are assessed and treated on the spot, then hopefully go back to work.  But, what about ongoing medical needs?  What about medical needs of the employees’ families?  Of course, there is the bottom line for the employers-what about the cost /expense of taking care of those families?

Wellness providers, by their very definition, are interested in helping empower the employees to attain/maintain wellness through the various programs offered.  These could include on-site screenings, telephonic or on-site health coaching, weight loss/management programs to name a few.   A logical extension of these wellness activities is providing condition management and acute medical care for the employees and dependents.  An on-site clinic, partnered with the wellness provider, is poised to offer this type medical care for employees and their families, especially when staffed with a board-certified nurse practitioner.

The nurse practitioner is able to provide a myriad of services to the employees and families:  flu vaccinations, venipuncture for labs, sick child care, condition management, acute care, e.g.  Also, the nurse practitioner is able to provide “stop gap” care for those employees who need a refill on medication but aren’t able to take time off to have an office visit with the PCP.  This type of service improves employee productivity and decreases absenteeism.

Then there is the bottom line.  Employers save dollars on insurance claims because employees aren’t going to an urgent care clinic or an emergency room for care which can be provided at the on-site clinic.  Employees are saved the copay/deductible for such services as well.

I am a nurse practitioner at an on-site clinic.  The employees appreciate the personal, professional service in an unhurried atmosphere.  Of course, attention is given to returning to work in a timely manner.  I am able to offer acute medical care which the employee might otherwise seek an urgent care/emergency room to provide.  I also offer condition management in conjunction with the employee’s PCP, when an appointment is not feasible.  This management may include lab work, prescriptions, counseling.

An employee may have had federal assistance which was discontinued and is in between coverage, either through the employer or the Affordable Care Act.  I am able to provide care for this employee and dependents.   I feel this is where an on-site clinic can make a dent in the physician shortage, with those employees who haven’t had insurance but do now with the ACA.  These employees will be seeking a care provider maybe for the first time and don’t know where to find an available PCP.  The on-site clinic can be a bridge for this population.

The physician shortage will be here; studies have been done to show this.  We can prepare ourselves by developing alternate ways to provide care and condition management to employees.  An on-site clinic can alleviate this shortage and provide needed acute care and condition management to employees.

Stay tuned to learn why wellness providers are in a unique position to provide on-site clinics to employers and impact employees’ health.

Dottie Craig
Onsite Clinic Nurse Practitioner