The Role of On-Site Clinics, Nurse Practioners and Wellness in a New Era of Health Coverage.

With the demand for primary care services already straining capacity in most states, more than 16 million individuals projected to gain health insurance coverage by 2016, and a rapidly aging population, many states are considering options to increase the number and role of primary care providers. One of the options under consideration is the extended use of Nurse Practioners.

I am sure many of you have attempted to schedule a routine visit with your Primary physician only to be told it would be a month before they could see you. It is no wonder why so many people forego the PCP altogether and select an immediate care or emergency room for even the most common problems. With the influx of even more insureds, this logjam of patients will only get worse and serve to drive this behavior further. Between 2000 and 2010, the mean expense for emergency department visits that did not result in a hospital admission increased 77%, from $546 (in 2010 dollars) to $969.

Companies have a significant ability to get ahead of the curve through the implementation of an on-site clinic staffed by a Nurse Practitioner and Wellness Coordinator.

While some on-site clinic providers want to replace employee’s primary physicians altogether, Spectrum Health Systems takes a different approach. Our clinics treat immediate illness and emergencies, but they also work with an employee’s physician to effect change in lifestyle and disease management. This two pronged approach is not only effective in treating the long-term health of the employee, but even more effective in containing healthcare related costs which will continue to climb as the new laws take effect.