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J.C. Penney headquarters' on-site clinic enhances worker productivity, health cost savings

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J.C. Penney Co. Inc. unveiled the company's clinic and pharmacy to its 3,500 headquarters employees during a 2010 health and wellness fair that also included healthy cooking and fitness demonstrations, biometric screenings and a farmer's market.

The facility, located at the company's Plano, Texas, headquarters, is staffed with two physicians, two pharmacists, three nurses, a registered dietician and other support staff.

Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, the clinic looks like any other doctor's office equipped with a waiting room, receptionist and four examination rooms. The pharmacy, open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, also sells typical drugstore sundries like over-the-counter remedies and greeting cards.

“We wanted an affordable option that was convenient,” said Matthew Harmon, benefits delivery and retirement director.

With office visits that cost just $10, the clinic, operated by Concentra, a Humana Inc. subsidiary, provides a low-cost alternative to members of J.C. Penney's consumer-driven health plan. This charge is not subject to health plan deductibles, which range from $750 to $4,000.

Walgreen Co. operates the pharmacy, which offers prescription drugs at competitive prices, even though they are subject to the health plan deductibles.

The clinic costs J.C. Penney about $1 million annually to operate, but Mr. Harmon estimates the return on investment is between four-to-one and five-to-one, based on medical cost savings and enhanced productivity stemming from the fact that employees don't have to leave the company's headquarters campus for minor medical treatment.

Headquarters employees also have access to an on-site fitness center, which provides nutrition counseling, exercise equipment and classes, all in support of employee wellness.