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On-site health services can reduce employee absence, comp costs

Posted On: Oct. 16, 2015 12:00 AM CST

Offering on-site health services is not likely to have a material impact on employers' medical expenses, but it can be useful in reducing employee absences and workers compensation costs, according to a report by the National Business Group on Health and Truven Health Analytics.

In a study of 107 large employers' health care, workers comp and disability benefit strategies released this week, the availability of on-site health clinics was shown to have little influence on group health insurance costs. It was conducted between April and June 2015 and released to members on Wednesday.

Employers that offer on-site clinical services reported per-employee health care costs of $10,277 on average, compared with $10,239 for employers that do not offer on-site clinics.

Sixty percent of employers polled in the study said they offer some form of health care services at their worksites, with 48% indicating that they offer acute care and 33% offering occupational health services.

“It's important to note that it has traditionally been difficult to connect the availability of on-site health clinics with lower overall health care costs,” the study's authors wrote in their summary report. “However, on-site clinics offer multiple benefits, including better care, improved access to care, and increased productivity, because employees do not have to leave the worksite to receive care.”

According to the NBGH's study, employers that offer on-site clinical services to their entire employee population reported an average incidental absence rate of five lost workdays per employee per year, compared with rates as high as 27 lost workdays among employers that offer minimal or no access to onsite clinics.

Nonclinical on-site health resources were also shown to be of some financial value to employers.

Companies that offer onsite workplace fitness programs, for example, reported average workers compensation costs of $323 per employee, 21% lower than the average per-employee workers comp costs reported by employers that do not offer on-site fitness programs.