How can I tell if my onsite health clinic is really saving me money?

Many organizations have launched onsite health clinics as a strategy to save money for the employer or plan sponsor. The trend has promoted savings both directly, such as lowering health expenditures, or indirectly by reducing lost productivity time keeping employees on site.

The lower health expenditures is achieved by providing primary-care services at a lower cost than in a typical network setting. The most common primary-care services include routine office visits and wellness services, limited pharmacy coverage and low-level diagnostic and laboratory services.

The actual savings generated can be measured by comparing total costs and unit cost for comparable services provided in the clinic setting and network setting.  Other sources of savings thru direct means may also include:

  1. increase use of wellness benefits (i.e. physicals and immunizations)  and
  2. reduction or delaying of high cost incidents for persons with chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, obesity and congestive heart failure.

These savings are long-term in nature and require a clinical approach to measuring savings.

Savings from clinics are not just financial in nature (are my costs going down?) but also clinical (are my employees healthier?). The analysis is done by comparing costs and utilizations for those persons using the clinic services versus a controlled group which does not use the clinic. The analysis may also be done comparing the costs and utilization of those persons using the clinic to their costs and utilization before implementation of the clinic. The data requirements for an evaluation of clinic savings include individual-level claims and biometric information.

This article was last updated on February 22, 2013


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