Highmark Joins On-Site Clinic Movement

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , November 30, 2009

Little says that other wellness and preventive programs at Highmark have shown to be very cost effective, resulting in $1.65 in savings for every $1 spent on things like the lifestyle rewards step program. "I expect we will be able to demonstrate a similar type of ROI here. That makes it very appealing to a customer," Little says.

The only negative that I can see in these on-site clinics is that they are limited only to very large companies that can absorb the up-front costs, and have the economies of scale to make them work. Little concedes that it would be difficult for a company with 50 or 100 employees to follow the model. "I'm not sure whether we are going to be able to do that in the short term," he says.

The answer for smaller companies might be to pitch in and split the cost of establishing a clinic, for example, centrally located in the industrial park where they're located.

I'm a big advocate of retail medicine and on-site clinics. The nation's healthcare delivery system has done a poor job making itself more accessible for our 24/7 culture. Not even banks have the same restrictive hours of operation as that of most physicians' offices. On-site health clinics represent a common sense and cost-efficient way to deliver medical care. This is not a passing fad.

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John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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