Some companies provide doctors, health care at work

Imagine. You’re at work and you start feeling sick. But instead of heading to the doctor’s, you just head down the hall to the medical facility at your own workplace. A growing number of companies are providing on-site healthcare for employees. Could it be just what the doctor ordered?

A day after hurting her shoulder, Juanita Luna knew she needed a doctor. But instead of leaving work early to get it checked out, she checked in with her company’s health care center right down the hall. And she had an appointment five minutes later.

“I would have had to take off work, call my doctor,” she said, “probably would have resulted in about a half day out of the office.”

Larry Boress is with the National Association of Worksite Health Centers. He says a recent survey finds a third of companies now offer some form of health services on site. Boress says it’s great for companies and employees.

“Having an onsite clinic really gives them a great opportunity to quickly get to the service they need or pick up the drug or see the doctor or nurse and then get back to work,” he said. “It also helps for the employer because then people are not away from the work site.”

Services can range from a single room where employees can check their vitals or Skype in to an on-call doctor…r to elaborate facilities like where Juanita works at PG&E, which can offer services ranging from acute care to acupuncture. Even physical therapy.

“We listen to our employees and these are the services that they ask for,” said PG&E spokesperson Angela Lombardi. “We don’t want them spending time traveling or waiting for health care. We want them to get the right healthcare at the right time.”

And, says Boress, it can be less expensive, too. “People have less out-of-pocket costs because the clinic itself doesn’t have to generate revenue,” he said. “It’s there solely to help people get healthy. To improve the access for services and keep people productive.”

As for Juanita, she was prescribed four weeks of physical therapy for her shoulder and says she never missed a beat at work.

“The stress of having to take off work and schedule around meetings?” she said. “That’s just gone. It’s enormously convenient.”

In addition to helping employees get healthy, says Boress, these centers can also help them stay healthy with nutrition programs, smoking cessation programs, and more. Which can be a win-win for both employer and employee.

I really do enjoy the feature,” she said.

Reporter:Channing Frampton
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