Brian MorrisWhether you are an employer trying to manage healthcare costs, or an employee trying to stay healthy, it’s important to stay informed about innovative healthcare strategies like Direct Primary Care and On-Site Clinics.

Direct Primary Care

A Direct Primary Care (DPC) model is similar to having a monthly gym membership.  Physicians, pediatricians and internists charge a monthly membership fee that covers most of what the average patient needs, including visits and drugs at lower prices, instead of accepting insurance for routine visits. As a result, DPC can provide substantial savings to patients.  Consider the following:

  • Cost of visit—Free with monthly membership
  • Copay cost—No copays
  • Length of visit—Typically 30-60 minutes (traditional doctor’s office visits are less than 20 minutes)

Because they don’t operate under the typical fee-for-service model, many DPC providers are able to spend more time with their patients. Research shows that patients who have a good relationship with their doctor receive better care and are happier with the care they receive.

Does DPC replace the need for health insurance?

No. In fact, DPC providers recommend that their patients have some form of insurance to protect themselves in the event of an emergency. Remember, DPC is for primary care. It will not take care of catastrophic injuries, surgeries or trips to the emergency room.

How popular is DPC?

DPC is emerging as a way to combat rising healthcare costs and maintain a high quality of care. Those who partner with the right providers may find great success with this type of healthcare model. While DPC has grown steadily in the past few years, the market is still slow. Despite this, DPC providers and supporters are optimistic about the model’s future.

On-Site and Near-Site Clinics

Our modern workforce and the busy pace of life make this next innovative strategy appealing.  A workplace “on-site clinic” is typically located on or near employer facilities, where medical and wellness services are offered to all or a designated portion of the active employee population and other eligible individuals. Services are performed by licensed professionals and can be designed to cover a wide array of healthcare needs.  On-site, employer-sponsored medical clinics are growing in popularity as employers look for ways to manage healthcare costs and as employee wellness becomes a higher priority.

What services can On-site Clinics provide?

Services offered at an on-site clinic can vary widely. Some clinics offer comprehensive primary care services, while others simply supplement the care employees receive from their primary care providers. These supplemental clinics may offer diagnostic services, injury care, pharmacy access, preventive care, wellness services and more.

Employers can also choose the availability of their clinics. Larger employers may keep them open throughout the workweek, while companies with a smaller budget may limit the days or hours their clinics operate. In addition, some clinics provide services to spouses and dependents, while others are limited to just employees. Other options to consider include whether to have a full-time or on-call physician, or whether to have a nurse practitioner and supporting staff.

What are the potential benefits of an On-site Clinic?

Some of the advantages of on-site medical clinics for employers are:

  • Lower healthcare costs by reducing unnecessary emergency room visits
  • Increased preventive care due to its convenience for employees
  • Mandating generic medication use when possible
  • Integration of on-site clinical care with other wellness initiatives
  • Reduced absenteeism by increasing employees’ access to care
  • Assistance with return to work injuries by making on-site care and therapy available to employees.

Larger companies, with at least several hundred employees, are more likely to reap the financial benefits of having on-site clinics. Smaller companies may not enjoy a large return on investment simply because there are not enough savings on employee health costs in comparison with the cost of starting and maintaining an on-site clinic.

Rising healthcare costs and our modern workforce demand innovative solutions.  Staying informed takes time and effort.  For more information on the abundance of options available, reach out to any of us at Fulcrum Risk Solutions, where helping you manage a healthy workforce is our business!

By Brian Morris
President, Fulcrum Risk Solutions