Bettina G. Lumaban
Consulting and Analytics Leader
As the pandemic continues its devastating spread, the primacy of health and wellbeing has never been more profound.
Best-in-class onsite clinics — those that provide primary care services, employee health and disease management as well as long-term cost-containment strategies — offer a multitude of benefits to your business, yet in some cases they are being used as little more than first-aid stations.
Mercer explores the advantages of onsite clinics that go beyond governmentmandated requirements because
Healthy People = Healthy Business
Onsite clinics’ vital role during the coronavirus pandemic
Businesses across the world are being fundamentally challenged by the pandemic. At the time of writing, there are over 145,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Our businesses need to optimize all existing tools to safeguard business continuity.
Best-practice onsite clinics play a vital role in keeping your business safely open. They are your frontline defense, a central hub for detecting, evaluating and managing coronavirus risks. From helping to set physical distancing guidelines and managing possible exposure, to timely hospital referrals and disease management, these clinics are proving invaluable.
To protect your business effectively, onsite clinics should have detailed protocols for every facet of your organization, including transport, communication and decontamination. They also need to have proper infection-control equipment and contingency plans in order to safely isolate, transport and quarantine patients.
Onsite clinics do essential work in setting safe return-to-work protocols and processes. This planning should already be well underway
Controlling your spend in the longer term
Medical inflation in the Philippines is already at 13%. For many organizations, medical costs seem to be an uncontainable expense, with already steep premiums expected to double in the next five years. However, onsite clinics can be highly effective in controlling long-term medical costs.
We know there is a strong correlation between utilization and premium increases — in short, if you control utilization, you limit premium increases — and a best-practice onsite clinic is one of the most effective utilization controls available.
Historically, employees have attended hospitals to seek expensive primary care for ailments that can be addressed easily and cost-effectively by onsite clinics. Hospital overutilization is generally driven by perceptions of better-quality care when, in fact, best-in-class onsite clinics more than meet employee expectations of cutting-edge healthcare.
Therefore, the challenge for onsite clinics is to really up their game in order to become the trusted provider of choice, both in primary care and in making referrals. Moreover, healthier employees will lead to a consistent long-term reduction in medical costs, so onsite clinics should go beyond reactive care and become health and wellness centers. A clinic focused on holistic wellbeing, preventive health and early intervention will result in improved employee health and a robust culture of wellness — which will see costs controlled successfully for years to come.
Absences from work due to medical visits can cost as much as 5% of payroll, so at a basic level, onsite clinics make economic sense by removing the need to travel for primary healthcare.
Strategically, by positioning your onsite clinic as employees’ first stop for preventive and primary care, your organization can potentially reduce absenteeism/presenteeism, leading to higher overall productivity.
Talent and culture
At a time when 53% of employees prioritize whole person wellbeing, operating best-in-class onsite clinics can make a crucial difference in the war for talent.
Organizations that are not proactive on employee wellbeing are missing the opportunity to build a strong employer-ofchoice reputation as well as better employee engagement.
Mercer Marsh Benefits partners with employers to design and implement clinic-management programs that are effective, efficient, sustainable and that aim to achieve the maximum return on your health investments.
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