As WAG celebrates Worksite Health Centers AAAHC accreditation, industry can expect further growth
Half of the primary care work-site health centers managed by Walgreens Employer Solutions Group have received AAAHC accreditation as patient-centered medical homes, with plans to have all of the company’s employer-based primary care centers accredited in the first half of 2013.
The news speaks to the quality of care delivered at Walgreens worksites, and as employers increasingly look for ways to curb healthcare costs and boost employee productivity, one can expect to see greater growth of such facilities going forward.
In fact, a 2012 survey released by global professional services company Towers Watson found that a significant number of U.S. employers with onsite health centers are planning to expand the scope of services offered, as well as the audiences eligible to use the centers.
According to the survey, most companies (62%) establish or keep their centers open to gain improvements in employee productivity that come from eliminating visits to offsite medical providers. Other factors for establishing a center include cost reduction (57%) and improved access to care (46%).
The Towers Watson study also found that a majority of onsite health centers offer biometric screenings (81%), wellness counseling (73%), urgent care and first-responder services (70% each), and primary care services (63%). However, many companies plan to add new capabilities in 2013. Most notably, 28% of employers plan to add telemedicine, up from 8% that currently offer the service. In addition, 8% plan to add primary care services (63% currently offer); 6% plan to add full onsite pharmacies (24% currently offer), and 6% plan to add physical therapy (41% currently offer).
Survey respondents also indicated that they plan to allow more spouses and children of employees to use their centers and are also planning to allow former employees on COBRA, as well as temporary and contract employees, to use their centers.
Onsite health centers also can play a vital role in improving adherence. The reality is that improving medication adherence means healthier, more productive employees. Underscoring this point is a 2009 study by Take Care Health Systems, which found that those patients using workplace primary care and pharmacy services have higher adherence rates to medications for chronic conditions — nearly 10% higher — compared with patients treated in the community.