In the face of rising healthcare costs year-over-year, many employers are turning to alternative healthcare solutions, including onsite clinics and other onsite healthcare services. But what are onsite clinics? In this guide we are giving an overview of onsite clinics and the services and benefits they offer.

What are onsite clinics?

Onsite clinics are primary care facilities that employers pay for directly. Onsite clinics exclusively serve the people the employer chooses to include. While some employers may choose to cover only employees who participate in their health plan, others may opt to include employees plus their spouses and dependents and even retirees.

The main benefit of onsite clinics is the ability to offer employees convenient, high-quality primary care, preventive services, and workplace wellness initiatives at a lower overall cost.

Typical Services That Onsite Clinics Provide

In addition to differences in coverage, onsite clinics often vary widely in the scope of services they offer. Some onsite clinic vendors provide only basic services, similar to an Urgent Care Center or a retail, walk-in clinic.

Others, such as Proactive MD’s onsite Health & Wellness Centers, may operate more like a primary care office, establishing long-term relationships of care with patients and offering a comprehensive range of services. These more robust options may also include services outside the clinic walls, such as Patient Advocacy, second opinion networks for costly and complicated diagnoses, and virtual care or telemedicine.

When looking for an onsite clinic vendor, it’s important to understand which services are included in the proposal in order to make an accurate comparison.

What to Look for in an Onsite Healthcare Vendor

Maybe you’re intrigued by the value proposition of onsite healthcare—and for good reason. The potential benefits of choosing onsite healthcare for your employees are many, including more controlled healthcare costs, budget predictability, greater productivity, less absenteeism, and better employee recruitment and retention.

Onsite clinics can help you drive down the overall cost of care and create better health outcomes for your employees. However, employers will only be able to realize these benefits by choosing the right onsite healthcare option for their workplace needs.

Here are 5 things to consider when choosing an onsite clinic vendor:

1. Who Leads the Clinic?

Does the onsite clinic vendor use a physician-led model or a nurse practitioner model? While NP’s are incredibly valuable and effective medical professionals, choosing a physician-led model will significantly affect the functionality of your onsite clinic. Physicians offer a broader scope of care, which means they are better able to manage chronic diseases, one of the leading drivers of high costs. If part of your goal is to create a “medical home” for your employees onsite, then you need to be able to offer comprehensive services that can fully replace the network doctors on your current health plan. Additionally, choosing a clinical physician enables you to offer better, more engaged care coordination across the entire continuum of care.

2. What is the Scope of Services?

Does the onsite clinic vendor you’re considering have a clear, integrated plan to provide comprehensive population health management and wellness services? Onsite clinics can generate ROI using a number of soft measures such as productivity increases and reduced absenteeism. However, one of the main ways to impact the overall cost of care for your employees is through effective disease management. Your onsite healthcare vendor should have a plan for managing chronic conditions, providing preventive services, providing wellness initiatives, and offering ongoing, coordinated care outside the clinic walls. The best onsite clinic vendors keep patients active and engaged in their own care and connect patients to second opinion networks for more complicated health issues.

3. Does the Vendor Use a Cost-Plus Model or a Fixed-Fee Model?

Traditional onsite clinic pricing uses a cost-plus model that places most of the risk for financial variability back on the customer. Vendors who use this pricing model provide low-cost monthly fees and then surprise their clients with high pass-through costs. A vendor that offers a comprehensive fixed-fee model, on the other hand, includes 95% of their costs in the monthly fee.

4. Do Employees Have to Pay to Use the Clinic?

The main drivers for engagement with the company’s onsite clinic are convenience and the cost of care to the patient. How much is the onsite clinic’s co-pay? If your onsite clinic vendor charges patients too much, your employees are less likely to engage and you are less likely to achieve a significant ROI. Look for an onsite healthcare vendor that bundles all or most of the patient cost into the comprehensive fixed-fee.

5. How Does the Vendor Guarantee Performance?

A quality vendor should be willing to put total fees at risk to guarantee performance. However, it’s important to remember that not all performance guarantees are equal. Before you make a decision, read the fine print and see how much of their fees are actually at risk. 20% of management fees may seem impressive, but in reality, that amount typically equates to 2 to 6% of total fees. Be careful to choose a vendor that will put a portion of their TOTAL fees at risk—not just their management fees. Does your onsite healthcare vendor offer performance guarantees and then tie their fee to those guarantees?

Of course, there are many other considerations to take into account as you search for the right onsite healthcare vendor for your employees. Starting with these five questions will help you focus on vendors who provide a depth and breadth of services while weeding out vendors who put all the risk for their performance on you.

Proactive MD offers physician-led onsite Health & Wellness Centers that engage patients through the entire continuum of care. We also guarantee our performance and are willing to put our total fees at risk in our guarantees. Reach out to us to request a proposal, and let’s talk about making healthcare human again.