Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How On-Site Medical Clinics Curb Fast-Rising Costs of Medical Care in Workers Comp

On-Site Clinics Decrease Costs

Many medium and large employers in their never-ending battle to reduce cost and to provide benefits to their employees are opting for on-site medical clinics. On-site medical clinics can decrease the cost of general health benefits programs and decrease the cost of medical care associated with workers' compensation claims. On-site medical clinics have proven they can curb the fast-rising cost of medical care for both personal and work-related injuries and illnesses.

Some employers are hiring clinicians themselves, and others are using contracted providers who also provide software, protocols and other tools to support the clinicians.

Medical Care Provided at Work Site, Convenient & Effective Treatment

With the on-site clinic, the medical care is provided at the work site, which is convenient for employees who otherwise would have to leave work for care. Injuries and illnesses are evaluated by the clinic staff; many cases can be treated on site. Employees are referred to off-site medical facilities only if the injury or illness is beyond the scope of the medical professionals in the on-site clinic.

On-site clinics often use a variety of staffing models, including RNs, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants - with physician collaboration and direction as needed. Depending on the employer's needs, on-site clinics can be staffed with a doctor. When properly managed, on-site medical practitioners can provide high quality medical care while reducing overall costs. They can also provide other health services such as wellness, and regulatory exams, etc. On-site clinics can include x-ray machines and pharmacy services, though costs and state regulations affect the feasibility of those services. Good providers of on-site medical clinics will tailor the services provided to the employer's needs.

Benefits to Employees

The benefits to the employee injured on the job include:

· Medical services available when the typical doctor's office is closed - evenings, weekends and holidays

· No appointment is necessary

· Immediate medical care following an injury

In addition to the workers' compensation benefits, the employee also enjoys easy access to medical care, assistance with chronic medical problems and healthy living guidance.

Benefits to Employers

The benefits to the employer of the injured worker include:

· Evaluate and treat employee injuries immediately

· Avoids unnecessary and off-site medical treatment

· Referral to appropriate and screened preferred medical providers when off-site care is needed

· Improved outcomes and faster return to work, increasing productivity

· Assist in keeping all workers healthy and productive

· Reduces absenteeism

· Significantly lower cost for medical services for workers' compensation claims

· Can provide physicals

· Drug screening

· Improved general health of employees

· Improved employee morale

· Increases employee retention

· Can coordinate pharmacy usage with your Pharmacy Benefits Manager

· Timely reporting of the injury and medical information to relevant parties.

· The First Report of Injury form is completed and filed with both the state and claims office.

Treat Workers Comp and Health Care

On the workers' compensation side, the on-site clinics can treat lacerations, strains, sprains, other minor orthopedic injuries, abscess drainage, minor skin infections and other routine acute medical conditions. On the health care side, the on-site clinics can treat the whole gamut of minor medical conditions that causes employees to lose time from work including strep throats, colds, ear and eye infections, skin lesion removal and vaccinations.

Clinics Used For Any Site with 1,000+ Employees

On-site clinics are not just for industrial sites like factories, and mines or large office centers. On-site clinics can be operated for just about any industry where there are 1,000 or more employees in one location. Mobile and temporary clinics are used for large construction projects such as skyscrapers, power plants, and highways. All clinics need to be equipped with the necessary furniture, supplies, equipment, and medications.

The cost of drug testing for both employee applicants and existing employees can be significantly reduced by using an on-site clinic. Drug testing due to reasonable suspicion, random testing and post-accident screening can be completed by the on-site clinic. In many states the timely completion of a post-accident drug testing can be used to deny workers' compensation benefits to employees under the influence of a drug at the time of their injury. A positive drug test result can be sent to a certified lab for further confirmation.

Be Sure to Select Quality On-Site Medical Provider

When an employer is selecting the on-site medical provider, select a medical provider who provides an on-going review of the quality of service they are providing. The service quality can be evaluated by patient reviews and comments, by clinic audits and by staff performance evaluations.

On-site clinics do carry costs and risks as well. To be successful, the staff needs to be trained for on-site work, and be supported with appropriate software, operating systems, supplies, medical direction, protocols, QA, and other infrastructure. The medical practice needs to carry malpractice insurance coverings the employer and be compliant with HIPAA, GINA, HITECH and other privacy regulations. In addition, some on-site providers may introduce conflicts of interest if they are financially tied to the off-site hospitals, clinics and pharmacies that they refer to.