With cost-effective care in your hands, employers who offer workplace wellness will be glad to see you.
In a world where more chiropractors are looking to avoid the overhead and hassle of working with third-party payers, a rapidly expanding opportunity deserves the attention of the entire chiropractic community. Employer-funded, on-site care clinics are rising in number across the country.
Although the idea of employees having access to healthcare at work is not new, it is experiencing tremendous growth. No longer is this only a benefit at a select few Fortune 500 companies, but with each passing day more companies of all sizes are providing healthcare in the workplace.
In a survey by the National Association of Worksite Health Centers (NAWHC), 75 percent of the 255 U.S. employers polled said they offer some form of workplace wellness program, and 43 percent said they have an on-site or near-site clinic. Traditionally, these clinics and programs have focused on treating and reducing workplace injuries. Today’s on-site clinics have a much different purpose. With the explosion of healthcare expenses over recent years, employers are searching for ways to control costs and improve the well- being of their employees.
While the vast majority of on-site clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and medical doctors, chiropractors are currently being recruited by employers and existing on-site clinics, too. In addition, other chiropractors are developing relationships with local employers and expanding their services to include on-site care.
Experts predict that this healthcare delivery model will soon become standard in large companies, but the challenge will be for small-to-medium- size businesses to capitalize on this service. The initial startup costs associated with a traditional medical clinic is difficult for smaller businesses to justify. This is where chiropractic has a distinct advantage. The profession’s conservative, low-tech approach to healthcare allows you to set up a treating facility for a significantly reduced price.
To expand chiropractic’s presence in this emerging market, first understand the benefits of on-site care and how it affects everyone involved. Creating a “win” situation for all players is the key to success.
A win for employers
The rising cost of healthcare has been well-documented for years. As major contributors to health benefit plans, employers have sought ways to limit this expense. This process started with benefits packages shifting from low- deductible or no-cost health plans to the more recent trend of high- deductible plans that transfer more cost to employees.
With the realization that these changes were merely shifting costs and not reducing them, on-site care has emerged. Employers are reporting a number of benefits from their on-site programs, including reduced absenteeism, improved morale, increased productivity, and controllable healthcare costs. In addition, companies report using their on-site clinics as a way to keep and attract the most talented employees.
A win for employees
Two of the biggest barriers in our healthcare system are cost and convenience. Individuals hold off on seeking care because they don’t want to spend the money or it doesn’t fit into their busy schedule. This often allows adverse conditions to increase in severity, which leads to heightened complications and expenses.
With an employer-funded, on-site care option, these obstacles become more manageable. Care becomes less of a financial concern or an obligation that must be handled outside of work, cutting into valuable time off. This flexibility results in patients addressing healthcare issues at the early intervention or prevention stage and ultimately results in happier, healthier, and more productive employees.
As a chiropractor, you have the opportunity to be a full-time, on-site provider or retain the option of stepping away from your practice for a few hours a week to deliver on-site care. You have much to gain in both of these cases. Being recognized by a local employer as an expert provides an inherent endorsement within the community and can lead to additional opportunities.
It also makes good business sense to have a revenue source with little or no overhead and direct reimbursement for services rather than depending on third-party payers.
With neuromusculoskeletal conditions being a serious issue in many industries, the timing is right for chiropractic to capitalize on this market. The profession has solutions to meet the demand. Expanding awareness about chiropractic’s contribution to healthcare is the next step to ensure we are not left behind in the on-site wellness trend.
Chad Henriksen, DC, DACBOH, holds a diplomate in occupational health and applied ergonomics and has been providing on-site care to employers over the past 20 years. In his current position, as the Ergonomics Division Coordinator for the Sweere Center at Northwestern Health Sciences University, he works with chiropractors to set up on-site care services. He can be contacted at 952-888-4777 ext. 295, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through nwhealth.edu.