As 2018 ends, one thing is abundantly clear, the burden of rising healthcare costs for employers continues unabated. Industry attempts to move further towards value-based care, incentives to achieve quality over quantity, and improvement in access and patient experience have yet to impact cost or health at a national population-health level.
60% of Americans have healthcare coverage through employer-sponsored plans.The magnitude of the challenge and the opportunity has cultivated an employer mindset of innovation to drive down cost, improve care, and ultimately transform healthcare.
The 2018 Mercer Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plansreports one-third of companies with 5,000 or more employees provide a general medical clinic at or near the worksite.Two-thirds of those allow members to select the clinic as their primary care provider with 35% of the clinics serving as a patient-centered medical home. According to Mercer, “As employer willingness to provide primary care increases, so does their obligation to provide high-quality, fully integrated services within the broader connected healthcare neighborhood.”An on-site or near-site clinic, with a patient-centered medical home approach, offers a real solution.
Another major challenge to cost and health outcomes is occurring in behavioral health. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates there are now fewer than 28,000 active psychiatrists in the U.S., with three of five aged 55 years of age or greater.Simply put, there are not enough providers to serve the needs of the population.Employers considering on/near-site clinics are integrating behavioral health within employer-owned primary care clinics. This includes extended office visits allowing primary care providers to practice front-line behavioral health within the scope of their training, the deployment of nurse practitioners and physician assistants with specialty training in behavioral health, and telehealth providers to fill the gaps.
As employer-owned clinics gain momentum, they are evolving from an acute-care focus to a patient-centered medical home approach and beyond with the integration of behavioral health solutions.
Given that 80-90% of the most people’s medical needs can be served by primary care providers, 2019 offers the opportunity for employers to evaluate a patient-centered medical home approach at their worksite for their employee populations.The depth and breadth of on-site and near-site employer solutions continues to transform healthcare.