Worksite clinics emerge as healthcare-reform player

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT News that Take Care Health Systems has opened a second on-site pharmacy at an Electric Boat shipyard is further testament to the value of such on-site facilities at employer locations.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens adds Take Care pharmacy at Electric Boat's Groton shipyard. For the full story, click here)

As the article states, Take Care pharmacists at the newly-opened site will provide prescriptions and pharmacy services to some 14,000 Electric Boat employees, retirees and their dependents enrolled in the company's health plan.

Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, is the largest operator of worksite clinics, operating well over 300 worksite clinics.

Employer-based pharmacies benefit employees by offering them a convenient, accessible and cost-effective vehicle for the delivery of services. It has been proven that by proactively managing the pharmaceutical needs of employees, these on-site programs help to mitigate the trend of escalating healthcare costs while also improving medication adherence.

In general, on-site health clinics differ depending on the employer's level of investment and employee population size and may comprise of a full primary care center with a fitness facility, a pharmacy or an on-site health coach.

Because no two clinics are alike and there are a lot of variables to consider, such as scope of services, the number of employees and general age of employees, it is difficult to specify cost savings; however, it has been estimated that savings are generally $2 to $4 for every $1 invested.

It is clear that the worksite clinic model, which is an ideal fit for an employer with 1,000 or more employees at a site, is evolving and emerging as a critical player in healthcare reform.

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