Workplaces Use Company Clinics to Cut Healthcare Spending

A report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal brings attention to a growing trend in the business world: using the company health clinic as a substitute for primary care. 
According to the article, rising health costs and an aging workforce have incentivized larger companies to search for ways to lower their healthcare payments. One apparent solution is to transform the role of the company clinic. 
Company clinics, often staffed by nurses rather than physicians, have begun to move away from simple treatment of workplace injuries toward monitoring employees' chronic conditions. 
While the workplace clinic substitution appears to be an effective strategy in reducing hospital and emergency department admissions — and therefore healthcare payments — at some companies, it also raises tricky questions surrounding employee privacy in the workplace. 
Despite this, the move is a popular one. The Journal sites a statistic from Towers Watson, a healthcare consulting company, showing a 5 percent increase from 23 to 28 percent between 2011 and 2012 in the proportion of large companies with health clinics. By 2014, Towers Watson expects that figure to grow again — to 39 percent.

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