Perception of employee and senior management support is high,
although few track centers’ performance
As pressure remains strong to keep workers healthy, productive and on
the job, a significant number of U.S. employers with onsite health
centers are planning to expand the scope of services offered, as well as
the audiences eligible to use the centers, in the next 12 months,
according to a survey by global professional services company Towers
Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW).
The Towers Watson 2012 Onsite Health Center Survey looks at 74 large
employers that have established or are planning to establish onsite
health facilities. Services offered at onsite centers can include onsite
coaching, immunizations, biometric screenings, physical therapy,
pharmacy and other medical services. According to the survey, most
companies (62%) establish or keep their centers open to gain
improvements in employee productivity that come from eliminating visits
to offsite medical providers. Other factors for establishing a center
include cost reduction (57%) and improved access to care (46%).
Currently, a majority of onsite health centers offer biometric
screenings (81%), wellness counseling (73%), urgent care and
first-responder services (70% each), and primary care services (63%).
However, many companies plan to add new capabilities in 2013. Most
notably, 28% of employers plan to add telemedicine, up from 8% that
currently offer the service. In addition, 8% plan to add primary care
services (63% currently offer); 6% plan to add full onsite pharmacies
(24% currently offer), and 6% plan to add physical therapy (up from 41%
“Employers believe onsite health centers can effectively address the key
needs of increasing productivity, controlling costs and improving
employee health,” said Greg Mansur, senior consultant at Towers Watson.
“It’s important to note that onsite health centers will not be a fit for
all companies. However, many of those companies that have embraced them
believe they can pay even greater dividends in the future. Specifically,
these employers are planning to offer new services and expand the
audiences that can use them.”
Currently, over one-third (36%) allow spouses and children of employees
to use their centers. Within 12 months, those numbers are expected to
jump. An additional 13% are planning to allow spouses to use the
centers, and another 11% are planning to allow children. More employers
are also planning to allow former employees on COBRA, as well as
temporary and contract employees, to use their centers.
“Treating covered dependents can provide as much value to an
organization as treating an employee,” said Patti Friedman, senior
consultant at Towers Watson. “In fact, when evaluating the expected
costs and savings of implementing an onsite health center, more use
tends to translate into higher returns.”
Perceptions and Measurement
Overall, employers and employees at companies that have implemented
onsite centers view them positively. The survey found that employers
believe that nearly three-quarters of senior management have very high
support for their centers. Likewise, they believe that most employees
are very satisfied with both the level (53%) and quality (58%) of the
services offered by their centers.
Despite these encouraging views, only 38% of employers believe their
onsite health centers generates a positive ROI, compared with 9% that do
not. The remaining 53% either don’t know or don’t track the ROI. Those
that measure use lost time as the most common factor to make their
“Even though internal support is high, companies are finding it
difficult to get their arms around how to measure the ROI of onsite
health centers,” said Dr. Allan Khoury, senior consultant at Towers
Watson. “But that will come along in time. With employee health and
productivity, and cost control, remaining paramount concerns, the future
of onsite health centers remains very promising.”
Other survey findings include:
While employers offer benefits at their onsite health centers beyond
the normal scope of what is considered exempt from ERISA requirements,
only 53% identify their onsite health centers as an ERISA plan.
84% of centers currently in place utilize an electronic medical record.
More than three-quarters do not expect their centers’ service
offerings to change due to health care reform. However, 30% expect the
use of their centers to increase due to reform, while 34% do not
expect an increase, and 36% are unsure.
For access to the full survey report, visit: http://towerswatson.com/united-states/research/7705
About the Survey
The 2012 Onsite Health Center Survey was conducted before the Supreme
Court announced that the PPACA was constitutional on June 28, 2012. This
online survey took place from May 3 to May 25. It asked targeted
companies to answer 21 questions about their implementation, use and
employee perceptions of onsite health centers. Participants included
organizations that currently operate an onsite health center and
participated in the 17th Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on
Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care (2012) and the
Towers Watson 2011 – 2012 Staying@Work Study. The respondents represent
companies with at least 1,000 employees, accounting for a total of 1.7
million employees, and operate in a variety of industry sectors.
About Towers Watson
Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW) is a leading global professional
services company that helps organizations improve performance through
effective people, risk and financial management. The company offers
solutions in the areas of employee benefits, talent management, rewards,
and risk and capital management. Towers Watson has 14,000 associates
around the world and is located on the web at towerswatson.com.