I’ve written before of the growing number of companies who are starting in-house medical clinics, either on their own or by contracting with outside groups. Similar to the retail store based clinics, the company clinics are typically staffed by nurse practitioners. Toyota, on the other hand, is opening a 20,000 sq ft clinic at a San Antonio, TX production facility with 2.5 FTE physicians, X-ray and a small lab.
The Sunday New York Times ran a feature in the Business section on these clinics.
The takeaway is part of this is about direct cost of care, but a lot of it is about time and preventive care. WIth the physician/nurse practitioner on site (or very close by), employees and companies lose little productive time. The cost is less, as companies contract for the service rather than paying a fee for each service. From your perspective, much like capitation, properly planned and managed it can be a profitable service. You do have to know your cost of service, as opposed to your posted charges.
e companies see a direct result from investments in preventive care, disease management and wellness programs. I recommend to clients that they go after small businesses near their office and offer same day appointments for employees. What you sell is the time factor, which is important for employees as well as employers. You can support this and build a closer relationship by offering or assisting the business in offering welllness and preventive care programs, including flu shots (there’s still time!). Treat these as a marketing expense to build the practice, and to bring added value to the services you bring to your patients.
The retail and company clinics are spreading, and there will be some retrenchment beginning late in 2007. Regardless, the concept is taking hold, and will make inroads into some of the bread and butter business for primary care practices in particular.