Quality Makes the Difference: Accessibility and Service Quality are Keys to Onsite Care
Health cost trends continue to skyrocket at a national rate due to chronic disease. Failure to conduct health screenings and delaying to seek help for minor health issues can escalate to serious conditions resulting in expensive health claims. When quality care is easily accessible, however, health costs can rapidly decrease.
Early detection, prompt treatment, and consistent follow-ups are key components of the onsite healthcare model. By supplying onsite or nearby medical care for employees, employers are mitigating risks and cutting costs, all while increasing employee benefits. In addition to a healthier bottom line, this translates to improved productivity and fewer sick days with less time away for physician appointments.
The Crowne Consulting Group and its partner, CareHere LLC, have created a cost-saving model for self-funded employers, extending benefits of free office visits, screenings, and increased physician face-time. When considering onsite care, it’s important to ask the right questions to ensure your operators are able to meet and exceed your needs for lowering health costs while enhancing care.
1) Will the employees have easy access to the health center? In addition to building the center at the worksite or a nearby location, availability is essential. The CareHere-Crowne model allows employees to simply call a toll-free number or go on-line to schedule an appointment. Patients are typically in front of a doctor before the end of the workday.
2) Will the employees be able to fill prescriptions via the health center? Through CareHere, employers pay wholesale costs for prescription drugs, which have helped employers save millions of dollars. Importantly, patients appreciate that they can conveniently walk away from the appointment with a free or low-priced prescription in about an hour.
3) Will the range of services meet the employee’s medical needs?
Without having to leave the worksite, employees may seek treatment for acute conditions such as a cold or infection, in addition to chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes. The full list of services typically includes primary and family care, occupational services, workers’ compensation matters, x-rays, pharmacy, disease management, and wellness services.
4) Will there be incentives for employees to utilize the center? Visits to the health centers are voluntary, but incentives for employees to use them include zero co-pays and no deductibles. CareHere and Crowne Consulting Group also take a client-centric approach to boost success. Among the list of perks are a grand opening to announce and promote awareness for the new center, reward-based programs with prizes to increase utilization, and employee incentives tied to wellness programs and health risk assessments for identifying risks early and controlling costs.
When considering the launch of any healthcare service, experience is most important. Crowne Consulting Group’s team has expertise in serving public sector employers such as school boards, city and county government, as well as private organizations. Crowne’s team strategically collaborates with CareHere LLC to help employers hire medical staff and operate health centers. CareHere operates more than 100 health centers nationwide, specializing in providing onsite healthcare through employers by making healthcare easier, better and more affordable.
With the cost of health benefits for city workers and their families climbing, cities nation-wide are opening municipal healthcare facilities. To get a better understanding of the trend, American City & County spoke with three cities in Florida to see if the quest for publicly-funded, affordable health care is bearing fruit.
DeLand, Fla., is one city seeing success from a city-funded medical center. City Manager Michael Pleus says the facility was necessary to address skyrocketing healthcare costs. “I’ve been working with this city for 13 years, and every year we were seeing double digit percentage increases in healthcare costs… sometimes as much as 28 percent.”
With the city’s premiums growing steadily, DeLand’s solution was to decrease reliance on its insurance provider by opening its own healthcare facility, DeLand Medical Center, in 2010. The facility is paid for through the city’s general fund, with departments handling costs proportionally based on the number of employees. The center offers general care, diagnostic work and prescription services, and is available free-of-charge to all city workers and their families.
Use of the clinic is not mandatory, and supplements existing health care coverage. However, with more workers visiting the municipally funded clinic than private doctors (whose fees increase the city’s insurance costs), Pleus reports that “eliminating the middle-man” has saved DeLand $705,000 over the course of three years.
Pleus also feels that with a free and reliable clinic nearby, city employees are more likely to keep chronic issues, such as diabetes and hypertension, in check. A more intangible benefit of these programs, he says, is that city workers will take better care of themselves – taking less time off and requiring fewer serious medical procedures.
Jeff Tripplet, mayor of Sanford, Fla., reports that his city has experienced similar successes with The City of Sanford Health and Wellness Center in terms of costs and overall employee wellness. “One of the major benefits of this clinic is that it focuses on the future health of patients,” Tripplet says.
Funding for the center is included in employee premiums paid by each worker carrying Sanford’s insurance. The clinic has treated more than 900 patients in its first six months and is projected to save the city $500,000 by 2016, according to Fred Fosson, Sanford’s director of human resources and risk management.
Like the mayor, Fosson says the driving force behind the center is early diagnosis. If health problems are caught early, he says, the costly procedures often required for treating late-stage illnesses can be avoided. “In-patient hospital stays can be quite costly, but can be avoided if treatment is in the early stages — thus, a savings to the city and the employee,” Fosson says.
Oviedo, Fla., also launched a clinic in 2010. Its facility, The City of Oviedo Employee Health Center, is funded by the city’s general fund, stormwater and utility operations. It offers general care, lab tests, prescription services and some imaging work.
“It provides quality health care in a convenient location, and reduces costs to city employees, and, by extension, taxpayers,” Mayor Dominic Persampiere says.
Since opening the clinic, the city has experienced a 3.7 percent decrease in healthcare costs, according to a recent Oviedo Health Center Review. An analysis of the return on investment since March 2010 shows nearly $2 million in claims avoidance, with operating costs totaling $827,182. In short, the return on investment came back as 2.13 : 1.
At first, employees were hesitant to use the clinic. “Acceptance has grown over time, though,” Persampiere says, noting that workers now see the clinic as complementing – not replacing – their doctors. But when city workers opt for the clinic, it saves Oviedo money, according to Persampiere.
“[The clinic] has, without a shadow of a doubt, exceeded our expectations,” he says.
Derek Prall is the assistant editor of American City & County magazine.
Onsite and In Demand: Helping Large and Small Employers to Lower Health Costs
With the various provisions in the Affordable Care Act and opt-out-only requirements for employee health coverage, it’s clear that Healthcare Reform will push many smaller employers to opt for self-funding.
As a positive, self-insured plans are exempt from medical loss ratio requirements and aren’t subject to risk-adjustment.
Onsite healthcare for employees attracts self-funded groups because visits are paid directly by the employer. No claim is filed. Group health insurance typically is conducted in a fee-for-services model. The more physician services, the higher the bill. With an onsite health center, however, the employer controls spending by paying a flat fee and pass-through costs without any markup.
Employers can stick with their current healthcare plan and benefits provider. The only difference is that the employees now have the option to handle medical appointments and wellness visits at the worksite rather than at more costly outside providers. As a result, the costs for operating an onsite health center are 30-70 percent less than paying for a fee-for-service model.
Dozens of onsite health centers popping up across Florida have succeeded with the help of Crowne Consulting Group, Inc. , which partners with Tennessee-based CareHere to handle administration and operations of the onsite health center.
While many private companies have opened their onsite health centers, public entities including cities, counties, and school districts, have led the charge in recent years.
Importantly, the Crowne-CareHere model is completely scalable, which means it can work for employers from small to large. Crowne Consulting Group has helped self-funded employers in Florida ranging from 175 employees to 8,500 employees. Employers have managed to save millions of dollars in healthcare costs and decrease their prescription drug expenditures.
What’s more is that it’s not just the employer seeing the savings – the employees are also reaping the benefits. Employee utilization remains high because employee health centers offer on-demand medical service for employees, their dependents, and the retiree population for no out-of-pocket costs.
CareHere Client Recognized at the
2013 Worksite Wellness Awards
April 17, 2013 (Ocoee, Fla.) – Crowne Consulting Group and CareHere are proud to announce that one of our school district clients has been recognized for outstanding achievements in their employee wellness programs. The District School Board of Pasco County was recognized at the 2013 Worksite Wellness Awards, hosted by the Florida Heart Research Institute and Worksite Wellness Committee of the Consortium for a Healthier Miami-Dade. This fifth annual event honored businesses throughout Florida that are investing in the health and wellness of their employees with demonstrated outcomes. Learn more at about our work with Pasco schools by visiting our news pages, which include multiple television stories and articles on the successes of the district’s wellness program.
March 5, 2013, OVIEDO, Fla. — This week marks two years since Oviedo opened its own health care clinic just for city employees. It’s a step other local leaders have taken in hopes of saving money.
Channel 9’s Karla Ray crunched the numbers and found out that taxpayers are getting a good return on their investment.
With just a quick walk from her office at the Oviedo Police Department, Lori Shiery is able to see a doctor while on the clock.
“It’s very onvenient, not only because we’re right in the back lot basically, but it saves me a trip from having to go to a doctor off-site,” said Shiery.
The city’s CareHere clinic has been open for two years. It allows city employees and their families to see doctors for free.
“The cost and time savings have exceeded our expectations, so we are very pleased with the CareHere clinic on the Oviedo campus,” said Oviedo Mayor Dominic Persampiere.
New numbers show over two years, the cost to run the clinic has been just over $827,000, but the total savings to the city has been over $1.7 million.
The mayor said that eventually CareHere clinics within Seminole County will have a share agreement, meaning city of Oviedo employees who happen to live somewhere else, like Sanford, will be able to choose which clinic they want to visit.
Many of the other dozen CareHere clinics in central Florida are new and their total cost benefits are still being calculated.
Persampiere said he believes the savings seen in Oviedo will be reflected in other cities as well.
“The cost-savings really should grow with time,” said Persampiere.
The city of Sanford opened its CareHere clinic almost six months ago. Sanford’s mayor said he should have a progress report on his desk next month.
Pasco school district clinics
bring big health care savings
By Jeffrey S. Solochek, Times Staff Writer
Newspaper Article Tampa Bay Times
Jan. 26, 2013
Dade City — Lose weight.
Rita Mitchell had heard the words many times before.
But it wasn’t until the Cox Elementary School prekindergarten teacher got the advice during a health risk assessment at the Pasco County school district’s wellness center that she took the message to heart. Mitchell learned she was at risk for diabetes, and heard loud and clear what ignoring the signs could mean.
“It was enough to get my attention,” she said. “This thing, if left unattended, it can kill you. She told me to lose weight. I’ve been hearing that for years. But it was like, hello.”
Flash forward a year, and Mitchell is a new woman.
“I just turned 50, and I lost 50,” she said. “I am excited.”
Her success mirrors that of many other district employees, and of the health clinic program that the school district introduced two years ago.
The School Board approved spending about $1.5 million a year to operate three school-based clinics, offering free appointments and medications, in addition to preventive wellness programs for employees. The idea was that the district would save money in the long run by reducing insurance claims and related expenses.
Last year, the district saw its claims drop by more than $2 million, with per-employee costs down by nearly 5 percent. Its rates did not increase as much as expected, allowing the board to use savings to reduce the number of furlough days imposed on employees.
Its focus on diabetes care resulted in a 34 percent decrease in related claims, and the district saw a 26 percent increase in diabetes patients actually getting the monitoring tests they need. Its efforts on weight reduction, expected to net about 1,000 pounds among participants, totaled a loss of 3,800 pounds by those employees.
Use of the centers has been so strong, in fact, that the district is considering opening two others, as well as a center focused on occupational health and physical therapy. District benefits director Mary Tillman said they had to add staff to the centers over the summer to meet the growing demand.
With medical costs rising, Tillman said, the only real way to cut expenses is to get people healthy. Making visits convenient and affordable, while focusing on managing chronic illnesses and catching problems before they get out of hand, has allowed the district to make such strides.
“I’m very proud of our wellness centers,” said School Board chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong, who sits on the district health and wellness incentives committee. “I really feel like it’s been a win-win situation for the district and the employees.”
Armstrong said she and her husband both take advantage of the services the clinics offer, and can see firsthand the benefits. Other districts have started looking at Pasco as a model, she added, as they consider establishing their own wellness programs….See Tampa Bay Times for this full story.
GOVERNMENT LEADERS ACROSS CENTRAL FLORIDA GATHER FOR CROWNE’S SUMMIT ON INNOVATIONS FOR ONSITE HEALTHCARE
Cities and school districts met with Crowne Consulting Group for a Summit on Jan. 15 to assess the growing number of employee health and wellness centers.
Jan. 23, 2013 (Ocoee, Fla.) – Central Florida has become a hub of innovation in employee healthcare. Since 2008, onsite employee health and wellness centers have been popping up across Florida and pushing down employer healthcare costs.
Last Tuesday, government representatives met to discuss the benefits they’ve reaped from implementing onsite care centers. They also formed strategies to enhance care by sharing healthcare center access with neighboring municipalities.
Attendees of the 1st Annual Crowne Summit included, the School District of Lake County, City of DeLand, City of Kissimmee, City of Leesburg, City of Lake Mary, City of Mount Dora, City of Ocala, City of Ocoee, City of Oviedo, and City of Sanford. All entities are working with Crowne Consulting Group and CareHere to manage onsite employee health and wellness centers.
Crowne Consulting Group, Inc., an employee benefits consulting firm, is co-administrators of more than 25 health centers throughout Florida, helping Tennessee-based partners CareHere, LLC surpass a milestone of 100 centers nationwide.
Onsite health and wellness centers help employers cut health costs through onsite medical care and wellness programs. Health center services typically include primary care, occupational services, pharmacy, disease management, x-rays, and wellness services along with the employee benefits of zero copays, free screenings, free generic prescriptions, and increased physician face-time.
All centers are staffed by a physician and other supporting medical staff. In addition to providing primary care, chronic disease management and medication, the centers also focus on providing health risk assessments (HRAs), which is a short health examination with blood draw to assess a patient’s risk for diseases and conditions.
Mitigating risks early and keeping employees healthy have prompted positive financial results, including: 10 percent reductions in plan costs, 15 percent decreases in prescription costs, drastic reductions in sick time, and millions of taxpayer dollars saved.
“We’ve saved over $3M since opening our health center,” said Robert Frank, City Manager for Ocoee, which is approaching its five-year anniversary for onsite care for its 350 employees.
Jerry Boop, Finance Director for the City of Oviedo, spoke of similar results. “Crowne has left their footprint on our organization. The City’s healthcare costs are down significantly and are currently trending around 3 percent. We all know that’s a huge accomplishment.”
And they’re not alone. The City of Ocala’s team thanked Crowne for helping them to improve efficiency in a tough economy. The center is one of “our crown jewels,” according to Catherine Cameron, Assistant City Manager. The City saved enough money to go from fully-insured in 2009 to being self-insured within a year of opening its doors.
“Prior to opening the clinics, our premium increases were trending around 10 percent annually. Since we put in the clinics, we’ve been able to keep that down consistently to just 2 percent,” said Jared Sorensen, Director of Human Resources and Risk Management for Ocala.
“We also utilized CareHere’s wellness program last year and tied an incentive program to our premiums so that those completing HRAs and following up with doctor care benefited from lesser premiums. This has provided great success in identifying risks and controlling costs.”
Mark Hayward, Human Resources Director for the City of DeLand, says they’ve seen a $145,000 drop in combined workers’ compensation and medical costs since opening in November of 2010. DeLand also struck a deal with the local hospital to allow employees easier access to specialized medical care.
Collaboration was a running theme at the summit, as most entities remarked that they were open to discussing the idea of access sharing, which would allow their employees an opportunity to visit nearby CareHere health centers operating under neighboring counties and cities.
A partnership example is the City of Ocoee sharing with the City of Apopka to extend the convenience of easy access for employees living in different areas. The Cities of Mount Dora and Leesburg also have an access-sharing agreement for their onsite health centers.
In addition to multi-entity sharing, some have gone the route of opening more than one location, such is the case with Lake Schools, which is in the process of opening their third onsite health center this year for its more than 5,000 employees, dependents, and retirees.
“The centers have been a great success and employees are asking for more locations. Plus, we didn’t have to raise healthcare premiums on our employees this year,” said Carol MacLeod, Chief Financial Officer for Lake Schools, which began working with Crowne and CareHere in 2011.
Attendees of the summit took notes while listening to these exciting results. The Cities of Lake Mary and Sanford, who just launched onsite centers within the past few months, hope for similar results, while the City of Kissimmee is counting the days until their first center opens in April.
“These employers deserve a round of applause for implementing solutions that actually lower health costs while enhancing employee care,” added Dan Ross, president of Med-Vision LLC and Med-View LLC, which provides healthcare data analytics and benefits consulting for Crowne.
Prior to posing for a team photo and pictures with smiling clients and vendors, Ray Tomlinson, president of Crowne Consulting Group gave the following statement: “We are thrilled to hear so much positive feedback from clients who are decreasing healthcare costs and improving quality of care for their employees. The fact that more centers are opening soon means that Florida is on the leading edge of employer-driven healthcare reform. Additionally, this idea of clients sharing access in neighboring areas could extend greater convenience for employees while increasing access to affordable care.”
About Crowne Consulting Group, Inc:Crowne Consulting Group, Inc., founded in 1986, consults and provides administrative oversight services for onsite health and wellness centers to employers and is a related company with The Crowne Group, an employee benefits consulting firm, specializing in employer solutions and personal lines of insurance. Crowne’s experts have a cumulative 100 years of experience in serving public sector employers such as school boards, city and county government, as well as private organizations. The firm’s mission is to bring innovative solutions that meet the fiscal responsibility of employers and maximizes investments. Solutions for consumer-driven plans include health reimbursement arrangements, self-funded plans, onsite health and wellness centers, as well as risk management and human resources consulting.
Call 407-654-5414 to learn more about corporations, school districts, and government agencies implementing on-site health and wellness centers for their employees.
CENTRAL FLORIDA — In an effort to save taxpayer money, mayors and council members across central Florida are asking to start their own health care clinics.
CareHere is a company that’s helped local cities, counties and school districts open their own health care centers for employees, retirees and their families.
“The average cost for a regular visit — the difference is about 50 percent less to have it done at our health center here,” said Jim Carnicella of CareHere in Ocoee. In addition to Ocoee, there are CareHere clinics in Sanford, Lake Mary, Apopka and one coming soon in Kissimmee. They are all free to employees of those cities and their families.
“Every service that we have here, all the primary care that you would receive at a regular physician’s office, we do here and it’s free to the employee and their dependents,” Carnicella said.
He said when the clinic opened in 2008, health care costs for Ocoee were projected to skyrocket from $3.5 million to nearly $6 million. Instead, health care costs for the city haven’t increased at all.
“The doctors and the staff get paid an hourly rate to see as many patients as they can,” Carnicella said.
Doctors at CareHere clinics get more time to talk to patients. They’re allotted 20 minutes with each person. Most clinics offer about five minutes with the doctor. Most clinics are paid by insurance companies, but at CareHere clinics doctors, nurses, X-ray technicians and other workers only work for their municipality.
“It’s really brought me back to why I went into medicine — to just focus on patient care and not think about insurance and getting authorizations and doing what I think is right for the patient,” said Ocoee city physician Dr. Roberta Chung.
Municipal CareHere clinics are also one-stop shopping – X-rays, blood work, rehabilitation and a pharmacy are available right in the clinic.
Most Innovative Partner/Consultant Award
Healthcare Consumerism Superstars 2012
HealthCare Consumerism Solutions Magazine, December 2012, features Ray Tomlinson, President of Crowne Consulting Group, as a HealthCare Consumerism Superstar. Crowne Consulting Group was crowned with the Most Innovative Partner Consultant Award by the magazine, which is a publication of the Institute for Healthcare Consumerism.
View this full article, titled “Working On-Site to Enhance Employee Care” via this link: