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Editorial suggests employees use retail-based clinics to save money


NEW YORK Employers can help mend health care and curb soaring costs by encouraging employees to use retail-based health clinics and establishing worksite health clinics at corporate offices at plants, Clayton Christensen and Jason Hwang suggested in an editorial that ran in the Wall Street Journal.

Christensen and Hwang are co-authors of “The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care.” Christensen is co-founder of Innosight Institute, a non-for-profit think tank for which Hwang is executive director of healthcare. In addition, Hwang is a former physician at Kaiser Permanente.

In the WSJ article, Christensen and Hwang suggest that the burden of funding and managing healthcare can create an “opportunity for remarkable innovation” if business leaders take a more proactive role.

They recommend that executives make one or more of the three changes: 1) encourage employees to use in-store health clinics for common ailments; 2) set up worksite health clinics; 3) and partner with integrated health systems.To encourage employees to visit retail-based clinics for the treatment of common ailments, Christensen and Hwang urge companies to demand coverage of the visits from their health plans and to offer discounts to employees. In those states where regulations bar nurses from operating such clinics without doctors, they urge companies to lobby to overturn such restrictions.

Christensen and Hwang also point out in the article that there’s “a vanguard of employers who have taken dramatic steps to involve themselves much more deeply in their employees’ health” by establishing worksite health clinics.

One example mentioned in the WSJ piece is Perdue Farms, which set up its own clinics and contracts directly with healthcare providers instead of negotiating with insurers. There’s also Quad/Graphics, a printing company in Wisconsin that operates its own on-site clinic, and now operates clinics for Briggs & Stratton and Miller Brewing.

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