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U.S. Families' Use of Workplace Clinics, 2007-2010

NIHCR Research Brief No. 10
October 2012
Ellyn R. Boukus, Ha T. Tu

Despite heightened employer interest in workplace clinics as a cost-containment tool, only 4 percent of American families in 2010 reported visiting a workplace clinic in the previous year—the same proportion as in 2007, according to a national study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). The severe 2007-09 recession likely dampened employer investment in workplace clinics, and some workers likely lost access to clinics because of job layoffs. Workplace clinics are concentrated among large, self-insured employers, so only a subset of families has access to these resources. Among families most likely to have access—those with ties to large firms and government employers—clinic use was higher at nearly 11 percent in 2010. Most experts believe workplace clinics can best achieve cost savings through better prevention and early diagnosis of chronic conditions. However, the study found that among clinic users, the most commonly sought services were vaccinations and other minor, routine services. Nearly seven in 10 people cited convenience as a major reason for choosing a workplace clinic over other care settings, and four in 10 cited lower costs. Workplace clinics are typically only viable for large employers with low employee turnover and high concentrations of workers, which means they are unlikely to provide a broad solution for controlling health care spending or improving care delivery.

This article is available at the National Institute for Health Care Reform Web site by clicking here.






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