A newly formed employer-led organization will help public and private organizations maximize their return on investment in onsite clinics, pharmacies and fitness and wellness centers.

The National Worksite Health Center Association has been created by the nonprofit Midwest Business Group on Health, in cooperation with a health care consulting group, The La Penna Group.

“This new national association will increase the exchange of information and experiences between employer-sponsors of worksite health facilities,” explains Larry Boress, MBGH president and CEO. “NWHCA will also provide practical and objective information for those examining this approach as to how these facilities can be part of a total health care strategy that increases productivity, reduces costs and enhances engagement in health management programs.”

A 2009 Mercer employer study showed worksite facilities as growing in popularity. Mercer found 31% of large employers offer a medical clinic at or near their workplace. While most are using it for occupational health services, 11% of large employers provide a clinic for primary care services and 10% of all employers surveyed are considering offering a primary care clinic this year. Recent MBGH employee focus group research also indicates that 62% of workers are interested in their company offering onsite medical clinics to better manage their health.

“We’ve found that while many companies are successfully implementing onsite care, there is a need for an association that can provide an environment for the sharing of best practices and program ideas,” says Mike La Penna, principal of The La Penna Group, Inc.

The association also plans to form a Medical Director Council of physician thought-leaders from employers, providers, consultants and vendors.

“For many employers, worksite health centers are increasingly becoming a key strategy for not only providing medical care, but also optimizing the use of other health benefits to improve employee health and realize cost savings,” says Dr. Bruce Sherman, consulting corporate medical director for the Whirlpool Corp. “While the concept may be straightforward, the implementation is rather complex, and this association will be a helpful resource.”

La Penna also notes, “While the board and the organization will primarily be governed by employer-sponsors of worksite centers, important roles will be defined for vendor participation and for organizations that can offer services to employers that are operating onsite health access programs. Our goal is to be inclusive and to involve anyone who can make a contribution to the patients who are being served through employer-sponsored programs.”

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