I have observed the US healthcare model as both a participant and a financial professional over the course of 20+ years. This has given me great insight into why medical cost inflation outpaces consumer inflation at such an incredible extreme.
Hospitals are fabulous institutions. They fix really scary problems, and we need them in the most urgent situations. But, when hospitals and emergency rooms are used for routine, basic care needs (OR worse – in response to avoidance of basic care needs,) costs spin completely out of control.
That’s why it is so personally gratifying when one of our Medicine at Work™ on-site clinics makes an important impact in avoiding costs like this for our clients.
In addition to providing routine, basic care needs, our clinics are proactive in managing unhealthy employee conditions that are due mostly to poor health habits. We created our Know Your Numbers program to provide biometrics, education, and follow up visits for employees with health concerns.
At one of our important clients, a clinically overweight employee with dangerously high blood pressure was headed towards an inevitable showdown with a hospital. He made a smart choice and enrolled (at no cost) in Know Your Numbers at his Medicine At Work clinic. Only 5 weeks into the program, this employee lost several pounds and significantly reduced his blood pressure reading down to manageable conditions.
This is great news for the employee, but as a CFO, I also know the financial impact to our client is significant. In addition to getting a healthier and happier employee, we will save that company $2,820 per year just by eliminating a blood pressure medication prescription, plus $1,800 by avoiding a likely emergency room visit, and potentially $15,000 by avoiding a hospital stay. (These numbers are obtained from the CDC and other credible sources.)
Employers across the country today are littered with unhealthy ticking time bomb employees like this. Their employees simply need more convenient options like Medicine At Work. They gain access to routine care and consult with health coaches to fix poor health habits. Both the employee and the employer win: employees are healthier and happier and employers gain more productive employees while bringing down health costs.