Employers are increasingly offering their employees medical care


In February, Amazon opened three dedicated primary care offices across the region – in Westland, Royal Oak and Brownstown – as part of a pilot program for its growing workforce. The company hires Crossover Health, based in San Francisco, to provide these services and has a total of 17 offices in Michigan, California, Texas, Arizona and Kentucky.

There, employees pay $ 45 to $ 55 to see a doctor, depending on whether they’re enrolled on Amazon’s health plan. The fee covers the visit, all services provided, blood tests and all basic prescriptions. Amazon’s health centers also offer mental health and physical therapy services. These services are also available to dependent employees.

The three facilities employ 12 state-certified doctors, six therapists and one physiotherapist.

Jay Edward, practice manager for Crossover Health’s Detroit Amazon Clinics, said the websites were created to give Amazon employees quick access to healthcare. Employees can make appointments on the same or next day and waiting times in the waiting room are limited to five minutes or less.

Amazon’s workforce – approximately 8,000 full-time employees in the Detroit metropolitan area – did not take advantage of the company’s health benefits as much as other regions, said Derek Rubino, senior program manager of Amazon’s Special Programs for Health and Safety at Work.

“We give out (health) benefits on the first day of employment, but they haven’t been widely distributed,” said Rubino. “We have employees who work in different shifts and working hours that can be outside the regular doctor’s office. We saw this as an opportunity to enable really controllable access to care. We can bring (health care) wherever they go. ”Work and live the way it works for them. We can increase the use of services by breaking down barriers. “

Amazon’s three clinics are open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rubino said the high emergency room rate in the area was a catalyst for Amazon’s pilot program.

According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, 44 percent of its members’ 672,000 ER visits in 2016 were preventable, and the lack of primary care is the leading cause. These visits are also a major problem for employers from a cost and productivity perspective.

“Not only are emergency room visits more expensive (the average damage cost for each visit is $ 1,368), but they can also be lengthy, potentially resulting in lost work time and lower productivity,” the Detroit-based health insurance company said in a blog post.

Rubino called these avoidable emergency visits “a loss for employers and employees”.

Tracy Watts, senior partner in Mercer’s healthcare division, said improving productivity is the number one reason employers are opening primary care clinics.

“When an employee needs to see a doctor, employers want it to be done as quickly as possible and with as little downtime as possible,” said Watts. “This is an effective way to streamline basic services for employees so that they can have as little time as possible from work and thus increase productivity.”

United Wholesale Mortgage, based in Pontiac, opened its on-site primary care clinic in October 2016 – one of the first in the region. His Troy-based clinic, operated by Salta Direct Primary Care and employing two doctors and five medical assistants, sees about 27 percent of UWM’s 9,200 employees each month, or about 2,500 to 3,000 visits per month, said Laura Lawson, chief people officer from UWM.

Staff pay a fee of $ 10 per visit. However, the clinic neither has a pharmacy nor does it run laboratories on site and is only available to team members, not relatives. The clinic has a 24-hour hotline from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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