Prevent It

WorkWell's Workplace Injury Prevention Blog

Onsite MSK Clinics: Balancing Healthcare Costs and Employee Health

Healthcare is the second largest employer cost behind employee wages.

US Employer costs continue to escalate, with $4.2 Trillion spent on healthcare-related issues in 2021. Whether through self-funded insurance plans or insurance premiums, employers are paying, on average, 5.4 percent higher premiums and costs in 2023. This amount is projected to increase substantially over the next few years.

Many employers are absorbing this increase in cost since retaining and attracting employees is still a priority over cost containment.

Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are healthcare cost drivers, the second highest cost behind cancer-related treatments. MSK conditions account for over $450B of healthcare spending annually.

Recent studies have proven that early intervention is crucial as it can reduce MSK condition costs by up to 60 percent. While employers strive to provide the best healthcare options for employees, access to those options can be challenging for a subset of employees. This scenario is especially true for manufacturing and distribution company employees primarily concerned about their ability to cover their monthly bills.

Challenges for employees include:

  • Choosing between accessing healthcare or paying monthly bills,
  • The ability to afford insurance plan co-pays and deductibles,
  • Timely access to offsite MSK clinics due to work shift hours and limited transportation options,
  • Fear of missing work, lost wages, or losing their job
  • As a new hire or aging employee, understanding the difference between soreness vs. injury

Instead, they live with acute or chronic MSK issues and “muscle through” their workday. This cycle negatively impacts their quality of life by allowing MSK conditions to fester into something more severe and costly. They struggle to do their jobs, often resulting in absenteeism, presenteeism, and lost productivity.

One solution is a direct-to-employer onsite MSK clinic that can offer prevention and treatment for employees struggling to gain convenient access to care. Onsite MSK clinics are non-disruptive to existing healthcare insurance and benefit plans, have a small footprint in the facility, and deliver a significant impact.

Onsite MSK clinics provide different programs and services to meet employers’ goals, help employees prevent injuries, and keep employees healthy. Custom-designed programs may include the following:

  • New hire onboarding and training
  • OSHA First aid
  • Occupational and non-occupational treatment
  • Worksite rounds – workstation modifications, safe lifting techniques, and functional job descriptions.
  • Return to work/modified job duty recommendations to minimize an injured employee’s time away from work
  • Proactive job-specific programs such as Back School, benefits of pre-shift warm-ups, micro-breaking, and general wellness programs.

With a small investment in a Managed Onsite MSK Clinic staffed and managed by experts in MSK, the return on investment is real and quick. Some of the benefits to the employer for having healthy employees with access to timely and convenient onsite care:

  • Reduces absenteeism, presenteeism, and lost productivity.
  • Results in lower Workers’ Compensation costs because of fewer injuries.
  • Lowers healthcare costs and provides better benefits
  • Promotes higher retention and less employee turnover.

Access to Care DiagramThe benefit to the employee is a more balanced quality of life through access to care, early intervention, and treatment. The impact of an employee living with an MSK condition stretches beyond work. It impacts all areas of their life and their well-being. Implementing an onsite MSK clinic helps employers balance providing competitive benefits and employee health in an atmosphere of escalating costs and competitive hiring.

Onsite PT