Employer Healthcare Strategies


5 Things to Consider When Choosing an Onsite Clinic Vendor

Posted by Tatiana Spears on December 31, 2014

5 Things to Consider When Choosing an Onsite Clinic Vendor | Tatiana Spears | Employer Healthcare Strategies blog by CareATC, Inc.Thinking about investing in a worksite clinic? Many companies are. As more Americans gain coverage and the shortage of primary care providers intensifies, more employers are investing in worksite clinics. Among employers with 5,000 or more employees, 29% have a worksite clinic that provides primary care services, up from 24% in 2013 according to a recent Mercer survey.

While worksite clinics have been in existence for nearly 30 years, new medical management and business models have emerged over time. Most contemporary vendors offer nimble medical management services with technologically advanced tools and programs to assist patients throughout the continuum of care. The result is quality, cost-effective patient care that yields savings.

So what should you consider when choosing an onsite clinic vendor? Here is a list of five questions to help you field vendors and determine which will provide quality service and real savings.

1. Which type of clinician leads the clinic?

The answer to this question can affect the capacity of your onsite clinic. Yes, primary care physicians cost more and without a doubt, nurse practitioners are incredibly effective, but there are a few things to consider. First, if a key objective is to create a “medical home” onsite, a clinical physician provides a greater breadth and depth of services to replace a health plan network doctor. Second, specialists are more apt to collaborating with physicians, fully engaging in the coordination of care. Third, there is nothing wrong with leveraging nurse practitioner care, but strategic investment for a physician-led clinic will repay itself over and over again.

2. Does the vendor operate on a fee-for-service model?

A significant driver of excessive health care cost is fee-for-service reimbursement; this means that each product utilized and service rendered by the vendors is marked up and submitted to the client for repayment. Vendors that profit from each product and service are incentivized to provide more of it – irrespective of whether or not it is truly needed. A better alternative is that the client pays for the clinic’s operating costs (labs, office supplies, medications, and staff time) and then pays a separate management fee, thereby discouraging unnecessary, profit-driven care.

3. Do employees and their families have to pay to use the clinic?

A key driver in worksite clinic adoption is accessibility. If it costs something out-of-pocket for employees and their families to utilize clinic services, including labs and generic medications, patient participation will be low. By making it easier for employees and their families to receive preventive and disease management care, employers can eliminate costly rates of specialty referrals and emergency visits in the future.

4. Are in-person disease management, wellness, and prevention services available?

It's important to ensure that the clinic vendor you are considering has a comprehensive, integrated plan to provide in-person population health management and wellness services. While onsite clinics provide excellent ROI in a variety of ways, in-person disease management practices - which encourage employees stay engaged in the clinic and their personal well being - help organizations avoid major health plan cost drivers such as heart attacks and strokes.  

In contrast, services like Telemedicine allow employees to conveniently access primary care providers over the phone. While this helps reduce absenteeism and emergency room visits, it doesn't effectively address the chronic conditions that drive health care costs.

5. Are web-based health information technologies utilized?

For optimum patient management and care, web-based information technology is key. From chronic disease management to clinical-decision-support tools, robust electronic health record systems have made it possible to effectively manage and quantitatively measure effectiveness of population care. Now more than ever, clients can obtain valuable aggregate data that paints the full picture of the care continuum. Be sure to ask for sample reports. Are they understandable, complete, and transparent?


Onsite clinics change the rules of quality care management and reimbursement – and for the better! Onsite providers are able to spend more quality time with patients, rather than worrying about being hurried into the next appointment. More quality time with patients is golden, and with advanced electronic health records and clinical-decision-support tools, providers are well-equipped to collaborate with specialists and better able to fully service patient needs.

When considering an onsite clinic vendor, be sure to request references, testimonials, and quantitative data on historical performance. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions outright. Launching an onsite or near-site clinic is no small endeavor – be sure you’re partnered with a vendor who meets industry standards as well as the needs of your specific population.

On-Site Employee Medical Clinic RFP Template | CareATC, Inc.

Tatiana Spears

About The Author

Tatiana Spears

With an MBA mind for analysis and strategy development, Tatiana loves transforming creative ideas into practical application for innovative companies and professionals. She is also the proud owner of an overworked Nespresso machine.

Post Topics On-Site Medical Clinics