Flu season is right around the corner, and that means that flu shot clinics are popping up in drugstores and supermarkets around the country. While it is certainly convenient to get in line for a flu shot while picking up a gallon of milk, it isn’t the most convenient option available. Without a doubt, an on-the-job flu shot clinic trumps supermarket and drug store outlets as the most convenient place to get a flu shot.
On-the-job flu shot clinics are promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC maintains a Seasonal Flu Vaccine Toolkit for Businesses and Employers (PDF), yes a toolkit for a workplace flu shot clinic.
The CDC flu vaccine toolkit even includes strategies to maximize participation in the clinic including:
- Schedule the clinic in as many business locations as possible to ensure maximum participation.
- Encourage management other corporate leaders to be the first in line to receive a flu vaccine.
- Make sure that the vaccine is free to encourage employee participation.
- Set participation goals and try to improve the participation levels each year.
According to the CDC, the flu costs businesses $10.4 billion in direct costs annually, so it's a wise business decision to host an onsite flu vaccine clinic. More employee participation leads to fewer employees sick with the flu, less sick time paid, less absenteeism and ultimately more productivity.
While a simple flu shot clinic can boost worker productivity, a full-service health clinic can have an even bigger impact. One small business in Indiana, Bremen Castings Inc., is opening an onsite full-service clinic. The foundry/machine shop employs 263 individuals. and when the clinic opens in November, employees will have access to onsite medical staff, including a doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse and medical assistant.
The 2,500-square-foot clinic will be open for 45 hours each week and provide employees and their covered dependents with free access to flu shots and other vaccines, preventative health care, wellness programs and even annual physicals.
The decision to open the clinic came from the top. JB Brown, president of Bremen Castings, read an article about an onsite clinic at another business and it inspired him to act.
“As a self-funded insurance plan, we have spent the last several years working on employee wellness; however we still find that 60 percent of employees do not get an annual physical,” Brown said. “Women over the age of 40, that do not receive an annual mammogram; 52 percent. Dental cleaning at least once a year, over the age of 18 years, only 47 percent of plan members. These statistics, coupled with the desire to control cost and have healthy employees; were major factors in deciding on the clinic.”
During an email question-and-answer session, I asked Brown about the clinic’s impact on worker productivity:
“The clinic will allow employees to work up to minutes before their appointment, where often they missed several hours attending the appointment. This includes lengthy waits in the waiting room, when they finally see the doctor it is usually only for minutes. The clinic will see only three patients an hour, they will focus on root cause and correcting unhealthy behaviors or conditions. Each employee and spouse covered by the plan will get an annual 60-minute physical and routine tests to assure their health is monitored. [A] nurse practitioner will educate employees on ways to improve health and change their family tree.”
From flu shots to full-service preventative programs, on-the-job healthcare doesn’t just boost worker productivity, it can also help businesses owners attract and keep talent.
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