For companies considering providing Occupational Medicine (OccMed) services for their employees or planning to offer OccMed services to businesses such as retailers and manufacturers, there’s much to learn when it comes to the decision-making and planning processes.
In May, Net Health co-sponsored a webinar titled “Getting Started: Providing Occupational Medicine Services,” and it reviewed the specific factors businesses need to consider if they’re going to implement a successful OccMed plan.
Primary Considerations for Companies Looking to Offer OccMed Services
In the webinar, it was noted that companies can find details on the decisions they’ll need to make when offering these types of medical services, including:
- Staffing considerations (for example, whether to use Physicians, Mid-Level Providers, RNs, LPNs, MAs, etc.)
- What services to provide to patients or employees
- The ideal location for a clinic, especially as it relates to privacy
- The types of vendors and suppliers you’ll need to work with
- The equipment you may need to have on the premises
- The best marketing strategy to bring patients into your clinic
- Reporting software that helps you track finances and measures of success
Determining Staffing and the Scope of Services at an OccMed Clinic
Staffing can be a challenging choice because different types of medical professionals can influence the services offered. Each type of practitioner has their own levels of education, experience, credentialing needs, and insurance requirements that a company will have to consider. For example, if you plan to employ a MD or a DO, both of which are fully licensed physicians, you will need to consider the cost of malpractice insurance. If you employ mid-level practitioners, there are credentials and certifications that you may have to pay for.
Using a staffing agency can be an excellent way to test the waters before hiring medical practitioners. Some agencies exclusively employ medical professionals and will pick up the cost of their credentialing and insurance. It may be more convenient but more expensive. In addition, it’s wise to discuss up-front the terms of possibly employing this practitioner directly if they work out. Be sure to read the contract to ensure there are no penalties for doing so.
Looking at Space Needs for OccMed Services
If you are a company offering internal services to employees, you may only need a dedicated room with a door or a curtain for privacy. But this works better in some industries than others. For retail and manufacturing, for example, space is at a premium, and an on-site mobile unity may be the best option. If the clinic will be off-site, it’s essential to think about an ideal location to draw in patients. But in either place, it’s smart to ensure there is enough room for staffing and any equipment to offer services.
Easy access to an OccMed clinic is essential, but it is more than just a matter of location. It’s also important to consider whether services will be available after work hours, evenings, weekends, and holidays. And, if so, staffing will be needed to cover these hours. In turn, this will depend on clientele as well. Will offerings expand into primary care to treat employees and their families? Or will be there a smaller clinic in a manufacturing plant that can treat acute injuries on-site and conduct essential tests such as drug screens, breath alcohol tests, audiograms and more?
Deciding to treat workers’ comp injuries can bring huge advantages and much more paperwork. Meanwhile, offering DOT physicals will require laboratory accreditation and equipment to process samples.
Vendors, Supplies, and Equipment Needs for OccMed Clinics
While money can be saved in the long run by taking control of medical care, especially in treating on-site injuries, up-front costs can be intimidating. The key to overcoming this is to build good relationships with vendors and suppliers, so there is great value out of initial investments.
A company offering OccMed services also needs to consider the cost of fixed assets, the supplies they want to keep on-site, (including their willingness to provide over-the-counter medications and/or durable medical equipment), and keeping first aid equipment in stock. Controlling inventory while not overstocking items that sit around unused.
Marketing Strategies to Attract Employees and Patients
Internal marketing to employees requires good communication and earning their trust. Employees are increasingly educated and therefore concerned about privacy regarding their medical information. A company needs to assuage their concerns that the data will be kept confidential. The same goes for an OccMed clinic looking to provide external services to a company’s employees.
Marketing OccMed services to outsiders requires knowledge of the local business landscape to gain a competitive advantage. Offerings discounts or services that others do not have can bring in new customers. But OccMed clinics offering external services may be best served by advertising their past successes in helping employees get back to work as quickly as possible (though this is also a good reason to have a clinic on-site with practitioners who know what an employees job requires). Clinics reaching out to other companies should ensure they know the area’s best pricing, the kind of services they can reasonably offer, and the ease of invoicing they can promise to provide.
If you’re ready to show your employees you’re invested in their safety by allowing them the convenience of being treated right in the workplace, and you need the right software to get you started, be sure to schedule a demo with Net Health. And make sure to check out the webinar below to hear the specifics on some of the best and worst moves you can make when entering this space.