As part of ongoing efforts to support staff and faculty well-being, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is launching a pilot program to assess the implications of providing primary care on campus.
Starting June 5, University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) will operate a four-week Employee Health Clinic for a limited cohort of staff enrolled in the university’s medical benefit plans.
“During the pandemic UHCS staff demonstrated remarkable dedication and professionalism in providing COVID-19 testing and vaccinations not only for students, but faculty and staff as well,” said Carolyn Gregory, vice president for Human Resources. “Their exceptional performance, coupled with promising results from on-site clinics elsewhere, inspired us to test the concept on a limited basis.”
Chief Health Officer Sara Lee, who leads UHCS, developed the pilot model after reviewing roughly two decades of research on workplace clinics—their successes, shortcomings and evolution over time. Organizations with on-site clinics experienced:
Reduced absenteeism and use of emergency departments;
Enhanced recruitment and retention; and
Earlier diagnosis of emerging ailments.
In addition, studies regularly indicated that the clinics reduced employees’ overall inpatient and outpatient visits; in many instances, contributing to lower overall health expenses.
Staff from facilities, procurement and public safety will comprise the pilot cohort; officials selected these areas because these employees typically are on campus daily.
Among the services offered will be:
Evaluation and management of minor illnesses such as colds or sore throats, rashes or other potential infections, and nausea/vomiting;
Evaluation and management of minor injuries such as sprains, strains and lacerations that do not require sutures/closure; and
Care for COVID-19, influenza and other infectious illnesses—which may include testing, symptom management, and prescriptions for antiviral medications.
In addition to Lee and Gregory, Executive Vice President John F. Sideras and Vice President and General Counsel Peter M. Poulos contributed to the development and launch of the pilot. They and other university leaders will assess its impact based on such factors as employee usage and satisfaction, number and nature of visits and impacts on absenteeism.
At this time, eligible employees will not be charged for services, but they—and their insurance providers—will be responsible for out-of-clinic costs such as prescriptions, lab work or X-rays.
In addition, the clinic’s staff will include a mental health support specialist who can provide brief, solution-focused behavioral health services, including assistance with referrals, including for individual or group therapy or more intensive treatment.
As with private-sector providers, the pilot clinic will follow all applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding confidentiality.