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By Andrew Morton, CEO of Bloom Health Partners
It’s widely known that the pandemic disproportionately impacted marginalized populations and cast much-needed light on the healthcare inequities that plague lower income communities. Lack of access to quality healthcare, transportation, housing and food have made it difficult to maintain health and wellbeing—both physical and mental—with minority populations suffering 2X more illness and deaths due to COVID and delayed or neglected care for other health issues.
While the human toll is heartbreaking, it has also taken a major toll on our economy. The lost time due to COVID sick days alone is the equivalent of 52 million full-time jobs lost, and now, as many workers have opted not to return to the workforce, the void has created a crisis of unfilled vacancies and lost productivity, the likes of which we’ve never seen in America. Even worse, unsatisfactory health benefits have become a significant factor in driving employees to look for a new job, with more than a third of those being minorities, admitting they’ve considered finding a new employer for better health benefits. According to statistic from Axios across all workers last year, those who left their employers in the last year did so at a rate of three quitting for everyone one that was fired.
All of this comes at a time when it’s abundantly clear that diverse organizations are more innovative, higher performant and more profitable. Certainly, companies cannot afford to lose diverse talent—or any talent at all, for that matter.
That’s why, now more than ever, companies have an opportunity to overcome healthcare inequities and support minority and underrepresented populations by making care available onsite, at the workplace. Here are five ways offering care on-site can help overcome healthcare inequities, and as an added bonus, drive better business results.
Enable better access to care.
It’s not enough to just provide health insurance. Even those with great coverage may not be able to access the care they need if the providers and resources aren’t available within their community. By offering things like preventative care, routine lab work, disease screening and mental health services on site, employers can ensure that every employee has access to the care they need to overcome disparities between neighborhoods or cultural communities. Of course, this is a competitive differentiator when it comes to hiring and retention.
Reduce lost time.
Even with insurance, appointments to see a provider must be made during the workday, which may cut into employees’ earnings. This alone can be a deterrent to seeking care if employees know they might lose a half-day’s wages just for a single appointment. Offering healthcare on site eliminates that problem, allowing employees to make appointments during the workday without having to travel. It’s a more convenient and economical option for the employee—especially when services are paid for in full, with no out-of-pocket costs— all while maintaining productivity.
Improve overall employee health.
More than 6 in 10 employees think employers have a responsibility to ensure their physical and mental health. But outside the workplace, not everyone has the same opportunities for care, even if they have the same insurance benefits. By offering care on site, organizations can democratize healthcare and ensure that every employee’s needs are being met—that they’re getting the checkups and screenings that keep them as healthy as possible. This, in turn, makes them happier and more engaged in their work, more loyal to their employer and more productive as an employee.
Gain insight into health needs.
Healthcare is not one-size-fits-all—different populations have different risks, even if they have the same jobs. Gaining insight into employees’ care needs can help you identify unmet needs and offer new services to optimize health. For example, not everyone has the same level of understanding when it comes to nutrition for good health or for managing health conditions, so providing nutrition counseling on site can ensure everyone has access to this vital knowledge. Secondly, by gathering health data on employees, companies can use this insight to negotiate better premium and out-of-pocket costs for health insurance. These savings can have a direct benefit for employees, plus lower capital expenditures, allowing the company to invest that money in more health-affirming services, rather than paying unnecessarily high insurance premiums.
Overcome Social Determinants of Health.
Over 80% of a person’s wellbeing is dictated by Social Determinants of Health—the conditions in which they live, learn, play and pray. Because SDoH factors are most often beyond their control, offering employees onsite healthcare can help to overcome detrimental health impacts in their community and environment. This, in turn, can plant seeds in the form of healthier individuals that can shift the SDoH within the overall community, and give the employer an overall healthier population from which to recruit.
Failure to deliver on the health-related expectations of employees can put employers at risk of losing diverse talent and their competitive edge. Ensuring health equity by providing on-site healthcare that supports minority and underrepresented populations is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also becoming essential for business continuity and performance.
Healthcare Business Today is a leading online publication that covers the business of healthcare. Our stories are written from those who are entrenched in this field and helping to shape the future of this industry. Healthcare Business Today offers readers access to fresh developments in health, medicine, science, and technology as well as the latest in patient news, with an emphasis on how these developments affect our lives.