|Is There an NP in the House?
Why you should consider an on-site clinic
Looking for ways to maximize your wellness dollars? Consider an on-site clinic. It may sound extravagant, but it's actually a cost-effective option. Here's why:
Offering regular clinic hours at your workplace can help nip health issues in the bud, preventing higher health care bills down the road. "Employees are more likely to get their cough checked out when a trip to the clinic means walking down the hall at their convenience," says Brian Harrison, MD, medical director of Health and Productivity Management for Affinity Health System. "When an on-site provider can diagnose and treat an asthma flare before it becomes severe, for example, you might avoid a hospital stay, end up with a healthier employee, fewer doctor bills and better productivity because of fewer employee sick days."
Keeping Tabs on Chronic Conditions
The same principle applies to chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and migraines. Not only can employers contain costs of frequent follow-up visits by providing regular care on-site rather than at more costly off-site facilities or emergency rooms, but the convenience factor is also an incentive for employees to get the care they need before preventable complications arise.
More Time on the Job
An on-site clinic can cut down on time away from work, because the clinic is at work - not across town. And keeping employees on the job means maintaining productivity while reducing the cost of replacement labor.
A major benefit of on-site care: it's an employee satisfier. "Workplace clinics give employees convenient access to high-quality health care," says Dr. Harrison. "It shows them you really care about their well-being."
But Don't Take Our Word for It
The proof is in the numbers. Many companies are already reaping the rewards of an on-site clinic.
- According to I-trax Inc., a workplace health and productivity consulting company in Chadds Ford, Pa., on-site clinics typically reduce health care expenses by 5 to 20 percent.
- During 2004 and the first half of 2005, Pepsi Bottling workers logged 865 visits to their Baltimore wellness clinic, saving the company nearly $100,000 in outside clinic fees and $50,000 in replacement labor expenses.
- After one year of offering its on-site clinic, McKee Foods (makers of Little Debbie® and Sunbelt® brand products) saw the number of employees on medical leave decrease by 24 percent and the cost of emergency room claims drop more than 31 percent. Overall health care costs for employees participating in the on-site clinic program went down, while costs for non-participants went up. The company calculated a return on investment of 118 percent.
- Locally, Lomira's Quad Graphics has won national awards for its on-site clinics and other health and safety programs. The company's health care costs are, on average, 18 percent lower than the benchmark. Click here for more details.
Dr. Harrison suggests staffing your clinic with a nurse practitioner (NP). Nurse practitioners are primary care professionals with advanced training in diagnosing, treating and prescribing medications for general health concerns. While NPs are qualified to provide thorough, high-quality health care, their fee schedule is lower than a physician's and makes good economic sense as a first intervention. When further care is called for, an NP can refer patients to the appropriate specialists.
For more information on developing an on-site clinic through Affinity Occupational Health, call the Sales department at (920) 727-8700.
|Outdoor Workplace Risks|
Outdoor workers are susceptible to a variety of hazards in the summer. Keep on guard for these risks.
Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease spread by bacteria-carrying ticks. Initial symptoms may include a "bulls-eye" rash at the site of the tick bite, chills, fever, headache, lethargy and muscle pain. If caught early, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. Long-term complications may include nerve damage or memory problems.
Prevent Lyme disease by supplying workers with insect repellant containing DEET. If possible, keep work areas free of tall grasses and allow workers to wear light-colored clothing to help spot ticks. Long pants, long sleeves and tall rubber boots, if appropriate for the job, can also help prevent tick bites. Encourage workers to check daily for ticks on their skin and clothing, as well as on their equipment and tools.
Heat exhaustion is weakness, nausea or headache brought on by high temps. Heat exhaustion is less severe than heat stroke, a medical emergency in which a person can become delirious, unconscious or suffer seizures. If you suspect heat stroke, call 911 immediately.
Prevent heat illness by supplying workers with plenty of water - one cup every 15 to 20 minutes. Alternate work and rest periods with rest stops in a cooler area. Schedule heavy work for cooler times of the day. Train supervisors and first aid workers to recognize and treat signs of heat illness, and make sure all employees know who is trained to provide aid.
Sunburn is more than a nuisance - it can be painful and increase a person's risk of developing skin cancer. Protect your employees by supplying them with sunscreen. See our article, "Choosing the Best SPF" below for more details.
Summer sun glare can cause drivers to become distracted or even blinded to other vehicles or road hazards. Keep windshields clean, inside and out, and require drivers to wear full-coverage sunglasses.
Most insect stings are minor, but in rare cases a person can develop a severe allergic reaction. If a worker has trouble breathing or develops swelling of the face or throat, call 911 immediately.
Prevent stings by inspecting work sites for insect hives or nests. Workers should avoid wearing cologne or perfume and clothing with floral patterns or dark colors, all of which attract the nasty buggers. Keep food and beverages covered.
Poison ivy isn't actually poisonous. It contains an allergen that can cause inflammation, burning and itching when it comes in contact with the skin. While serious medical complications are rare, the itching alone can hamper an employee's ability to focus on the job. Train workers to identify poisonous plants and to inspect their work site for these offenders.
|Pass It On!
News to share with employees
Planning to hit the pines for some camping fun this summer? Before you go, add these safety tips to your packing list:
- Bring a first-aid kit. Check camping web sites for suggested supplies. One to try - the National Wildlife Federation at www.nwf.org.
- Arrive early so you have plenty of time to set up camp before the sun sets. Inspect your camp site for hazards such as poisonous plants, insect nests or broken bottles.
- Build a ring of rocks around your fire pit to contain the flames. Choose a spot away from tents and other flammable items, including debris and low-hanging branches. Never leave the fire unattended, and make sure it's completely extinguished before sleeping or leaving the site.
- All food should be packed away. Ward off food-borne illnesses by keeping cold edibles in an ice cooler or, for those camping in relative luxury, the trailer's refrigerator.
- Keep gas canisters upright and well ventilated. Turn them off when they're not in use.
- Don't keep food in your tent, where hungry wild critters may be tempted to scrounge for a snack.
- Never approach wild animals, and do not attempt to feed them. Most animal injuries occur when humans try feeding the camp site natives.
- Be on the lookout for snakes and biting insects. Exercise caution when picking up sticks and rocks or sitting on logs, etc.
- Use the buddy system when hiking or swimming. Always tell someone else your intended destination and route, and bring a GPS or cell phone (if you can get a signal).
- Consider giving your kids ID bracelets and whistles to use in an emergency.
- When storms approach, head for the camp shelter or, if there isn't one, seek cover in a densely forested area or cave. Avoid open spaces and do not try to outrun a tornado in your car.
- Need we say it? Wear sunscreen. And bug spray.
What's the best part about camping? The food! Take a break from the usual indulgence with this healthy fire-roasted recipe:
5 medium potatoes, sliced (peeling is optional)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup corn
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheese (optional)
Olive oil spray
Spray heavy-duty foil sheets with olive oil. Arrange potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onion and corn on sheets, spraying with more olive oil. Sprinkle with parsley, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Fold foil sheets over vegetables and seal edges. Grill over medium heat for 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Top with cheese if desired.
to print or forward this article to employees.
|Choose the Best SPF|
Ah, summer. The sun, the shorts, the piercing sting of cherry-red sunburn when combining said sun and shorts sans
sunscreen. Be smart - lube up. This is especially important for people who work outdoors. When choosing the right defense against harmful rays, consider these factors.
Sunscreen vs. Sunblock
Sunscreen absorbs UV rays. Sunblock reflects them. Sunscreen is commonly found in a variety of lotions, creams and gels that disappear on the skin. Sunblock was once recognized as the "white stuff" on a lifeguard's nose, but newer formulas are less noticeable.
Prevent More Than Burn
Think you can skip sunscreen because you have the type of skin that rarely burns? Think again. Sunscreen prevents not just sunburn, but also the long-term damaging effects of the sun, including aging, wrinkles and brown spots.
SPF 2 vs. 50
Sun-protection factor or SPF refers to the sunscreen's ability to protect skin from ultraviolet rays. For example, if you choose an SPF of 15, you can be in the sun 15 times longer than you can without sunscreen before burning. However, SPF protection does not increase proportionally with the numbers. An SPF of 2 will absorb 50 percent of UV radiation, an SPF of 15 will absorb 93 percent, and an SPF of 30 jumps just slightly to 97 percent. SPF 15 is recommended for daily use. People with fair skin should opt for a higher SPF.
UVB and UVA
"Broad-spectrum" sunscreens that protect against UVB and UVA rays are best. Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation is responsible for nasty sunburn. Ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation penetrates deeper to cause long-term aging and wrinkles. Keep in mind an SPF rating refers only to a sunscreen's ability to protect against UVB rays. There is currently no FDA-approved system for rating UVA protection.
Waterproof vs. Water-resistant
Swimming and sweating can affect sunscreen's ability to protect your skin. A sunscreen is labeled "waterproof" if it maintains its SPF level after 80 minutes of water exposure. It's "water-resistant" if the SPF holds steady after just 40 minutes.
Apply, Apply, and Apply Again
The secret to making sunscreen work for you is to apply it often and everywhere. Follow the instructions written on the bottle and be sure to cover every inch of skin that's exposed to sun. If you're wearing light-colored or light-weight clothing, apply sunscreen beneath your garments as well.
It might seem like a chore, but properly applying sunscreen - not just in summer but any time of year - can help keep your skin healthy, youthful and ouch!-free.
Ask the Expert
Dr. Brian Harrison, Affinity Occupational Health
What health conditions make my employees more prone to workplace injuries, and what types of screenings and programs should we offer to help prevent injuries in these workers?A.
To answer this in terms of your
employees, let's look at three related documents you may have on your shelf:
1. your company's annual aggregate Health Risk Appraisal (HRA) Report
2. your OSHA 300 Work Injury Log
3. the annual report of your Worker Compensation insurer.Read more
Have a question for our experts? Click here.
|Occ Doc in a Box|
Want more helpful insight from Dr. Harrison? Check out his blog, "Occ Doc in a Box," which focuses on topics relevant to the health and safety of your workforce. Click here
to follow it today.
Workplace Wellness Tip
Bike Loan Program
Biking is great exercise and an earth-friendly transportation option. Get your employees moving - and spare our air some car emissions - with a bike loan program. Here's how:
Provide a few bicycles (and helmets!) for employees to share. Make sure they're in good condition and that the brakes and tires are properly maintained.
Set up a "check out" system for anyone who wants to grab a bike for running lunch errands, transiting between facilities or just taking a spin at break time.
Require employees to sign a consent form and wear a helmet.
A bike loan program is based on the principle of non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, which simply means incorporating activity into your daily routine. Even employees who think they have no time to exercise can benefit from swapping the car for a bike. For more info on this principle, click here
to check out Mayo Clinic's studies.
|Meet Our Staff|
is the coordinator of business services for Affinity Occupational Health. The majority of Nancy's 24-year tenure with Affinity has been spent in the business department. She has a variety of responsibilities, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, and ensuring invoices are accurate and sent in a timely manner. "One thing I feel strongly about is finding the best, most efficient process possible for our staff and our customers," Nancy says.
Nancy has been married to her husband Jim for 30 years. They have three grown children and are "still waiting" for grandbabies. In her free time, Nancy enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, gardening and relaxing "up north."
began her Affinity career as a patient registrar for St. Elizabeth Hospital before joining Occupational Health two years ago as a financial associate. Susan handles billing for Workers Compensation and the Occupational Health clinic in Menasha. She came to Affinity with a ten-year background in the financial industry and a technical degree in medical coding.
Susan is married and the proud mom of two sons; one is a student at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and the other is a junior and tri-sport athlete at Appleton East High School. When she's not at work, Susan enjoys spending time with her family, gathered around the campfire, boating on Lake Winnebago or attending her younger son's soccer, wrestling and tennis events. In her "me" time, Susan dabbles in scrapbooking.
is a 16-year veteran of Affinity Health System and joined Occupational Health as a financial associate last November. She handles billing and check processing for the Oshkosh clinic. Doris "strives to be accurate and efficient" when serving her clients.
Doris's wonderful husband, Layne, passed away in 1995. She dotes on her four children and four grandbabies, loves landscaping and staying active by walking and playing the Wii. Most important to Doris is her time spent with family and praising God.
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