Primary Care Visit

Employer Solutions | 3 months ago

Benefits of Primary Care Physicians

Helping employees gain access to a primary care physician is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to positively impact employee health and reduce healthcare-related expenses.

Finding opportunities to make changes that have a large, positive effect on employee health is the name of the game when it comes to successful and effective health and wellness programs. Solutions that add value to health plans without substantial cost increases can be difficult to find, but they’re out there. One such opportunity lies in increasing employee access to primary care physicians (PCP) through physician referral programs.

Composition of the US healthcare workforce has changed considerably in the last 50 years, with trends leaning toward an increased specialist supply, and away from more generalized primary care physicians.  However, recent research shows that increased access to primary care physicians is associated with improved health outcomes in all-cause mortality; cancer, heart disease, stroke and infant mortality; low birth weight; life expectancy; and self-rated health. As this research has become more widely available, we’re starting to see the pendulum swing back, and the utilization of primary care physicians increase.

The association with increased positivity in health outcomes is the result of a primary care physician’s insight into a patient’s overarching health picture, as opposed to a specialist who may see only a few aspects. Many people aren’t aware of the benefits associated with establishing a relationship with a primary care physician, or they simply aren’t aware that electing one is an option under their coverage.  

One of the easiest ways to take advantage of better health outcomes is to connect employees with primary care physicians through a referral service. Referral services take the work out of finding a physician who is accepting new patients and having to establish the relationship yourself. Helping employees select and connect with primary care physicians reduces employer healthcare costs and increases the overall health and happiness of your employees.

“We like employees to develop a relationship with a PCP so they’re seen year after year and can track their own progress toward achieving a healthy lifestyle. Our employees travel frequently and are constantly on the go, so it’s important to be able to connect with a healthcare provider quickly if there’s an issue,” says Hazel Davis, global benefits director with Albemarle Corporation.

“We’ve received excellent feedback from employees who’ve used the PCP referral program. HEALTHWORKS made it easy for our people to connect with PCPs through their referral program, and I could tell they were genuinely interested in helping people find the right fit.”

In addition to PCP referral programs, HEALTHWORKS offers employers several other healthcare events at no cost including:

HEALTH FAIRS: The HEALTHWORKS promotions team provides free health and preventive information plus noninvasive screenings, such as blood pressure readings.

EDUCATIONAL SEMINARS: Enhance the health and well-being of your employees with free educational programs. HEALTHWORKS can provide Carolinas HealthCare System experts to speak on a variety of topics including diabetes, stress, back pain and more.

MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING: Each year, mental illness and substance abuse cost employers approximately $80 to $100 billion in indirect costs. HEALTHWORKS’ Mental Health First Aid course helps to support a mentally healthy workforce. Your staff learns risk factors and warning signs for mental illness and addiction, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help. The course covers anxiety disorders, depression, panic attacks, psychotic disorders and substance use disorders.

Whether you are just beginning your wellness efforts or looking to supplement your existing wellness program, HEALTHWORKS will partner with you to create events that work for your employees and your business.

If you’d like more information about HEALTHWORKS Physician Referral Services or other on-site healthcare events customized for your organization, please email Janet Ruscingno.