Many senior living providers tout creative health benefits when hiring new employees, but those benefits are normally used offsite on employees’ own time. But that’s not the case at Catonsville, Maryland-based Erickson Living, which operates health and wellness clinics for employees at 15 of its 20 communities overall.
Though the clinics are aimed at keeping employees healthy, Erickson Living said having such a convenient health care option is also helping to recruit new workers—a definite plus as providers find themselves mired in an ongoing labor shortage.
“It’s certainly something people are surprised about [during the hiring process],” Sheri Nidiffer, regional director of employee health and wellness centers at Erickson Living, told Senior Housing News. “I definitely think it’s a good selling point.”
All of the clinics are housed on-campus, and the majority of them have a dedicated medical staff that only sees employees. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the clinics, however, is that employees can visit them during their workday instead of having to take time off to see a doctor, according to Nidiffer.
“They can come in for anything they would go to an urgent care for,” Nidiffer said. “We do everything from sore throats, high blood pressure, digestive problems, headaches, backaches, to general well visits.”
Other health services offered at the clinic include routine screenings, flu shots, lab draws, smoking cessation programs, Weight Watchers sessions, prescription renewals and specialist referrals—all at no co-pay if the employees are enrolled in Erickson Living’s health insurance program. The senior living provider also offers work-related injury care and onsite rehab services for employees.
Scores of employees have used the clinics since the first one opened at Erickson Living’s Riderwood campus in Silver Spring, Maryland, a decade ago. Last year alone, the senior living provider’s clinics logged 4,333 sick visits, 176 well visits and 34,078 visits for other reasons or services.
“If we get them physically, mentally, better… they feel better about themselves, and at the same time, they’re taking better care of our residents,” Nidiffer explained. “If you’re happy and you’re healthy and you feel cared for, then you’re going to give a little extra to the resident.”
The clinics are also a win-win for Erickson Living and its employees on a financial basis, according to Dan Dunne, the company’s director of external communications.
“We have demonstrated that the program has a positive value on investment,” Dunne told SHN. “This is achieved through billing for acute care, providing occupation health in-house, managing workers’ compensation costs and promoting wellness initiatives.”
Written by Tim Regan