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Monday, August 15, 2022

Innovative Health Program Provides Alternative For Sick Employees

By Cheryl Smith, Publisher, Texas Metro News

Get sick at work and you have to take off to see a doctor or visit the emergency room or you can just call it a day and go home in hopes your condition gets better.

Medical experts are calling mobile clinics the future of healthcare.

Productivity is impacted and lost wages are an immediate downside to work stoppage. The alternative is for the sick employee to report to work and if contagious, possibly infect others causing a major problem.

For many, the idea of taking off work because of illness is not only stressful, it’s not an option.

When Dallas-based Hardies Fresh Foods executives entered into an arrangement with Hamilton Health Box, it was seen as not only a cost-saving measure but also an investment in the more than 400 employees at the Dallas-based company.

During a recent visit to Dallas, Dr. Glenn Davis talked about how the Houston-based company that specializes in mobile clinics is helping companies and their employees along with their families by setting up offices on the premises to provide medical care.

Doctors are available for checkups and minor health concerns.

At the local fruit processing plant, employees were even tested for COVID and with more services on site, there was never a shutdown or work stoppage throughout the pandemic.

Dr. Davis praised the leadership at Hardies for investing in employees, saying it was a testament to visionary leadership. He said Hardies joins other companies in working to deal with the health crisis and promote safer, healthier workplaces.

Vice President Jennifer Hardie Austin and Human Resources Director Melinda Munoz echoed the doctor’s sentiments about the benefits of having a doctor on call. For them, it made good business sense.

“The decision to go with Hamilton will benefit the company and our employees,” said Munoz.

According to the doctor, the Hamilton Health Box preventative services model has an impressive track record, saving one company as much as a 1/2 million dollars annually.

“We are able to diagnose symptoms earlier,” he explained, adding that the trained staff can prescribe medications and also make referrals and determine if a hospital visit is the next step.

Having Hamilton on the premises can also help area hospitals who have found their emergency room doctors being used as primary care physicians for many patients.

According to a survey commissioned by digital healthcare marketplace Zocdoc and conducted by Kelton Global, “The emergency room is the default choice for most Americans when they need medical care and nearly a quarter of millennials and Gen Z view the ER as their primary care doctor.”

The study also showed that only 3% and 14% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, respectively, do the same.

Long before the COVID pandemic, this was a problem for America’s hospitals and was actually deemed a crisis.

Unfortunately, some point to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EM-TALA), which passed in 1986 by Congress, requires hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay.

Board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Dr. Davis says companies that have a base of 150 or more employees, benefit significantly from contracting with Hamilton.

A Texas A&M University and Baylor University Alum, Davis says Hamilton is located in businesses in several cities and there are plans to expand, because of their successful track record in helping employees get healthy and businesses operate in a safer, healthier environment.

There are fewer sick claims, sicknesses are quickly addressed, and, in many cases, employees can go back to work the same day, without using any sick days, said Dr. Davis.

A key component in the office “clinic” is the Teledoc System that Dr. Davis says removes barriers to care, allowing doctors to interact with patients virtually and in person and patients can see what the doctor is seeing or hearing.

In a demonstration at Hardies, Dr. Davis displayed how doctors are able to do everything from checking vitals like blood pressure to prescribing antibiotics for a toothache.

Available around the clock, Hamilton’s full-time staff is assisted by a care team that is available to provide immediate care.

During the visit with Dr. Davis, Nurse Paola Olguin was on duty and she talked about how important she thinks the program is, especially for those employees who have family members.

“Their family members are also able to take advantage of services,” she said.

And other perks for employees on the plan include no charge for any generic medicine and that plan costs on average between $40-$50 per employee per month, she added.

See Dr. Davis’ interview and demonstration in full at www.texasmetronews.com and www.garlandjournal.com

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