Software company SAS has a great reputation as a good place to work — Fortune, for instance, named it the best company to work for in the U.S. in both 2011 and 2010.
One of its biggest perks: an on-site, full-service health-care center for employees and their families, staffed by 55 people, including four physicians and 10 nurse practitioners.
Charge for services: zero. Co-pay: zero.
In ““Do-It-Yourself” Employee Health Care” in the new Winter 2012 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review, authors Leonard L. Berry, Gale Adcock and Ann M. Mirabito acknowledge how, “In an era of soaring health-care costs, it may seem unreal that SAS can offer health care free of charge to employees and their families and actually save money.”
And yet, they note:
in 2010, efficiency enabled SAS to directly generate in health-plan savings alone more than $1.50 for every dollar it spent to operate its health-care center. Effectiveness and quality drive more than 75% of the 4,700 employees at the company’s Cary, North Carolina, headquarters to choose the center for their primary care even though the health plan allows them to use external providers.
How does SAS do it? Berry, Adcock and Mirabito highlight these health service features:
- A focus on keeping people healthy, not just treating them when they’re sick.
- Elimination of “fee for service,” which the authors say “rewards excessive testing and treatment.”
- Coordination of care, which minimizes duplication of effort.
- Having registered nurses do the work they’re trained to do, freeing up physicians and nurse practitioners.
- Having nonclinical staff do things such as recording weight and taking blood pressure.
- Not having to pay staff to negotiate claims payments with insurance companies.
- Time savings for employees: an estimated two hours per visit because the individual remains on site, which added up to an estimated $3.6 million in productivity savings in 2010.
For more details about SAS’s on-site clinic and other company examples, see ““Do-It-Yourself” Employee Health Care.”