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There’s a solution to helping workers stay healthy – it’s as simple as offering on-site clinics staffed by IU Health professionals.
Sore throat? High blood pressure? Aches and pains?
Many employees would shake it off and keep working. But when there’s an on-site clinic, convenience becomes a reason to seek a professional opinion and in some cases a diagnosis.
Connie Kraemer is one of those employees who took advantage of an on-site wellness center. In her 29th year as cafeteria manager with Center Grove Community School Corporation, Kraemer visited the clinic in January for some blood work. When the tests came back indicating a risk of diabetes, she immediately took advantage of the clinic offerings.
“I work 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. so having the clinic on site was so convenient,” said Kraemer, adding that there is a history of diabetes in her family. The Center Grove site is one of several across the state operated by IU Health, treating everything from illness to injuries. The Center Grove staff includes a physician, Dr. Sarah McKenna, a health coach/registered dietitian Kristin Hullett, as well as medical assistants Cayla Sweeney and Alesha Froedge.
Dr. McKenna, who prescribed medication to help control the diabetes, reviewed Kraemer’s lab results. Then Kraemer began meeting with Hullett to set goals toward weight loss.
“We reviewed her lifestyle and brainstormed a plan that would be realistic for her to follow,” said Hullett. As part of the on-site clinic team, Hullett also offers educational programs to Center Grove employees. Those programs range from topics of healthy meal preparation to weight management.
Since January, Kraemer is down 65 pounds and has managed to level off her blood sugar. Although she has a full-time physician, Kraemer said the visits to the clinic have provided convenient access and personal care that has kept her on track to better health. Other employees share similar experiences.
Companies with on-site clinics report a decrease in hospital admissions and reduction in healthcare costs.
“At each site, the clinics are designed to meet the needs of the employees,” said Dr. Geraldine Darroca, director of IU Health Business Solutions. “Typically, employees can visit the clinics during their normal workday. There is limited wait time, private exam rooms and an immediate response to the concerns of patients and their family members,” said Dr. Darroca. “Services range from everyday sick care to healthy lifestyle management. Most centers focus on primary care and are treating acute illness and managing chronic disease Employers typically pick up the expenses of clinic care as part of their employee benefit health plan.”
Eight schools are served by the Center Grove clinic. The district employs about 900 faculty and staff members who have access to the clinic through their health benefits plan.
-- By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health. Reach Banes via email at T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.