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Highmark to Open Two Worksite Health Centers at Company Facilities

Friday, November 6, 2009 General News J E 4
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New centers designed to lower the company's health care costs and get employees more engaged in their own health care decisions

CAMP HILL, Pa., Nov. 6 -- In an effort to reduce the company's health care costs and to get employees more engaged in their own health care decisions, Highmark Inc. is opening two worksite health centers. The first center opens in its Camp Hill facility today and the second will open at the company headquarters in Pittsburgh on Nov. 20. The health centers will offer Highmark employees a variety of services including primary care, vaccinations, physical therapy, and a pharmacy.

"Based on our research, we expect to save several hundred thousand dollars on our overall health care costs this first year," said Kenneth R. Melani, M.D., Highmark CEO and President. "Besides that financial return on investment, we also know there are many additional benefits. Employees will be able to see a doctor at work rather than spending several hours going to an off-site appointment. This convenience is another opportunity to have employees more engaged in their health care decisions."

Highmark is working with Take Care Health Systems who will operate the health centers. Take Care Health Systems is part of Walgreens Health and Wellness Division and currently operates more than 375 worksite health centers around the country.

"As a health care leader and innovator, Highmark recognizes the benefits a comprehensive on-site health care program can provide to employees, offering both convenience and cost savings," said Peter Hotz, Walgreens divisional vice president and president of Take Care Health Employer Solutions.  "We look forward to addressing the health care and pharmacy needs of Highmark's workforce while helping to reduce costs and increase employee productivity and satisfaction."

Other large employers across the country have opened similar facilities. According to Take Care Health Systems, results have included a marked decrease in employees' use of emergency rooms and urgent care centers, significant reductions in health-related absences and increases in worker productivity. Highmark will be measuring a number of factors to determine the success of the health centers.

According to Fuld & Company research, worksite health centers can offer employers immediate savings of 10 to 30 percent on health care costs. The facilities generate savings by reducing costs for health care services, increasing productivity among the workforce and improving the overall health and well being of the employee population.

Highmark has a history of getting employees involved in their health. The company offers its employees an on-site fitness center and wellness classes. Highmark employees also participate in Lifestyle Returns, a wellness program that engages employees in awareness about their own health status and leads them to healthier lifestyles. In 2007, Highmark published a wellness study that indicated for every dollar spent on wellness efforts an additional $1.65 is saved.

"More employers across the country have seen increases in their health care expenditures, and everyone is looking for ways to contain costs. We know that wellness programs and getting employees involved in their health care makes a huge difference in the quality of their lives," said Dr. Melani.

SOURCE Highmark Inc.

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