Activating employee health with Activate Healthcare

Activating employee health with Activate Healthcare

As health care costs continue to climb, Activate Healthcare has introduced a disruptive model of health care delivery to Wisconsin companies – one that saves dollars and addresses employee health on the front end.

The innovative health clinic operator, which launched in Wisconsin last month, aims to serve employers of all sizes and industries statewide with its onsite and near-site clinics that emphasize proactive and preventive care.

Activate Healthcare is based in Indianapolis, and in addition to working with companies in Indiana, also partners with employers in Ohio, Michigan and the state of Washington.

In Wisconsin, the company has yet to establish a home office but aims to find space within the next two months, likely along the I-94 corridor between Milwaukee and Madison, according to its executives, Greg Banaszynski, president, and Patricia Lenius, vice president of business development. Banaszynski and Lenius both have extensive experience in the health care arena. Banaszynski has served in president, CEO and executive vice president roles for Aurora Healthcare, Synergy Healthcare, Fort Healthcare and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare. Lenius has 20 years of experience providing long-term, patient-centered care solutions to organizations and communities. Prior to launching Activate Healthcare, she owned a consulting firm.

At the heart of Activate’s disruption is the operation of its employer clinics, which can either sit directly onsite to serve a company’s employees exclusively or nearby to be shared among a group of employers.

Clinic services touch a range of health points, from primary care and chronic disease prevention and management to immunizations, physicals and health screenings, physical therapy, care treatment plans, nutrition, health counseling, and wellness classes.

“It covers the entire gamut of wellness services,” Lenius said. “It doesn’t pick and choose. Everything is comprehensive.”

Activate Healthcare’s approach to workplace health and wellness in many ways mirrors the operations of QuadMed, a health care subsidiary of Sussex-based Quad/Graphics Inc. that also offers employers onsite clinic options. In fact, Lenius contributed to the development of QuadMed’s model while working as a corporate athletic trainer at Quad/Graphics.

However, Activate differentiates itself with a focus rooted in the behavior of client employees, Banaszynski and Lenius said.

With patient-centered care and a scientific evidence-based model, the clinic provider works “toward changing health behaviors so employees lead a healthier life,” Lenius said.

Clinic infrastructure

Companies that host onsite clinics typically have a minimum of 1,200 patients, including staff members and their spouses and dependents, who are eligible for clinic care.

Most of the clients that Activate Healthcare works with nationwide invest in near-site clinics, and Banaszynski and Lenius envision that will ring true in Wisconsin, where the number of employers with 200 to 500 employees far exceeds the number of employers with workforces of greater than 1,000.

“Our model is we help them aggregate with other employers in their community so they can all share the benefit of having a clinic for their employees,” Banaszynski said.

Each of Activate’s clinics runs a minimum of 40 hours per week, according to the needs and cultures of partnering companies, with at least two caregivers working at all times.

Each clinic has a dedicated medical staff, hired to fit the corporate culture of clients, so that physicians can build relationships with patients through their continuity of care.

Clinic staff, which typically includes physicians, nurse practitioners and medical assistants, is employed by Activate Healthcare and compensated through salaries and benefits, as opposed to fee-for-service contracts

The health clinic provider serves between 40 and 50 employers through 20 clinics and said its employee participation rates often surpass 90 percent.

Activate acts as a third-party administrator and ensures that its employer clients and clinics adhere to HIPAA regulations when consulting the medical needs of employees.

Curbing costs and risk factors

At Monarch Beverage, an Indianapolis-based distributor of beer and wine, 85 percent of the company’s 650 employees use the company’s onsite Activate Healthcare clinic, and 75 percent of employees consider the clinic physician their primary care doctor, said Natalie Roberts, a senior vice president at Monarch Beverage.

Prior to the start of Monarch Beverage’s partnership with Activate Healthcare in 2011, the distributor hosted an onsite health care clinic through a different provider whose philosophy strayed from its own.

“Their model was to treat the illnesses and act more as an immediate care clinic rather than one focused on changing behaviors,” specifically those that contribute to high health risk factors, Roberts said.

Based on the company’s metrics, which include everything from health care claims to productivity, it estimates that for every dollar it invests into Activate, it receives two dollars in return.

“We believe that our employees are overall more productive, that they’re more engaged in changing behaviors (and) that they’re more well-aware of what their health risk factors are that they need to work on,” Roberts said.

According to Banaszynski and Lenius, Activate’s employer clients in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Washington experience a 15 to 30 percent return on investment.

While Activate Healthcare has not yet officially secured any Wisconsin clients, “the amount of onsite and near-site clinics by employers in the state is very high,” Banaszynski said.

Banaszynski and Lenius have approached at least 45 employers and employee benefit consultants in the state and “have an extensive list of prospective clients,” Lenius said.

The company’s growth potential is “unlimited,” she said.