The Scooter Store makes 'quality care accessible'

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Scooter Store spends $50,000 per month to operate a free onsite medical clinic, but it’s worth every penny, say company officials.

The clinic, which recently celebrated its 1st anniversary, has helped The Scooter Store reduce healthcare costs by reducing the number of office visits employees make to their primary care physicians and reducing the number of laboratory procedures they need.

“Because quality care is accessible, employees seek medical care sooner when they feel ill, which results in appropriate care and a more speedy recovery,” said Deanna Scott, the company’s vice president of human resources and corporate operations.

A San Antonio-based company called Health By Design operates and staffs the clinic. A physician, registered nurse and medical assistant are there five days a week. They see about 25 employees per day.

In addition to reducing expenses, the clinic has increased productivity. Scott pointed out that an appointment at the in-house medical clinic takes about 45 minutes, while an office visit with a primary care physician can take up to two-and-a-half hours.

The clinic and an onsite fitness center have also improved morale. This year, a “Couch Potato 5K” run/walk drew 200 employees and their family members.

“At least 50 of them had never run or walked that distance (3.1 miles) before,” Scott said.

Even The Scooter Store’s Doug Harrison has benefited from the clinic. He dropped in one day earlier this year with stomach pain and learned he might have appendicitis. After a CAT scan at a local lab confirmed the diagnosis, he had a laparoscopic appendectomy that same day.

“Had we not had an onsite clinic, I would not have made an appointment with my primary care physician that day,” said Harrison, founder, president and CEO. “I would have just assumed that I would get better and run the risk of a much more serious situation.”