Does your business have an extra $2 million stashed away for the upcoming flu season?
Conservative estimates say our nation’s 5 million employers spend a combined total of $10 billion each year in direct costs related to flu, from hospital and doctor’s office visits to medications. This figure doesn’t even include the cost of lost days from work. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), seasonal flu causes U.S. employees to miss approximately 17 million workdays each year, with an estimated $7 billion in sick days and lost productivity. Can your business afford to take the flu season hit?
Now, imagine a flu season raging around you – but with minor impact on your organization’s people, productivity and healthcare costs. Your employees are healthy and safe. That can happen when a free or low-cost flu vaccination is offered at work. How much better equipped would your workplace be to tackle flu season with a worksite clinician championing preventive flu measures?
Onsite Health Centers, Stress-Free Vaccines
An onsite or nearsite health center stocked with common vaccines yields major benefits to employee wellness and workplace productivity. The flu vaccine, especially, is the primary way to prevent flu-related illness and death, which is why it’s so important that the vaccine is readily available to your employees.
The appeal of worksite health centers comes from their ability to increase productivity, reduce health costs, and improve access to quality care. These benefits are multiplied during flu season, which directly affects 5% to 20% of the US population each year. Employees who don’t receive the vaccine are more likely to contract the flu and spread it to those around them. This not only contributes to the country’s yearly epidemic of flu-induced workplace absenteeism, it also puts employees’ families and communities at risk.
The frightening reality is that there are an estimated 9 million to 49 million cases of flu each year. The overwhelming majority of these cases could be eliminated or made less severe with a flu vaccine. If your employees have to visit an offsite medical clinic for routine care, they’ll spend on average 150 minutes away from work. This number jumps to 270 minutes (or four and a half hours) for an ER visit.
For this reason, more than 54% of Americans have postponed seeking healthcare because it is inconvenient, and the top reason is the inability to take time off from work.
Consider also a 2018 study from the University of Chicago that found 41% of Americans aged 18 and older did not intend to get a flu shot for the 2018-2019 flu season. This begs the question: how many of your employees won’t be getting the vaccine this year if it means leaving work? And how many are put off by myths about the vaccine?
The Harsh Reality of Flu Season
Flu season in the U.S. occurs in the fall and winter months, with yearly variation in intensity and length. The illness itself is typically characterized by a sudden onset of fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, and severe malaise. While most recover from their symptoms within a week, influenza can and does cause severe illness and death every year.
To put the harsh realities influenza into perspective, consider the 2017-2018 flu season, a high-intensity flu season that cost U.S. employers over $21 billion in lost productivity. More than 900,000 people were hospitalized, resulting in more than 80,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. There were an unusually high number of pediatric deaths, as well as deaths among working-age adults.
Making the flu vaccine easily available to your workforce remains the first defense against the tumultuous season ahead.
Healthstat Takes the Fight to the Flu
So, what can you do as an employer to best tackle the upcoming fall and winter months? First and foremost, actively encourage your workforce to get the flu vaccine. Having an onsite health center makes this conversation an easy one, as your employees aren’t taking off valuable work time to drive across town or waiting weeks for an appointment. If an employee can get the flu vaccine at their convenience, it benefits both their productivity and your bottom line.
Partnering with Healthstat also gives you access to our annual flu prevention campaigns, consisting of flyers, digital slides, and helpful handouts that encourage your workforce to receive the flu vaccine, practice healthy workplace hygiene, and stop the spread of flu.
Healthstat’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric Hart has this to say about the importance of being proactive during flu season: “While the flu vaccine is your first defense against the upcoming season, it’s important to promote healthy preventive measures like washing your hands and sneezing into the crook of your elbow to prevent the spread of flu. An onsite Healthstat clinician or Health & Wellness Coach can champion these measures to your workforce.”
And if employees do end up getting the flu, timely care is paramount to avoiding the worst of the illness. “There’s a 48-hour window after presenting flu symptoms,” Dr. Hart notes, “in which a Healthstat clinician can administer care that greatly decreases the severity of the illness. It’s vital for employees who fall ill to have readily available access to care.”
Healthstat also offers seasonal measures like hand sanitizer stations and clinician Lunch-n-Learns to spread helpful information around the flu season, like common flu myths and facts.
Client Services Operations Manager Pamela Hunt notes the benefit of working with a national medical distributor to ensure all Healthstat patients have access to the flu vaccine. “We work directly with our vendor partner to guarantee each year’s flu vaccine availability. Since flu vaccine shipments are sent directly from our vendor partner to our nationwide clinics, we’re able to track those shipments and keep our clients up-to-date at all times on the arrival and guarantee of their vaccine orders.”
NK Parts: A Case Study of Accessible Onsite Vaccines
NK Parts is a manufacturing and supply chain management company based in Ohio and Illinois and is home to a Healthstat onsite health center.
It is the goal of NK Parts to make free, comprehensive primary and preventive medical care available to employees and their families. This includes the range of commonly required vaccines. Employees and dependents receive these vaccines at the Healthstat Onsite Clinic. Nurse Practitioner Alisa Elliot has been with the onsite health center since it opened and has this to say about its vaccine offerings: “Offering vaccines onsite makes getting them much more appealing, as opposed to making an appointment with a primary care provider, health department, or having to wait in line at the pharmacy.”
“The response from NK Parts employees has been phenomenal,” she notes. “We have a lot of kids who come in for their required school vaccines, and our employees are able to get vaccinated for almost all vaccine-preventable diseases. The shingles and Tdap vaccines have been a huge hit.”
Alisa also remarks that onsite access to these vaccines does more than save time: “Access to these vaccines help decrease medical costs incurred by both employee and employer from doctor’s visits, hospital visits, and things like follow-up appointments. Our employees are more satisfied when these services show that their employer cares about them.”
“We have a lot of kids who come in for their required school vaccines, and our employees are able to get vaccinated for almost all vaccine-preventable diseases.”
Ronda Fogt, NK Parts’ Wellness & Benefits Manager, says, “We are working diligently to provide exceptional healthcare to our associates and their families. Our goal is to make it easier for our medical plan members to get critical vaccines and cut down on their chances of becoming ill.”
What Can Healthstat Offer You?
Flu season isn’t the only time to encourage workplace vaccinations. Regardless of population demographics, industry, or geography, Healthstat can provide routine immunizations according to CDC-recommended schedules for your employees and their dependents. This includes vaccines to prevent:
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
- Rubella (German Measles)
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
- Bacterial Meningitis
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Pneumococcal Pneumonia
Don’t let flu season, or any season, take the air out of your business. Show your workforce that their health means more than just a boost to your bottom-line. Consider offering onsite vaccinations and access to premier clinicians that improve care and promote a culture of health.
Partner with Healthstat to transform the dream of quality, accessible healthcare into a reality, and join us on our mission of inspiring healthy change, no matter the season.