Onsite Health Center
With 15 departments consisting of utility workers, public safety officers, road crews and more, the City of Plantation, Florida, employs a diverse workforce.
Today, employees and their families can access primary care, preventive screenings, chronic condition management, behavioral health support and wellness services at no cost via their dedicated health center provided by Marathon Health.
Before opening the health center, however, City of Plantation Benefits and Wellness Manager Beverly Ambrosio says the city took a reactive approach to their spiraling claims and declining employee health. At one point the city faced upwards of 20 stop-loss claims in a year, without seeing any tangible improvements to employee health, she adds.
Now 12 years into their partnership with Marathon Health, 96% of employees utilize the health center, leading to better health outcomes, unprecedented employee satisfaction and millions in health plan savings.
Engagement: A Key Driver of Health Center Success
It’s a simple concept. When employees regularly engage with health services and forge personal relationships with healthcare providers, they get healthier.
“I like to look at the health center data, and for me, the biggest thing is to make sure the employees are engaged, especially the high-risk employees and those with chronic conditions,” Ambrosio says. “It’s key because it tells us they’re working to make improvements.”
An effective engagement strategy requires an omnichannel communication approach to regularly inform employees about available services. For the 40% of employees who work in the field and don’t use work email, the city’s Marathon Health providers meet employees on their home turf, such as the police station or water treatment plant, to make introductions and build relationships. The Marathon Health care team also participates in wellness events like the one pictured above.
“It really helps them to put a face to a name,” Ambrosio says. “Versus just saying ‘Oh, we have this physician or health coach you can see.’”
While regular outreach and communication helps to drive engagement with health center services, employers often incentivize employees to boost engagement further. The city’s highly popular incentive program rewards engaged employees with insurance premium reductions and gift cards.
“We call it ‘Three Steps to Wellness.’ Everybody knows about it, and they know their numbers,” Ambrosio says. “If they complete a biometric screening, health risk assessment and a Comprehensive Health Review, they pay about 11% less on their health insurance.”
Beyond the three steps, employees earn additional points for receiving preventive care, such as getting a flu shot or completing a well-woman visit or a health coaching visit, and by participating in regular wellness challenges, fitness classes and online workshops.
“Once you hit five points, you get a $75 card. And if you get 10 points, you get another $75 card,” Ambrosio says.
To improve health center engagement with employee spouses, the city also requires covered spouses to complete the three-step program to earn the premium discount. In the last year, 83% of spouses utilized the health center. Covered dependents can also earn points for things such as completing a school or sports physical, meeting with the registered dietitian and participating in wellness events.
Happy Employees, Healthy Outcomes and Financial Savings
While the incentives often influence employees to initially engage, Ambrosio says the patient experience turns them into raving fans. “We constantly hear from employees who’ll say, ‘It’s just wonderful over at the health center,’” she says.
To date, 99% of city employees rate their benefits favorably, while the Marathon Health center enjoys a world-class NPS score of 95.
The Marathon Health care model favors a comprehensive, patient-centric approach that prioritizes outcomes over transactions. Employees benefit from longer appointment times, on-site medications and lab testing, referral coordination and more. In many cases, employees can schedule same- or next-day appointments.
“They’re so amazing at what they do,” Ambrosio says. “I’ve said it from the beginning, Marathon knows how to hire the right people who are the right fit. We can get them to visit, but it’s the staff that keeps them coming back.”
Ambrosio says she frequently hears about life-changing success stories from employees who engage with health services. Recently, an employee who hadn’t seen a doctor in 17 years found out he had prostate cancer after the Marathon Health providers encouraged him to schedule a screening, she adds. Because of the diagnosis, he was able to start treatment.
In 2022, the city’s health center saw 100% engagement of high-risk employees, with 76% of employees improving key biometrics, like blood pressure, cholesterol or A1c.
Ambrosio says it didn’t take long for the city to see a return on their health center investment. “We literally had cost savings in the first year, even including the Marathon Health implementation fee,” she says.
And the savings continue to grow year after year. In year 12 with their partnership with Marathon Health, the City of Plantation has saved $6.7 million on health plan costs, and now enjoys an ROI of $3 for every $1 invested in their employees’ health and well-being.