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Employers Expand Access to Better Health Care
Marathon Health is expanding their shared, near-site network to St. Louis in early 2022, offering multiple access points for employers in Clayton and downtown St. Louis.

Employers increasingly view their investments in health and wellbeing as an integral part of their workforce strategy. Companies want to take the necessary steps to improve health care for their employees, reduce their health plan spend, and address the rising need for behavioral health care services. Yet, with the nation facing a shortage of up to 55,200 primary care doctors by 2032, employers are realizing they need to make sure their employees have better access to care, while avoiding unnecessary, costly visits to the ER. 

 

To address this concern, Marathon Health has prioritized the expansion of its services to employers in the St. Louis metro area. The “network” of shared, near-site clinics is expected to open in the Clayton and downtown St. Louis areas first in early 2022. Additional health centers will be added based on input from employers who express interest in the network services.

 

Employees and their families receive better access to independent primary care through the Marathon Health centers in 40+ states. Employees and their dependents (age 2 years+) can receive a full scope of primary and acute care services. They can also learn how to manage chronic health conditions, and receive health assessments, coaching, and access to behavioral health services, physical therapy, and lab and pharmacy services. The integrated approach treats the whole patient while saving both employees and employers money.

 

“Marathon Health helped us change the way we think about delivering health care to our employees. They’re a thought leader, and we’re proud of the work we’re doing together,” says the Benefits Design Manager at Anthem, Inc., which began using Marathon Health in Indianapolis in 2017 and has since expanded the service to employees in Norfolk, Virginia, and Atlanta, Georgia.

 

On average, employers see a savings of $2,000 annually for each employee who uses Marathon Health for care. Those patients also report better management of chronic conditions and improved overall health. “The impact on businesses and patients is significant, and this has been underscored throughout the pandemic,” says Jeff Wells, MD, CEO and co-founder of Marathon Health.

 

The pandemic has also highlighted the need for better mental health care services, with 39% of adults in Missouri reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression at the end of January 2021. Through an integrated care approach, Marathon Health patients have reported significant improvement in their mental health, and employers have seen considerable savings tied to redirected care, lower absenteeism, and higher productivity.

 

“Our behavioral health services have been readily and easily available through video and telephone since March 2020,” says Denise Meyers, MS, National Director for Mental Health Services for Marathon Health. “In many communities around the country, there are long waitlists to see a behavioral health provider — in some cases up to two years. Our providers are part of an integrated care team that works in unison with the health center’s medical clinician so patients don’t have to wait to get the care they need.” 

 

Taking an integrated approach to address employee health care improves overall wellness while costing less money and saving time away from work. Change can be hard, but motivated patients who have a partner by their side are more likely to meet health goals and sustain improvements. On average, Marathon Health clinicians spend 30 minutes to an hour with patients to get to the root cause of health and wellness issues and develop a plan to make improvements and reach goals.

 

When choosing a health care company to partner with, employers should work with a vendor who focuses on population health risk management. Marathon Health, for example, identifies high-risk patients before they require expensive care. Clinicians become heavily involved in patient care with health coaching strategies to motivate patients to become partners in their own health care. Adhering to clinical practice guidelines, clinicians coordinate with the patient and track specific outcomes. The health centers take it a step further by monitoring and measuring clinical and cost metrics, while showing health savings to employers as patients improve.

 

When looking at three employers leveraging the onsite and near-site health centers, along with patients who visited those centers three or more times a year, Marathon Health saw significant savings and better health care outcomes. Patients used emergency departments 22% less, which led to average savings of $420 per member per year in health care costs. Overall, employee health care costs were 17% less than expected. Almost half of 3,052 patients who identified with prediabetes reduced their values to optimal levels after utilizing a health center.

 

To date, Marathon Health has saved clients more than $1 billion in health care costs and over $23 million during the pandemic by providing access to health care when many traditional institutions did not. “Our customers are typically self-funded,” Wells says. “What that means is every dollar saved in health care costs is a dollar that they can reinvest in their business and their workforce. Across our clients, we see those savings continue to grow each year.”

 

Most importantly, employers are helping their employees and their families live healthier lives. When people are managing their health successfully, they are more likely to have energy, a sense of purpose, and the ability to focus on work. It can make a huge impact on a company, an employee, and their family. 

 

For more information about participating in an employer-sponsored health care clinic in the St. Louis area, reach out to Carol Cox, VP of Market Development of Marathon Health at ccox@marathon-health.com. To learn more, visit us online at www.marathon-health.com.