MAC Trailer partners with Alliance Community Hospital with wellness clinic
By Ruth Lang, The Review, Published July 31, 2013
Twenty-year-old Alliance company MAC Trailer is celebrating a first as it embarks upon a new wellness clinic partnership with Alliance Community Hospital.
"This is the first time that a business has partnered up with Alliance Community Hospital to start this wellness clinic," explained MAC Trailer co-owner Jenny Conny. "We recognized with the increase of health care, we had to do something as a company. It's just as important for us to reach out to the employees and make sure they stay healthy as it is to the employer keeping our claims down; we need to take care of each other."
A self-insured company, MAC developed a wellness committee consisting of representatives from the shop, management, human resources, marketing and environmental health and safety to research and discuss some health-related issues.
"We visited other wellness clinics from other companies in the area, (and) we researched the whole wellness programs that are out there and available," said Dennis Postiy, vice president of business administration, adding the committee made the decision to move forward with a clinic by the end of 2012. Securing agreements with the hospital took approximately six months.
"We developed this program basically to help facilitate the health awareness of our employees. We have a relatively young, healthy population, but our goal is to maintain this for the future long-term," Postiy said. "We're trying to do two things: One is we're trying to control health costs, and secondly, we're trying to give our employees easy access to a physician because with their work schedules and their busy family life and everything else, it's difficult to find time to squeeze in those regular care visits."
The clinic, in the planning stages for roughly a year, will be staffed and managed by Alliance Community Hospital personnel, primarily certified physician's assistant Mikki Kanagy, who can interpret blood work, cholesterol and glucose levels; administer flu shots, antibiotics and other medicines; and care for acute, minor illnesses like strep throat, sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infections, minor skin rashes, allergic rhinitis and urinary tract infections.
"I am not meant to replace the MAC employees' primary care physicians," she said. "Actually, I will also be health-coaching the MAC employees, and one of the important areas I will be stressing is the importance of establishing and going for yearly physicals at their own doctor's offices. My main objective as a health coach will be to facilitate a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. I hope to accomplish this by establishing a relationship with each employee, understanding their health and wellness needs and forming a plan to sustain this goal."
Conny said utilizing the services of the clinic is not a requirement, "but we strongly encourage it in a positive way, because it is positive -- everybody wants to get healthy."
Postiy added employees can earn discounts by visiting the clinic and/or participating in the coaching program.
While the clinic is initially available only to employees, MAC officials hope to expand its services to include spouses and children, as well as construct a permanent clinic and fitness center.
The existing two-exam room unit located on the campus of MAC's corporate headquarters, 14599 Commerce St. N.E. in Alliance, is leased for a year.
"We brought in the mobile unit to really learn," Postiy said. "We'll use what we learn from this mobile unit to outfit the permanent unit with everything we need.
Initially, clinic hours are planned for 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays, beginning Aug. 5.
"We're taking a lot of statistics and a lot of information from other wellness programs, and they think in general it takes about a 1,000-employee company to really make a wellness center cost-effective. So when we got to that 1,000-employee mark it began to make sense for us. And hours-wise, typically, that's about how many hours they say is most cost-effective. We're going to kind of play it by ear; if it grows, we'll add more hours."
Both MAC and ACH officials agree potential benefits of the clinic are numerous.
"I believe this clinic is on the cutting edge for future health care," Kanagy said. "MAC trailer is definitely leading the way for other businesses."
"It assists our employees, makes our company more attractive, (ensures) employee retention," said Dave Wade, corporate human resources director at MAC. "Our employee age group doesn't spend a whole lot of time looking out for themselves, and here's a place where they can (experience) kind of one-stop shopping, come out and get some medical needs taken care of and don't have to call off work."
"It's a partnership between the hospital and MAC Trailer. Our goal is to help them achieve their goals with their wellness program," said Lori DiPanfilo, RN, BSN, senior practice administrator at Alliance Community Medical Foundation. "A lot of employers can do health fairs for their employees, but to take it that step further, where we want follow-up on those results ... it's not easy to do. It's always exciting to work and partner with our businesses in the community, and especially when the business is also very interested in the health of the community."