Concerned about rising health care costs, more large employers are reconsidering a once-spurned solution: offering employees access to company-sponsored clinics. That's according to a recent study by Mercer, the New York City-based human resources consulting firm. The survey found that 13% of companies with more than 500 employees offer primary care services. While Mercer doesn't have historical data, it's a significant increase from just a few years ago, says Bruce Hochstadt, a principal at the company. An additional 10% are considering offering such care over the next two years.

This new generation of clinics offers a broad scope of services, ranging from screenings and immunizations to X-rays and pharmacies. While some are on-site, many others are at nearby locations and may be shared by two or more employers in close proximity to one another. Industries most likely to offer primary-care clinics include health care (34%) and government (13%).

In addition to seeing these clinics as a way to control health care costs, employers also cite the ability to provide improved access to preventive care and to encourage employees to make better use of health/wellness programs as major objectives.

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