A new addition was welcomed at Porter Health Care System's Portage Hospital on Tuesday afternoon. Health at Work, a new occupational and corporate health clinic, has been open and in use since November 17, 2014. It is the second Health at Work clinic and it mirrors the original clinic located in Valparaiso on La Porte Avenue.
The main use of the clinic is to help companies and the men and women who keep them running. Employees who experience on-the-job injuries or have pre-employment requirements for testing would go to this clinic. Porter works with many businesses in the area to make sure that their staff stays safe and healthy.
"When you recognize and treat workplace injury quickly and consistently it helps get the worker back to work...This contributes to a healthy bottom line," Laurie Wehner-Evans, Porter's Director of Community and Corporate Wellness said.
"We're looking to provide a safer work environment and reduce the cost of needed health services," Teresa Haskins, MD MPH said. "We're a conduit for businesses, someplace that they can go to make sure that their workers are healthy and productive."
And it's more than just injuries and testing at the clinic. The staff at Health at Work will come to any business and conduct health fairs and seminars on a variety of health and wellness topics, vaccinations are given and blood draws can be done for employees to test different things like cholesterol and blood sugar that can be taken to their primary care physicians, worker's compensation services are offered, and more.
"With the Affordable Care Act, an employer has an insurance plan and part of that plan now includes wellness services," Roberta Tuft, Corporate Health Consultant for Porter Regional Hospital said. "We have the capability to bring the testing equipment for the blood draws and other tests to the work place which makes it more convenient for the employees to get the services. And this gives the employer great aggregate data. If the premiums for their insurance plans are looking to increase, the employer can show that they are contributing to the overall health of their workforce and hopefully avoid that increase."
The demand for a new location was great and most of the requests for another clinic came from Portage, so the natural course of action for Porter was to build the second location in Portage Hospital. There are many businesses in the Port of Indiana and Porter wants to help them all. In 2015 a third Health at Work clinic will possibly be finding a home in Chesterton.
The ribbon cutting took place in the main lobby of Portage Hospital. Many community leaders and Porter employees came to commemorate the occasion.
"This is an excellent opportunity for the Portage Chamber to thank Porter Health Care System for the partnership that we enjoy with them," Terry Hufford, Executive Director of the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce said. "We work together and it is a pleasure to be here. I also want to thank Porter Regional Hospital for their continuing effort to bring more and more services to Portage. It comes with a vision and the people of Portage are going to benefit from this."
"As a major health care system here in Portage, we are thrilled to grow along with the city," Steve Lunn, CEO of Porter Health Care System said. "This is an opportunity for us to provide services as the business community grows... As everyone knows, healthy employees aren't just good for themselves, they are good for their employers and their community. It's a big focus on lowering healthcare costs these days, and making sure that we're doing a good job on the front end and keeping people healthy. This is a great opportunity for us to step in and fill that need and help the community grow."
"One of the things that we have put an importance and preeminence on in Portage is occupational health for our employees. And we now use Porter for that service," Portage Mayor James Snyder said. "There are so many little things that you don't think about until you manage a large group of employees. And it's important that our work force in general is healthy. We're grateful to Porter and all of those people in our community who are providing that level of healthcare and we want to continue to see this happen on many different levels. Our community's health and welfare is paramount to maintaining and sustaining a good community."
The Health at Work clinic is open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 4pm. If an injury occurs after that from 4pm to 9pm workers can head to Express Care for the most cost-effective care. And since life is not on a schedule, both Porter Regional Hospital and Portage Hospital are open 24/7 to anyone needing medical attention.
If employers are unsure of their options they can call Porter's Service Coordinators at 219-977-3329. They are available, also 24/7, to assist in guiding them in the right direction.