Upstate SC companies say workplace clinics help cut costs, improve quality of health care

Jan 17, 2013-Tammy Cramer eases into a comfortable gray dental chair inside BMW’s modern
new family health center and gives Dr. Peter Mehr a look at her pearly

The $5 million, 25,000-square-foot center offers workers and their families primary care, vision, dental
and pharmacy, among other services, just down the road from their
workplace in Greer, with the option of an appointment before and after
their shifts.

As one of the first employees to use it, Cramer had a dental visit once her
workday ended, and she looks forward to scheduling more convenient
medical exams there as well.

“It was a great experience,” the Boiling Springs woman told

“I can leave work at end of my shift, drive to the family medical center
and have an appointment and not have to wait for hours,” she said. “And
I’m saving money by not having to miss time from work or take personal

BMW Manufacturing Co.’s new Associate Family Health Center opened last week,
becoming the Upstate’s latest business to offer employees an on-site
health center.

A growing number of employers — typically large, self-insured companies
like BMW — are looking to workplace clinics as a way to hold down health
care costs, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change, a
nonpartisan think tank in Washington.

The center reports that the number of companies planning to open one doubled between 2007 and 2011.

Still, only about 11 percent of American families most likely to have access
to these clinics — and 4 percent overall — reported using them in 2010.
That’s about the same as in 2007, according to the center.


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