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Onsite doctor equals healthy workers

When Susan Lunsford's primary-care physician gave her a checkup this fall, confirming the exciting news of her pregnancy and referring her to an ob-gyn, it all happened at her workplace, Southeast Toyota Distributors' trucking division in Jacksonville's Westlake Industrial Park.

Lunsford is among Southeast Toyota's 700 local employees who have access to Baptist Health physicians and a full-time nurse at the company's three onsite health and wellness centers in Jacksonville, which are open to all associates and their dependents.

Gary Simone
Susan Lunsford and other employees at Southeast Toyota Distributors' trucking division in Jacksonville have access to Baptist Health physicians onsite.?
Parent company JM Family Enterprises, based in Deerfield Beach, was among the pioneers among self-insured companies that hired their own doctors to care for employees onsite as a way to keep workers healthy and reduce costs. A contract between JM Family Enterprises and Baptist Health brings primary-care physicians to the Toyota operations for regularly scheduled appointments and also coordinates care within Baptist's network of specialists and five hospitals in northeast Florida. Southeast Toyota also is offering the service at five other locations — Deerfield; Alpharetta, Ga.; Commerce, Ga.; Mobile, Ala.; and St. Louis.

Dr. Richard Luceri, vice president for healthcare services at JM Family Enterprises, says partnerships between employer groups and medical groups are growing nationally as companies search for ways to slow rising healthcare costs. JM's onsite medical services have helped the company keep cost increases to the low single digits, even as the national average has jumped between 10% and 12%, Luceri says.

Lunsford says having doctor appointments, annual physicals, prescriptions, flu shots and other care five minutes from her desk "is priceless in terms of my own personal time and the company's time." The services are part of each employee's health plan and require no co-pays. Spouses and children over 16 can also visit for primary-care appointments and other services.

Perhaps the best perk? "You never have to wait," says Lunsford. "You just run over when they're ready for you."