In House Medical Clinics: More Convenience and More Liability?

By Andrew Lu on October 16, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

More employers are turning to in house medical clinics in the workplace. These clinics provide a variety of services to employees such as diagnosing symptoms, writing prescriptions, and more. Is this trend a good idea?

These clinics can be a great morale boost to employees as they can simply have their medical issues checked out at work. More importantly for employers, these in house medical clinics can also save them a lot of money as employees are diagnosed and receive treatment earlier, writes NBC.

For every dollar spent on in-company programs, employers can get a return on investment of $1.50 to $3, according to a health care professionals study.

So does everyone win with an in house medical clinic? Employers save money. Employees save time. However, before you rush out and set up a medical clinic for your company, you should be aware there are some legal risks.

One big risk of legal liability from running an in house medical clinic comes from the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This act protects individuals' confidential medical information. The act generally prohibits covered entities like medical facilities from sharing a patient's health information with an employer or anyone else.

The risk of running an in house medical clinic inside your company is that some of a patient's confidential medical information could become known to the employer. Even having an employee regularly visit an in house clinic could reveal confidential information to an employer that the employer would otherwise not know.

In addition to HIPAA, an employer risks taking on some of the medical malpractice liability that doctors regularly face by running an in house clinic. In house counsel should be aware of such risks and establish a clinic in such a way as to prevent the employer from becoming liable for such claims.

Fortunately for employers, there are already some third party providers that will set up a clinic in your company. If you partner up with such a company you should make sure that all your HIPAA and medical liability concerns are addressed.

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