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Managed Care Partners - Johns Hopkins Offers Employee Health Programs to Companies Nationwide

Managed Care Partners Fall 2013

Johns Hopkins Offers Employee Health Programs to Companies Nationwide

Date: November 1, 2013

At the PepsiCo bottling plant in Baltimore, Ed Bernacki set up the first of what would become many Johns Hopkins Employee Wellness Centers.
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At the PepsiCo bottling plant in Baltimore, Ed Bernacki set up the first of what would become many Johns Hopkins Employee Wellness Centers.

A dozen or so years ago, Edward Bernacki, director of Johns Hopkins’ Division of Occupational Medicine, was writing a series of articles on preventing occupational injuries, with the premise that employers had to get employees to the best physicians for the best outcomes.

By request, Bernacki published an article that was picked up by what he thought was an obscure risk-management journal. But that article sparked the interest of a risk manager at PepsiCo, who called and later visited Bernacki to ask if he could set up an employee wellness center for the company’s bottling facility in Baltimore. It went so well that Bernacki was then asked to design similar programs for their facilities in Orlando, Fla.; Pittsburgh and eventually 37 additional U.S. bottling plants.

From Food to Tech and Aeronautics

Pepsi is just one of many large corporations, including Nestle Corp., Hughes Network Systems (a provider of broadband satellite network products), and the Nordham Group (a provider of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services) now employing Bernacki’s home-grown model of Johns Hopkins On-Site Employee Health and Wellness Centers. The centers, located in over 50 sites across 23 states, help companies control employee medical costs by focusing on frontline assessment and treatment of occupational and nonoccupational injuries/illness; delivery of wellness and prevention services; development of local health care strategy; and support of safety initiatives. A Web portal allows employees to make appointments at their on-site clinics, learn about company wellness programs or read Johns Hopkins health content on a variety of conditions.

Centers are staffed by nurse practitioners or physician assistants trained by Bernacki and his team. All patient data is entered into an electronic employee health medical record system, which makes for easy review and management by Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins practitioners, and data mining for improved outcomes.

“We do a lot of research and publish our data,” says Bernacki, “and clients like that we constantly try to innovate new wellness programs.”

Contracting with Johns Hopkins for health services makes sense for Pepsi or other companies that specialize in non-health care products, Bernacki says. And, it has the name-brand power of an academic institution with proven expertise.

Growth of the Employee Health Programs

Without any formal advertising, the program experienced 10 percent to 20 percent growth in revenue over the last seven to eight years and now generates some $12 million in revenue. Until recently, potential clients discovered the service through word-of-mouth from existing clients, Bernacki says, and in some cases, senior leaders who moved to other companies wanted to adopt the model in their new workplace. A full-time sales and marketing director has been hired to accelerate expansion.

“We think with the addition of a marketing presence, we can continue the growth rate we have achieved in the past,” Bernacki says. He’s working to set up on-site clinics for the corporate offices of PepsiCo in New York and Nestle in California, among others.

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