TEMPLE - Two years ago, Wilsonart and Baylor Scott and White partnered to create a innovative work site health program in efforts to provide Wilsonart employees with better healthcare. A three-room work site clinic was developed at Wilsonart in Temple at the start of the initiative.
Tuesday, Wilsonart held its annual health and wellness fair, which highlights the programs its employees are eligible to participate in.
Agnus Yahl, a nurse practitioner for Baylor Scott and White, visits Wilsonart every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to give check-ups to Wilsonart employees. She has been a nurse practitioner for 16-17 years, with an additional 12 years of experience as a registered nurse.
Additionally, a registered nurse from Baylor Scott and White works in the clinic at Wilsonart Monday through Friday.
Yahl sees nearly six employees on average per day. On a typical day, Yahl treats everything from poison ivy rash, pneumonia, the flu, allergies, etc.
Sometimes, other health issues can pop up, and the work site clinic can potentially catch more serious issues.
Ty Simpson, Wilsonart Director of Logistics and Operations, paid a visit to Yahl two years ago for allergy symptoms. While checking Simpson's lymph nodes, Yahl felt a lump in Simpson's neck. She then immediately referred Simpson to get imagining and a biopsy done.
Simpson had a benign, or non-cancerous, tumor in his neck, but no clue it was even there. He got the tumor removed a week later.
"If (a tumor) is ever found to be a cancer, and (the employee) doesn't go get it checked out, depending upon what type of cancer it might be, can spread to the rest of their body," Yahl said.
Simpson said hearing the news that his tumor was benign was a relief.
"I probably had not had a physical since 2005," Simpson said. "I probably would not have gone back for another one had (Yahl) not prompted me. It was good to go, have it addressed, find out that (the tumor) was certainly very treatable and won't have to worry about it going forward."
While Simpson's case proved harmless, there have been cases which were life-threatening.
"I have not found any types of cancer, but I have sent people to the emergency room that were having chest pains and they were having a heart attack," Yahl said. "Where they might not have gone to be checked out."
Besides potentially saving lives, the health initiative benefits both the employee and the company as well.
Employees receive top of the line one-on-one health care. Yahl said in a typical doctor's office setting, "you have to roll people out every twelve minutes." When she treats employees at the Wilsonart work site, Yahl doesn't face pressure of meeting a quota, essentially, and can discuss into further detail what each patient is feeling or is concerned about.
According to research done by Yahl, patients also saved on average of $1,800 by seeing her as opposed to going to the emergency room for a diagnosis of simple health problems such as a common cold, stomach problems, etc.
Wilsonart benefits from the clinic due to its employees receiving their health care on site in significantly less time than it would take to make an official hospital visit. That means, more efficient work being done in the manufacturing line, which, in turn, makes the company more money in the long run.
Losing one person for an extended period of time knocks production down nearly 80% for that particular job, Simpson said. Most of the tasks in the manufacturing plant is a two-person job. So, doctor's visits, which sometimes can take up half a work day, impedes on business.
Employees aren't the only beneficiaries of the program, but so are their dependents. Six months after kick starting the program, the clinic was made accessible to dependents of Wilsonart employees. Spouses and kids can come in for their physical, routine check up, flu shots, and other health care needs as well.
The company saves money, its 1,000-plus employees save money, and top-of-the-line health care is provided -- everybody wins.
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