MERRILLVILLE | The doctor is in, and he is just steps away from the cubicle.
OurHealth, an on-site health clinic, opens today inside the Centier Bank Corporate Center, 600 E. 84th Ave., Suite 100.
The free clinic is open to all part-time and full-time Centier employees and their family members who are older than 13 and on the Centier health plan, as well as employees from Task Force Tips and Urschel Laboratories, with which Centier partnered for this clinic and one that will open in May in Valparaiso, said Chrisanne Christ, vice president of human resources for Centier.
The clinic, which is not open to the public, will operate 40 hours a week, offering primary and acute care, on-site lab work, on-site prescriptions and health coaching. It has two exam rooms, a lab area and a room to accommodate health coaching.
Centier followed suit after bank officials several years ago noticed the trend for large companies to open on-site clinics, Christ said.
"It's another benefit," she said.
Companies face rising health costs, and many offer wellness programs.
Christ said the clinic had to make business sense in order for Centier to go through with it, but she said the primary reason the company opened the clinic is because it was the right thing to do.
Tuesday afternoon, employees toured the new clinic and met Dr. Joel Schumacher, the clinic physician.
Schumacher, who worked in private practice for more than 17 years in Plymouth, said he expects patients will experience shorter wait times and longer one-on-one visits with him than they would in a traditional visit.
The clinic has a separate entrance to the Centier corporate building, and it uses separate computer systems to help ensure patient privacy, said Dr. Jeffrey Wells, president of OurHealth.
OurHealth, an independent provider of integrated wellness and preventive care, staffs and manages the clinic.
"We're about being proactive and preventive about health," Wells said.
Health coaches can guide employees through weight management, nutrition, stress management and tobacco cessation, among other conditions. Staff includes nurses and a nurse practitioner.
Wells said the clinic can act as an additional route of care for people who already have a primary physician, or it can serve as a person's main physician. Lab work done at the clinic can be shared with an employee's primary physician.