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How can companies cut expenses? According to Florida hotelier Harris Rosen, by taking health care into their own hands.

Twenty-four years ago, Rosen had some extra office space. He used it to save, by his reckoning, $240 million—and counting. He told Marni Jameson of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper what happened:

When I suggested a primary care clinic, you’d have thought I’d climbed to the top of the Empire State Building and shouted something profane. How dare you? What do we know about health care? Well, not knowing about something has never deterred me before. We hired a doctor, a nurse, and an administrator.

Today, that clinic serves Rosen’s seven Orlando-area hotels with four full-time doctors, three nurse practitioners, a physician assistant, a chiropractor, a podiatrist, a dietitian, a physical therapist, a pharmacy, lab services, and X-ray, ultrasound, and mammography equipment.

Rosen’s employees pay $750 (single) or $2,200 (family) annually for health care coverage, with no deductible. There is no co-pay for preventive care. For other visits, the co-pay is $5. A hospital stay costs $500 per visit. The company keeps workers on the clock for clinic visits and provides transportation for those without a car.

So how does Rosen figure this has saved him $240 million in those 24 years? “We have 3,700 employees and the lowest employee turnover rate in the industry, partly because of the medical clinic,” he said.

While an employee is training a new hire, neither is very productive. Turnover is expensive. So is illness. “We want them to access the clinic whenever they want so they stay healthy,” Rosen said. “If you are healthy, you use hospitals less.”

Rosen does have a few admittedly “draconian” rules.Workers are not allowed to smoke. “We randomly test for nicotine, illegal drugs, and alcohol abuse,” he said.

“Obesity is a major issue, and we pay for Weight Watchers and have a free fitness center available to associates. And I don’t allow junk food at meetings. No chocolate cake. No Danish.”

Rosen says his health care policies are not only good business but also the right thing to do. Asked about the Affordable Care Act, he responded:

The president and I are philosophically on the same page. We both believe in our hearts that everyone in the United States should have health care. But I disagree emphatically with how he is going about it. Employers must provide health care. The government can help subsidize the little companies.

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Happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for all of our readers, and wish you and those dear to you all the best.

Related CME seminar (up to 29.75 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): UCSF Radiology Review: CLINICAL HIGHLIGHTS

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