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Minn. Company Hires Physician’s Assistant For Workers

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Gordy Leach Gordy Leach
Gordy Leach graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1974 wi...
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WHITE BEAR LAKE (WCCO) — Remember the school nurse’s office when you were a kid? Some employers are trying a similar approach to help control health care costs.

Wilson Tool is a company with about 500 workers in White Bear Lake. They have found that having a Physician Assistant on site five days a week has helped people — and profits.

Wilson Tool makes things out of steel, so worker safety is always a concern. But about three years ago, Wilson added an in-house clinic to its wellness program.

A physician assistant is available to help with a variety of medical issues within walking distance of where the employees are working.

“We average about anywhere from 10 to 12 people a day, we dispense medications, we do some lab work,” said Physician Assistant Karen Lesetmoe. “We manage a lot of people with their blood pressure, their cholesterol, we have some with diabetes.”

Having the clinic on site means workers spend less time commuting to doctor’s offices elsewhere. Employee’s spouses and kids — older than 18 months — are also welcome at the clinic.

“Whether they come in before work, after work or even during work, we’re able to coordinate schedules. There’s a lot more flexibility for the health care that we are able to provide,” said Chris Lawless with Wilson Tool.

The clinic is such a success that health insurance costs here have remained virtually flat for three years, versus double-digit yearly increases before the clinic. Wilson also has other healthy touches like fruit baskets in the lunchrooms and a wellness coach on site.

“Wellness challenges, small group courses. I do one-on-one counseling with people. Just a variety of things so culturally we’re always providing wellness opportunities for employees and their families,” said Wellness Coach Alison Jacobs.

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