Alexandria Manufacturer Puts Employee Health Care In Its Own Hands

The goals of opening a company clinic: Lowering healthcare costs, attracting new employees.

In their ongoing struggle to find and keep employees, rural Minnesota manufacturers are assembling new kinds of perks. One such company is taking a creative approach to its benefits package: It’s opening its own clinic.

This summer, Alexandria Industries, located in the central Minnesota city of the same name, will open its Family Health & Wellness Clinic for employees and their families. It’s not only a distinctive benefit—the company also hopes to lower the burden of its healthcare costs.

Alexandria Industries has been converting part of a strip shopping mall into a $300,000 employee health clinic within a couple of blocks of its manufacturing facility. In creating its own clinic, Alexandria Industries is collaborating with its insurance broker and Achieve Wellness, a Altoona, Wisconsin-based third-party workplace health and wellness provider. The new clinic will provide basic health care, comprehensive wellness services, occupational health services, immunizations and flu shots. Staff will include a full-time and on-call licensed nurse practitioners or physician assistants, along with administrative support personnel.

Alexandria Industries is a short lead-time producer of engineered and precision-machined ferrous and nonferrous products, specializing in custom aluminum extrusions. It supplies its products to a wide variety of customers, including manufacturers in the medical device, marine and recreation, solar and firearms industries.

Those products have been in high demand. Last year, Alexandria Industries’ business grew 20 percent. It now has 600 permanent employees and 50 temporary employees across facilities located in Alexandria, Indianapolis and Carrollton, Texas. It added 100 to its ranks last year and 69 so far in 2016. Currently, 430 permanent employees work in Alexandria.

But about of a quarter of its employees are approaching retirement age. Along with its small-city location, Alexandria Industries has competed hard to find good hires. Providing a good health insurance plan is an essential weapon in the battle for employees.

But the costs of providing it continue to rise. Since Alexandria Industries is self-insured, the company hopes its new clinic will help it better control those costs. The savings it hopes to gain on physical care, medical supplies, common prescription medications and test kits will be passed on to employees. Alexandria Industries also believes that the clinic will appeal to current employees and potential hires thanks to its convenient location, as well as more personalized care.

“With the ever-rising cost of doing business, we are continuously searching for creative ways to control these costs,” a company spokesperson says. “We believe the new clinic will give us a competitive advantage for employee recruitment and retention.”