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Cary Company Makes It Easier For Workers To Stay Healthy

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CARY, N.C. — A Cary company with a reputation for being very worker-friendly is now making health care more conveinent.

SAS started free on-site health care for employees 21 years ago. The company had one room and a nurse practitioner. Now, 58 staff members see 150 patients a day. The company and employees say it is a benefit that really pays off.

SAS employee Jodi Bulmer spends more time at work than many moms because her children are always nearby at the SAS company day care. If any of them needs to see a doctor, the new SAS Health Care Center is just as close.

"I think for the first two or three weeks of both children's lives, we were here almost every other day," she said.

Primary medical care for employees and their families is free. The SAS Health Plan allows them to see outside providers with co-pays, but 65 percent of employees get their primary care at the facility.

SAS officials said most companies spend money for health care whether they realize it.

"Do you want to spend it on programs that keep people at work or do you want to spend it on trying to advertise for people and hire people and train people?" said Gail Adcock, director of SAS Health Services.

Adcock said the company saved $2 million last year over what it would have paid outside health providers. They figure they saved just about as much in employee time saved.

"Well, employee time that's not spent sitting in somebody's office or exam room is employee time spent doing the work of SAS," she said.

No one knows how much money is saved when regular health screening identifies employees at risk of heart problems or diabetes. A company gym helps keep Bob Sites healthy.

"For me as an employee, that's a big part of why I've been here 21 years and don't forsee leaving," he said.

"The convenience is huge. It really does make a difference," Bulmer said.

The SAS Company Health Plan is a model for many companies around the country. Most companies cannot afford to provide the same benefits.


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