Q&A: Providing care to your own employees

December 19, 2008

What risks are involved in private physician offices providing care to their own employees? Is this a good idea for either the doctor or employee?

Q: What risks are involved in private physician offices providing care to their own employees? Is this a good idea for either the doctor or employee?

A: Workers should have a primary care provider other than their employer. Giving care is fine for flu shots or throat cultures, but anything beyond that creates too many complications. For example, if an employee receives a medical exam that requires disrobing, it can be awkward for both parties. Also, obtaining the employee's medical history may create situations that cause the employer to view the employee differently. Say an employee feels depressed because of problems with his or her spouse and discusses it as part of the exam. Now the employer knows too much about the employee's home life and may allow the employee more leeway for poor performance or absenteeism. This can create problems with other workers.