Quad/Graphics’ Successful QuadMed Health Care Program

It goes without saying that innovation has helped to propel Quad/Graphics, headquartered in Sussex, Wis., to the No. 2 spot on the Printing Impressions 400 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian printing companies. Quad’s dedication to technical innovation is second to none. In its unique approach to providing workplace health care, the company leads not only its own industry, but offers a model for the U.S. manufacturing sector as a whole.

This is the legacy of QuadMed, first envisioned by Quad/Graphics founder Harry V. Quadracci in 1990. A year later, he opened the first of what is today a network of 100 on-site clinics in 22 states serving more than 350,000 employees and family members — everyone who works for Quad/Graphics, as well as employees of companies including General Mills, Dow Chemical, Huntington Ingalls and Miller Coors.

Joel Quadracci, the current chairman, president and CEO of Quad/Graphics, explains that QuadMed is a self-insured health care program that situates primary care, preventative care and occupational health and wellness services in the workplace, where employees can access them most readily. In the clinics, doctors and other health care professionals spend ample time getting to know their patients and giving them the resources they need to take better care of themselves.

The clinics also serve as alternatives to emergency rooms when something goes wrong with an insured member: “If you’re sick, we’ll treat that, too,” Quadracci says.

He notes that the emphasis is on prevention and wellness because the sicker people become, the more expensive it is to care for them. Paying for part of their coverage, employees in the QuadMed network stay well by consulting “fully engaged primary care physicians” who supplement their care with laboratory testing, dentistry, OB-GYN assistance and other services within the confines of the clinics. Managing health care in this way, Quadracci reveals, is what keeps QuadMed’s per-person cost of coverage 10% to 40% lower than the national average.

A concentration of about 700 employees and their family members is needed to establish a QuadMed on-site clinic; companies employing fewer people can share facilities. School districts and local governments in places where QuadMed operates also have come under its umbrella. “The more people you have, the more services you can bring to bear,” Quadracci says.

He wants QuadMed to keep on growing because he’s convinced that corporations must be part of the solution for delivering high-quality, affordable health care. He adds that the ever-tightening labor market in which the printing industry operates compels printing employers to offer competitive health care coverage to people they want to attract and retain.

In an op-ed piece that appeared recently in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Quadracci wrote, “The success of Quad/Graphics’ health care story began with the … assumption that a healthier workforce would result in lower health care costs, and happier employees would result in greater productivity.”

It has worked out largely that way for QuadMed and the many thousands of people the program covers. Against the backdrop of the nation’s ongoing struggle to provide health care coverage to everyone who needs it, Harry V. Quadracci’s compassionate initiative seems more innovative and relevant than ever.

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