Tyson Foods announced Thursday (Sept. 3) plans to open seven health clinics with Marathon Health to be located near its meat processing plants.
The clinics will give Tyson Foods employees and their families easier access to high-quality healthcare and, in most cases, at no cost, the company said in a news release.
One of the first clinics will be in Storm Lake, Iowa, where the company operates two plants and employs more than 3,300 people. A clinic will also be established at the company’s Holcomb, Kan., plant that employs more than 3,000 people. Locations of the other clinics will be disclosed soon.
Tyson Foods said the targeted date for opening the clinics is in the first half of 2021. The seven clinics will serve nearly 38,000 employees and their families. Spouses and dependents age 2 and older who are covered by the Tyson Foods insurance plan will be eligible. The clinics will be designed to serve a diverse workforce, providing communications in multiple languages.
The clinics will provide primary and preventive care, including health screenings, lifestyle coaching and health education, as well as behavioral health counseling. They will also collaborate with plant community health providers, including primary care physicians and specialists, to ensure appropriate care is delivered, the company said.
The pilot clinic project represents the expansion of Tyson Foods’ We Care workplace safety program to include overall team member health and wellness. It is an addition to the company’s existing health services staff, which includes on-site occupational health nurses at most plant locations.
“We’re piloting these clinics to promote a culture of health in our company that results in a healthier workforce,” said Johanna Söderström, executive vice president and chief human resources officer for Tyson Foods. “Some of our frontline team members aren’t using their health plan benefits, and others don’t seek care until there’s a crisis. We want to change that by providing access to care that can help detect health conditions early and promote healthy habits.”
Tyson Foods plants across some areas of the country have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted the company to step up its health efforts in recent months. Tyson Foods recently created a chief medical officer position and plans to add almost 200 nurses and administrative support personnel to supplement the more than 400 people who are part of the company’s health services team. The new chief medical officer will lead the company’s strategy for occupational health and team member wellness.
“These investments in employee healthcare, in collaboration with local providers, are critically important to rural communities across the country,” said Maggie Elehwany of the National Rural Health Association. “We look forward to working with Tyson Foods and other public and private partners to ensure the health and wellbeing of rural America’s families.”
Tyson Foods said the clinic services are in addition to the benefits already offered to employees such as affordable health, life, dental, vision and prescription drug benefits. The company required all regular, full-time employees who have completed 59 days of employment to have healthcare coverage either through Tyson Foods or through a family member’s plan. Tyson Foods said it is committed to ensuring all of employees are covered by healthcare insurance.
Jerry Ford, CEO of Marathon Health said his firm is excited to work with Tyson Foods on the endeavor.
“We offer care that often looks beyond the symptoms and helps people take new actions around their own health. We are excited to see the profound changes in the lives of the people we will serve at the Tyson health centers,” Ford said.