Lead and Learn
Phillip Blair, Human Resources Director
July 11, 2023
About Gamber-Johnson LLC
Founded in 1954, Gamber-Johnson is headquartered in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, with just under 325 employees worldwide. Recently recognized as "Wisconsin's Manufacturer of the Year," Gamber-Johnson manufactures mobile and professional audiovisual mounting solutions trusted to be "Rugged, Reliable, and Responsive." Gamber-Johnson's products are used in public safety, military, enterprise, material handling, logistics, and professional audiovisual industries. In partnership with technology companies like Dell, Getac, Panasonic, Samsung, and Zebra, Gamber-Johnson is one of the nation’s leading rugged mounting manufacturers. From docking stations to police equipment, our robust product line helps ensure mobile forces stay safely and securely connected to technology.
At Gamber-Johnson LLC, we recognize that being a great employer extends far beyond providing a paycheck. To successfully achieve our mission of being a Destination Employer, we must fully support each team member, their families, and the communities we call home. In support of this, Gamber-Johnson launched its healthcare and wellness program in 2020, setting out to create an environment where its employees and their families had reliable, high-quality, and affordable access to vital health and wellness resources. This work has helped Gamber-Johnson become independently recognized as a "Great Place to Work" since 2021 (2021, 2022, 2023) and achieved the 21st spot on the top 100 Healthiest Places to Work in the United States in 2022.
Healthcare Strategy & Use of Independent Direct Primary Care
Employee benefits typically rank in the top three or five expenses for all employers, and employment-based insurance is the most common means of healthcare coverage within the United States. Couple this with the fact that employer contributions towards employee health insurance have increased approximately fifty percent over the last ten years, a rate three times faster than inflation; it is why healthcare strategy should be a top organizational priority for all. Unfortunately, for many employers, the complexity of healthcare, sensitivity, and lack of internal resources means they have taken a back seat to their healthcare strategy, giving way to exponentially increasing costs and dissatisfied employees.
At Gamber-Johnson, we set out to change how we look at our healthcare offerings, transforming our healthcare expenditure from a sunk cost to an opportunity cost. We recognized that if we took an active role in managing our healthcare plan and started to fulfill our fiduciary responsibility as a self-funded employer, we could control our expenses and enhance our overall benefits offering and employee satisfaction.
We achieved this goal by deploying our strategy to proactively Manage our healthcare plan and expenditure. What is proactive management? At Gamber-Johnson, we define Proactive Management as being directly involved in developing, structuring, and purchasing our healthcare offerings and partners. We quickly realized we could create win-win healthcare solutions for team members, their families, and the organization through mutually beneficial partnerships centered around positive healthcare outcomes, high-quality care, affordability, easy access, and transparency.
At the center of our strategy is an independent direct primary care clinic. Direct Primary Care (DPC) is an alternative payment model improving access to high-functioning healthcare with a simple, flat, affordable membership fee and transparent pricing. In partnership with Anovia Health, the Gamber-Johnson Family Clinic (onsite and near site) opened its doors in October of 2021, providing an affordable (typically free), high-quality, and easy-to-access means for employees and their families to get the primary and urgent care they need.
Upon launching the Gamber-Johnson Family Clinic, we set out to eliminate all healthcare barriers our team members and their families faced. This meant FREE (or low cost) access to all clinic services, continued pay during onsite visits (no need to clock out), same/next day appointments guaranteed, and no restricted time with the provider. We quickly transitioned from an organization whose employees were often disengaged in their healthcare journey to an organization with greater than 90% of medical plan participants being up to date with preventive medical requirements (annual physicals, biometrics, age-and-gender-specific screenings).
As of today, 93% of Gamber-Johnson employees are actively engaged with the Gamber-Johnson Family Clinic or another near-site clinic partner. This level of engagement has allowed us to create a clear picture of the overall health of our organization, generating actionable data to help drive future strategy and initiatives. We have successfully identified gaps in care and critical healthcare resource needs by analyzing our biometric data, medical and prescription claims, chronic conditions reports, and other critical reports from health analytic partners like Springbuk. This, in turn, has led to a continuously evolving robust network of Preferred Providers (The “Gamber-Johnson Network”) who help us proactively manage our population's health by providing high-quality, affordable, and easy-to-access care. Gamber-Johnson's Preferred Providers are healthcare partners spanning multiple care specialties (physical therapy, advanced imaging, orthopedics, general surgery, etc.) who meet Gamber-Johnson's quality, cost, accessibility, and transparency standards. Preferred Providers' expenses are typically 30 to 60 percent less than their alternatives.
The management of our Preferred Providers is done in partnership and consultation with our independent clinic partners (DPCs), who help our valued team members and their families navigate to the best possible care. Having a genuinely independent clinic partner is key, as it allows our provider teams to refer to the best overall care without the potential conflicts of needing to refer to a specific hospital system or provider group. Without the strong primary care relationships created by our clinic partners, we would not be able to achieve the level of success we have in enhancing the health of our employee population while also controlling costs. Whether it is directing an MRI to one of our preferred providers (Preferred Provider Cost $500 vs. Traditional Cost $3,000-$5,000) or helping to find a more affordable medication, the Primary Care relationship is essential in being the gatekeeper to our Preferred Providers and their high-quality, affordable care offerings.
At the onset of our healthcare journey, Gamber-Johnson committed to reinvesting the healthcare savings we achieved back into the business and our employees. With the help of our exceptional employees, who have been champion supporters of our initiatives, we have saved over $275,000 since 2022, based on our conservative estimates. These savings have been used to fund benefits such as FREE Netflix or Hulu, charitable contribution match, dependent care reimbursement ($5,000), first-time homebuyer program, and many more. All of this has led to a substantial increase in our employees' satisfaction with our benefits offering, with our most recent employee survey indicating over 90% of employees are satisfied or extremely satisfied with their benefits.
In 2020 Gamber-Johnson set out to reimagine how we deliver healthcare and wellness. Frustrated with increasing costs and decreasing quality, we knew there had to be a better way. Today, we are incredibly proud of what our team has accomplished and our work's impact on the lives of our employees and their families. We know this is just the beginning, and we look forward to continuing to challenge the status quo of what can and should be done to provide our employees with the healthcare and wellness they deserve!
Table 1: The Steps to Gamber-Johnson's Healthcare Strategy
Table 2: Gamber-Johnson Estimated Medical Savings