Recreational vehicle manufacturer, Airstream, was founded after camping enthusiast Wally Byam was approached by interested neighbors asking him to build camping trailers for them like the handcrafted one in his front yard. He rented a building and opened a small factory in Culver City, California in 1931, and Airstream was born. After surviving the Great Depression and World War II, Airstream grew into the American icon that it is today, producing travel trailers and touring coaches for campers across the globe.
In 2018, to match the unrelenting demand for its recreational vehicles, Airstream opened a new 750,000-square-foot headquarters in Jackson Center, Ohio. The new facility was expansive and provided ample space for 1,300 employees to manufacture Airstream trailers, but also somewhat removed from the medical facilities required to look after its employees in the event of a sudden illness or workplace injury. With the closest occupational health facility almost 30 minutes away, the company was losing time and money due to lengthy doctor visits. Airstream safety manager, Larry Roberts, assembled an emergency response team to deal with any urgent needs but realized the potential benefits of providing an on-site clinic for routine tests and check-ups, in addition to enhanced injury treatment. During the planning phase, Larry’s medical director suggested the idea of working with Harness Health Partners to help plan, build and staff Airstream’s on-site health center.
In partnership with Harness, Airstream constructed a three-room on-site clinic, staffed by a full-time nurse practitioner and certified medical assistant, as well as a part-time CMA, who provide occupational and family care, free of charge to employees on the Airstream medical plan. The staff can administer first aid in the event of a workplace injury, conduct OSHA-mandated drug screenings and hearing tests, but also offer the routine physicals and wellness exams normally provided by a family doctor. Occupational health and safety is also improved, as medical staff can physically witness the working conditions and advise Airstream employees on safe practices to avoid injury.
The reduction in healthcare expenses and lost time were immediate. The savings Airstream experienced from having the health center surpassed its initial investment in the program in as little as 12 months. These savings continue to grow exponentially, as more and more employees utilize Airstream’s health care center. Since it was opened in August 2020, estimated cost savings on employees’ doctor visits per month has doubled in size.
In addition to lowering costs and saving time, Airstream has leveraged its on-campus clinic as a powerful recruitment tool to attract new employees, making it a centerpiece of recruiting events. New hires receive a physical fitness test and drug screen on-site after they are offered a position. In February 2021, Airstream opened up its on-site health center to employees’ families, further elevating the company as an employer of choice in a region already brimming with automotive plants offering alternative employment options for talented workers. Since returning back to full capacity, post-pandemic, in late July, the on-site health center has helped Airstream recruit over 500 new associates.