AUSTIN — A new health care center is opening its doors in Austin this month to care for 4,700 Hormel Foods employees and their dependents covered by their health plans.

Janet Hogan, senior vice president of human resources, says the new 4,500-square-foot clinic is expected to open and start seeing patients at 1906 8th St. NW on June 30. It's located in the commercial center, east of Walmart, near El Patron Mexican Grill & Bar and Great Clips.

"This addition is a testament to our commitment to ensuring our team members have easy access to high-quality healthcare," Hogan said in an announcement.

Hormel is contracting with Tennessee-based Premise Health, “a direct healthcare company” that works with corporations to provide care for employees, to staff and manage the “nearsite” clinic.

Premise operates more than 600 similar centers throughout the United States and Guam for companies like Quicken Loans, Goldman Sachs Group and others.

While the opening comes as the coronavirus is hitting Hormel’s workforce, Hogan said the launch of this center was not driven by the pandemic.

The Premise Health wellness center in Austin is a new 4,500-square foot clinic is conveniently located in the strip mall east of Walmart. (Contributed photo)
The Premise Health wellness center in Austin is a new 4,500-square foot clinic is conveniently located in the strip mall east of Walmart. (Contributed photo)

“We have been working on a nearsite clinic concept for quite some time. We finalized our plans late last summer and began the startup process for the clinic shortly thereafter,” she said.

The new clinic will offer a variety of health care services, including primary care, physical therapy, condition management, lab services and “limited pre-packaged pharmacy services.”

Premise says it will be staffed by a physician, a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse, a physical therapist, two medical assistants and a medical receptionist. The center will serve approximately 4,700 eligible individuals on the company's health plans, including team members, their dependents ages 2 and older, and retirees under age 65.

“There is no co-pay for our team members enrolled in our traditional healthcare plan,” Hogan said. “For our team members enrolled in our Healthy Savings plan (our high-deductible health care plan), there is a minimal co-pay, as required by federal guidelines.”

When asked about COVID-19 testing, Hormel officials said that testing will not be offered at the clinic.

“The center’s focus is to provide increased access to health care and provide enhanced coaching and monitoring of chronic conditions,” Hogan said

The Premise Health wellness center in Austin is a new 4,500-square foot clinic is conveniently located in the strip mall east of Walmart. (Contributed photo)
The Premise Health wellness center in Austin is a new 4,500-square foot clinic is conveniently located in the strip mall east of Walmart. (Contributed photo)

COVID-19 testing is already offered to employees through a collaboration of Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Quality Pork Processors, Mower County Public Health and Hormel.

While this clinic is not directly related to Mayo Clinic, Hogan said Mayo Clinic “introduced” Premise Health to Hormel.

In 2019, Premise started working with Mayo Clinic to offer “a Center of Excellence model via the Mayo Clinic Complex Care Program” at all of its sites. Hormel employees with high-risk diagnoses can be referred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester through that program.

"The nearsite health center, combined with access to services provided by Mayo Clinic Health System such as community-based specialists, surgeries and procedures, and emergency-room care, promotes the overall health and wellbeing of their teams,” Premise President Jami Doucette said in the announcement.

Mayo Clinic Health System’s Austin complex recently underwent an $11.2 million expansion and remodeling of its surgical departments and its birth center. The expansion was part of a shift to consolidate services previously offered at Mayo Clinic’s Albert Lea campus.