Elkhart economic recovery improving health of occupational medicine

As the local economy improves, there is a greater need for occupational medicine.

Posted on June 14, 2014 at 2:58 a.m.

As the Elkhart area economy continues to pick up steam, the need for occupational medicine is growing.

More people need pre-employment drug screens and physicals, and more workers are becoming injured on the job.

That reality is driving growth locally at Valencia, Calif.-based U.S. HealthWorks, a provider of occupational and urgent health care. The company, now operating about 200 clinics nationally, including sites in Elkhart, Goshen and Warsaw, has announced plans to move from its current Goshen location at 2766 College Ave. to space in a nearby strip mall at 2014 Lincolnway East, said area sales manager Kurt Schumann.

The company will renovate and occupy about 8,600 square feet of vacant space in the plaza, which will more than double its room. It has operated in the existing Goshen site since 2009, a time when the recession had ground hiring in the area nearly to a halt.

"There’s a better economy, employers are hiring, there’s a growing need for service and an increase in injuries overall,“ Schumann said. 

In addition to more space, the new building will allow for more efficient utilization.

"We have a very open concept and it’s very small,” Schumann said. “Everybody’s walking into each other because it’s so tight. There’s very little privacy. It meets all the codes but it’s just too tight.”

Schumann said U.S. HealthWorks approaches workplace injuries like a sports medicine or “case compression” model. It’s a “step-by-step approach ... to get people back to work quickly.”

He said the industry is “very competitive” locally. 

In March, Elkhart General Hospital, already a 23-percent shareholder in Community Occupational Medicine, announced it was buying 100 percent of the physician-owned company. COM has two Elkhart locations, one in Goshen, and opened a fourth site in Middlebury in March.


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