BMW Manufacturing Co. has a new prescription for success: a healthy workforce.
The automaker celebrated the opening of its $5 million Associate Family Health Center Tuesday at 415 Brockman-McClimon Road near its Spartanburg County facility
Originally announced in August 2011, the 25,000-square-foot center will provide state-of-the-art health, dental, vision and physical therapy services to full-time BMW associates, eligible retirees and their dependents.
"BMW Group is the number one luxury automaker in the world," said Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing Co. "We recently learned that our U.S. sales were their best ever in 2012, and plant Spartanburg was a big part of that success. Our associates deserve premium health care."
The center is operated by Illinois-based Take Care Health Systems, a division of Walgreens Co., and will employ up to 60 health professionals by the end of 2013. An existing on-site pharmacy will be relocated to the upscale facility, which features 18 exam rooms, an infusion therapy suite, vision center, dental office, physical therapy room and other amenities under one roof.
The company said the center will treat patients age 2 and older. By the end of the first year, BMW hopes to open the facility to its contingency workers.
Use of the facility is optional, Kerscher said. But the center was conceived seven years ago with the intention of managing health care costs and increasing productivity of its workforce. It is also a way for the company to retain its talent.
"We hope everyone will take advantage of this facility," Kerscher said.
Annmarie Higgins, vice president of human resources for BMW Manufacturing Co., said the company's goal in opening the facility was to provide value, quality and convenience for the local plant's more than 7,000 employees.
"This will have a positive impact on the quality of life of our associates," said Higgins. "Healthier and more active associates are more productive and creative. ... Not only will this improve the quality of life, but lives will be saved."
She said the center will focus on educating workers about their health, teaching them how to prevent health problems and detecting illnesses early.
"We want to do a lot more than treat people when they are sick," said Peter Hotz, president of Take Care Health Systems. "At this center, we want to make sure BMW associates and their families have the best care. We know that a positive experience here will help them lead healthier lives."
A handful of Germany-based BMW Group executives arrived in Spartanburg County on Tuesday to tout the success of the plant and share their enthusiasm for the Family Associate Wellness Center.
Frank-Peter Arndt, member of the board of management for BMW Group, said the company's goal is not just to build successful operations, but to fulfill its "social commitment" to bolstering the health and wellness of those it employs.
"We have been writing our own success story in Spartanburg for 20 years," Arndt said. "The dedication and passion of our associates has earned us a great deal of trust from our customers, partners and the general public. ... The success of our companies lies in the health of our associates."
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