DILLON, S.C. – Jim Perdue, Perdue Farms chairman, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley joined Perdue employees and community leaders to celebrate the opening Jan. 25 of an innovative Wellness Center that the company said will give Perdue employees and their family members convenient access to affordable primary care.

A $700,000 capital investment by Perdue Farms in the health and wellness of Perdue employees and their families, the Wellness Center offers primary care through a fully equipped, onsite clinic staffed by healthcare providers from the community. The newly constructed stand-alone facility at Perdue's Dillon facility replaces a smaller facility inside the plant that served employees only. The new Wellness Center extends Wellness Center access to dependents enrolled in Perdue's healthcare coverage.

The Dillon Wellness Center is one of 15 at the company's major facilities. Perdue's Wellness Centers offer primary care, women's health services, occupational health services, pediatric care and onsite laboratory draws. "For our associates and their covered dependents, the Wellness Center becomes their family doctor," said Roger Merrill, M.D., Perdue's Chief Medical Officer. "That's because the Wellness Center is a doctor's office – it just happens to be located where our associates work."

The on-site Wellness Centers overcome two of the biggest obstacles to obtaining health primary health care, according to Dr. Merrill: accessibility and affordability. Employees can make appointments to see a health care provider at the Wellness Center without taking time off from work and while still getting paid for the time.

For employees and dependents covered by Perdue's insurance, the cost to visit the Wellness Center is only a $15 co-pay. Employees not covered by Perdue's insurance can visit the Wellness Center for $30 per visit.

The Wellness Center is part of Perdue's comprehensive health and wellness program, which emphasizes primary care and control of risk factors and manageable diseases. The program includes the Perdue Health Improvement Program (HIP), a voluntary workplace health promotion program. HIP received national recognition as a C. Everett Koop Health Award winner and was honored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with a Secretary's Innovation in Prevention Award. Perdue also offers discounted health insurance to employees who voluntarily participate in HIP, see a primary care provider on a regular basis and agree to take an active role in managing their risk factors.

In other news, Perdue, through the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, has presented a $15,000 grant to the Mid-Delmarva Family YMCA to help fund scholarships for students and families who want access to the facility and its programs, but who otherwise cannot afford the costs.