As an addition to the School Board of Escambia County’s organizational meeting that will be held one week from today, on November 22, 2011, a presentation on the recently completed Health Clinic Feasibility Study will be given to the board.
In November of 2010, this item was discussed by members of the board; however there seemed to be no really strong support for this concept at that time. The matter was set aside, referred to the benefits committee.
Fast forward one year, with health costs skyrocketing, premiums soaring, and more and more out-of-pocket costs being foisted on district employees—and the timing seems ripe for the district to establish a clinic for employees, dependents, and eligible retirees as a mechanism for controlling costs to our self-funded health insurance plan.
The feasibility study does not definitively recommend the establishment of a clinic, but rather discusses the potential savings and costs associated with starting up a clinic.
The upside is that lower paid employees could utilize such a clinic and save on out of pocket co-pays and some drug costs. Currently there are some employees who forego doctor’s visits because of the costs, which could lead to more expensive treatments down the line for these persons.
The district health trust fund saves if utilization by employees grows and employees with chronic conditions utilize the facility.
To be successful, the district must market this clinic as a convenient and less expensive alternative to seeing one’s primary care physician for minor or routine visits.
Also, the district must choose the clinic location wisely and be prepared to sustain some initial start up costs for the first several years.
I’m hopeful that my fellow board members will carefully consider this concept as a benefit to the employees and a cost saving, long-term employee wellness vehicle for our workforce.