I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, December 12, 2014

District's Employee Health Clinic: Financial Performance on a 1-10 Scale a "10 +"

A few years back the School District's self insured health plan took significant hits due to the exponential rise in costs related to the provision of health benefits to employees.

At one point, we were losing $175,000 monthly because costs were rising, and we could not bargain plan changes quickly enough to ameliorate the losses.

To make matters worse at that time, we could not even discuss the issue in the public because it was being "bargained" with our union and everyone was terrified we would get hammered with a ULP if the real, behind the scenes story of how we were hemorrhaging  cash (and the real reason why) was ever leaked to the press....The thought was that it would potentially paint the union in a bad light....

Fast forward a year.

So after we got through that mess, the Affordable Care Act was ram-rodded through and our costs again began to escalate geometrically.

As a method of addressing these cost increases, discussions began among board members about creating a district health clinic to reduce costs.  Other school districts, cities, and counties throughout the country were doing this with great success.

In 2011 we voted to start one locally.  In 2013, the clinic opened.

At today's board workshop, we discussed the clinic's finances now that we have more than a year's worth of financial data.  And we are being asked to renew the second option year at a cost of $1.4 Million dollars.  Because that is so much money, I asked our risk management director to give us his opinion on the clinic's performance.

(full disclosure--I love the clinic concept... I use it, as does my family.  with 3 kids that all play sports, I save $120 on co=pays on physicals alone-never mind the fact that the clinic has very flexible and convenient hours...)

According to Kevin Windham, ECSD risk management director, within 6 months of opening, the clinic had recouped the investment in opening it when "hard" and "soft" costs were considered.

At 1 year, the clinic was in the black just looking at "hard" costs.  The soft cost savings were gravy.

The clinic is proving to be a HUGE hit for the lower paid employees, and it is also enhancing our district's wellness initiatives.

I asked Kevin Windham   "How would you rate the economic performance of our clinic on a 1 to 10 scale?"

His reply was resounding......"A 10+!"

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