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New clinic could save city over $100,000

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A clinic opening in Greenwood’s new city building is expected to save more than $100,000 per year in health care costs — if enough employees and their families use it.

The clinic, which opens today in City Center, is staffed by a doctor and other workers from Franciscan St. Francis Health as part of a partnership between the city and hospital group.

The city will spend less money on health care in a year if at least 22 people a week use the clinic. The city has agreed on set prices for the clinic of $3,000 per month to St. Francis for managing the clinic and an additional $106,000 per year to staff it, plus $20,000 for supplies, lab costs and generic prescriptions, human resources director Marilyn Allen said. Employees and their families get free doctor visits, generic prescriptions and lab testing. Currently, 230 full-time city employees and 400 of their family members use the city’s health insurance and can go to the clinic, Allen said.

The clinic will eliminate varying physician fees, co-payments and more expensive brand-name medicines.

The city’s health insurance is self-funded, which means Greenwood pays employee health insurance claims regardless of where covered workers and dependents choose to get blood drawn or go for an annual physical, she said. After paying about $166,000 to run the clinic, the city expects to save $120,000 to $130,000 per year, she said.

Employees also won’t have to take time away from work to drive to the doctor or pick up a prescription. The city estimates the time savings is worth about $16,000 annually in employee productivity, she said.

“We will incur a large savings in it for the taxpayer,” Mayor Mark Myers said.

Employees aren’t required to use the clinic. But since a doctor visit, basic laboratory testing and generic prescriptions are all free, that should be enough incentive for them to use the clinic, Allen said. Part-time employees and elected officials who aren’t eligible for health insurance, such as city council and other board members, will not be able to use the clinic.

The clinic also will have a health coach, who will be there to help employees improve their long-term health by suggesting diet, exercise and medication changes to help with chronic illnesses, she said.

That preventive care should reduce emergency room visits and improve employees’ overall health, she said.

Greenwood has discussed offering a health care clinic to employees for the past two years but needed first to study data on what the costs and savings would be. Plus, the city needed to finish renovating the new city hall to house its offices and the clinic, Allen said. The clinic will be open three days a week for a total of 16 hours and will have a doctor, nurse practitioner, nurse, medical assistant, health coach and receptionist.

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