District considers clinic contract with Community Hospital
School District 51 and Community Hospital are a final contract and School Board approval away from a partnership that would create an employee clinic for people insured through the district.
The district, which is self-insured, decided to explore an employee clinic after medical insurance claim costs for the nearly 3,200 people the district insures increased 19 percent last school year compared to the prior school year. At the same time, the number of visits people insured through the district made to physicians’ offices declined 30.6 percent.
District 51 Executive Director of Support Services Melissa Callahan DeVita said the district requested proposals for employee clinic scenarios from health care providers this fall to see if there was a way to make it more affordable for people to visit the doctor. She told the School Board during a presentation Tuesday night she suspects employees are seeking medical attention less frequently because the district increased premiums and deductibles this year to help cover the increased cost of claims.
If that pattern continues, DeVita said, she worries premiums and deductibles will only increase more to pay for higher claims as people end up with more expensive treatments because they didn’t seek medical attention before a medical condition became serious. That may turn into a vicious cycle of higher costs for the district and employees, she said, which is why the district is considering an agreement with Community Hospital that would allow those insured through the district to visit Community Hospital-related providers for a co-pay of $25 for office visits and free annual health risk assessments, lab work for common conditions and procedures, and prescriptions for common generic drugs.
School Board member Jeff Leany said he is concerned the low cost of the program may lead to some people over-using the system and costing the district more. District 51 Risk Manager Sheila Naski said that is a possibility, but the district will track numbers and find ways to limit abuse.
School Board President Greg Mikolai said the board can cancel the clinic agreement if the district finds there is an abuse of the clinic system.
Board members also re-adopted the 2011-12 budget at Tuesday’s meeting. The budget was adjusted to include $228,973 less revenue for the general fund because the district was down 320 students this October compared to October 2010, a decline of 120 more students than originally projected by the district. The state funding formula assigns general fund funding to Colorado school districts based largely on the number of students in a district.