School health clinic saving district money

Nine-hundred people have signed up to participate in a new School District 51 employee health clinic that already is saving the district money.

The clinic, which is a program, not a building, started March 1. The school district has a contract with Community Hospital to provide basic medical services to District 51 employees and family members enrolled in the school district’s health insurance plan. District employees can sign up to participate in the clinic model and receive health care services through Community Hospital-affiliated doctors and Grand Valley Urgent Care Center, or choose not to sign up for the clinic and continue to get care through their current physicians.

The district’s medical insurance fund spent $26,750 on services provided through the clinic in March. Those services would have cost employees $44,765 to receive elsewhere, according to District 51 Executive Director of Support Services Melissa Callahan DeVita.

Employees who have insurance through the district currently pay out of pocket for the first $5,950 of medical services they receive in a year.

They pay nothing to use the clinic, which provides basic services such as throat cultures and prescriptions for generic medications.

In February when the School Board approved the clinic contract, the district wanted to start a free clinic in order to encourage employees to seek medical care more frequently before small issues turned into large ones, DeVita said. The district spent 19 percent more on insurance claims last year compared with the previous year, due in part to an increase in large medical claims for serious health issues.

Two-hundred-fifty-seven people used the clinic in its first month. If that pace continues, the clinic will have a little more than 3,000 visits in its first year.

“We have had many comments from employees saying they appreciate the clinic,” DeVita told School Board members during a presentation about the clinic’s progress at a board meeting Tuesday evening.


COMMENTS

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A huge thank you to Ms. DeVita for convincing the board, as well as anyone else involved, in making a decision that is good for the District and its employees.  Congrats to the employees for for not taking for granted what the program can do for them with less visits yet seeking medical advice for issues that could turn into larger ones.  KUDOS!

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