Local News

Wake considers free health clinic for county employees

Posted April 11, 2013

 

In a move to save on health care costs, Wake County Commissioners are mulling opening two free health clinics for employees.

Staff is recommending the county open two employee health clinics where employees could receive free routine exams and checkups instead of visiting their doctor.

The two potential locations are the fourteenth floor of the Wake County office building and a to-be-determined office near the county's Swinburne and Sunnybrook offices. Between the two, the clinics would be open 40 hours a week during normal business hours. The offices would be staffed by a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant and a nurse. A physician would also be available for health consultations.

 

Employees who go to the clinic during working hours wouldn’t have to use personal time, which county staff said would increase productivity.

The clinic would offer standard services, such as routine blood work, help managing an existing medical condition or help for those who are sick.

Deputy County Manager Johnna Rogers told the Record that since the county is self-insured, it pays for all of the claims made by its employees and their dependents.

When a county employee sees his or her family doctor, Blue Cross Blue Shield handles and pays for the claim. The county then reimburses Blue Cross Blue Shield for the cost.

Last year, county employees and their dependents made about 48,000 doctor visits.

An on-site clinic will save money, Rogers said, because the cost would be less than what a regular family doctor would charge. The county would also save in the long term because employees would be able to manage chronic conditions, which eventually lead to increased health care costs.

A three-year contract with Marathon, the company that could potentially operate and staff the clinics, would cost the county about $1.3 million throughout the contract term. That fixed cost would include everything needed for the facility, including supplies and salaries.

The county would also pay $40,000 to upfit both locations.

Rogers said because the county expects to see a savings as employees opt to use the clinic, no additional funding is needed.

At the Commissioners’ work session Monday, Commissioner Paul Coble questioned how many employees would actually use the clinic. According to a survey done by the county, 85 percent of the respondents said they would use the clinic, but that was only one-third of the total number of employees already enrolled in the county health plan. He said many people don’t want to do business with their employer for fear that their employer will start collecting personal medical data.

Rogers said that just like with Blue Cross Blue Shield, the county will get aggregate data from Marathon, but nothing specific to a particular employee. All potential vendors told county staff that the first year is often slow, but participation increases as the program continues.

Commissioners will vote on the Marathon contract at their next meeting April 15.

51 Comments

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  • superman Apr 12, 3:37 p.m.

    No one is going to travel across the county so they can save the "county" money. Their staff seems to be very small and they couldnt handle patients. Been better to work out a plan with CVS and their mini clinic. Where do they park if they go to the clinic downtown? I am going to continue to do just what I have been doing. Their plan wont work.

  • jason19 Apr 11, 7:14 p.m.

    Do some of you folks not know how to read? Yes, it's not "free" to taxpayers, but by being free to county employees, it will REDUCE the amount of taxpayer dollars required. What do you not understand about this? This is a GOOD thing for taxpayers, not bad.

    Oh, and by the way: this is what everyone was trying to tell you about free healthcare for the entire nation. No, it's not really free, but the amount of money it takes to run the system costs substantially less per capita.

  • mep Apr 11, 6:10 p.m.

    $1.3 million dollars is not "free".... taxpayers end up with that bill.

  • southraleighbro Apr 11, 5:43 p.m.

    what in the world, the county want to cut funding for everything else,then here you got want to offer free health clinic routinee visit for county employeee, smfh what is the problem with north carolina? it like everyone saying makes no sense whatsoever

  • whatelseisnew Apr 11, 5:26 p.m.

    "The capitalist system is a method of wealth accretion based largely on prior accretion -the more you have, the more you can make."

    Nonsense. I had NO prior accretion, millions of people in this country start from that point, and many new arrivals come here starting from that point. Millions of people are able to secure at least a reasonable standard of living and for many a very high standard of living. Capitalism and freedom from government intrusion made that happen in our history. Now, government is a massive barrier at all levels, from local up to the Feds. health care as an example, is high cost precisely because of Government intrusion. It used to be cheap and even someone that made little money, could pay their doctors and hospitals, without insurance. Government is the destructor of wealth unless you have an inside track.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 11, 5:21 p.m.

    "JohnDrescher, the US is slowly joining the rest of the industrialized world."

    Yep, growing the poverty and growing the unemployment rate. I really can not understand why so many people want Government to have complete control over their access to something like health care. That is simply INSANE.

  • goldenosprey Apr 11, 4:41 p.m.

    JohnDrescher, the US is slowly joining the rest of the industrialized world. If you don't like it, Somalia has plenty of space and beautiful beaches waiting for you.

    Delta's ready.

  • goldenosprey Apr 11, 4:38 p.m.

    "...capitalism at its roots is just a way for the "haves" to maintain that status at the expense of the underpaid labor of the "have nots..."

    "Remember too, that without government you own nothing..."

    These words are absolutely true. The capitalist system is a method of wealth accretion based largely on prior accretion -the more you have, the more you can make. That is why the MORE market based a system is, the more income disparity. That is why France has greater economic mobility than the US.

    Without government, you may possess something, until someone takes it from you, but ownership is a legal concept. Laws only come from governments.

  • my2cents-justsaying Apr 11, 4:31 p.m.

    LOL at some of these posts...after bashing the libs ( so clearly they are conservative) they state "some of us believe that there is a limited place for responsive government in our lives. We don't believe we should simply be slave to big Brother, and look to DC to tell us how to live.

    Yeah...right...except when it comes to gay marriage or abortion?

    Im with you drjones74...too easy....

  • this is fdup Apr 11, 4:15 p.m.

    There are a lot of Wake Co. employees and they plan only two locations? If your family doctor is in say Wake Forest ,Apex, Fuqay ect why would you want to go downtown when your sick?

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