County health clinic gets $411K infusion
by Nikki Wiley
September 25, 2013 12:11 AM | 1579 views | 2 2 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The anticipated February opening of a health clinic for county employees is moving forward after the Cobb Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to spend $411,000 to build it.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Healthstat Inc. will construct the clinic in a 4,200-square foot vacant space at the south end of the county-owned Powder Springs Station, off of Powder Springs Street near Sandtown Road.

The clinic will neighbor the county’s government center where a variety of services, like vehicle tags and titles, are offered.

The board agreed in late August to spend $1.2 million a year for Healthstat to manage the clinic. The $411,000 cost of renovating the clinic is in addition to the cost to manage it.

Funding for the clinic comes from savings the county has seen in its health claims. The county government spent $40.6 million on direct health care service in fiscal 2012. The county’s health plan, as of last fall, covered 3,844 employees, 1,016 retirees and about 6,200 dependents.

County employees along with their children or other dependents will be able to visit the clinic without being charged a co-pay.

Cobb Chairman Tim Lee says the cost to operate an independent clinic will be less than what it costs the county when employees with health insurance visit another doctor or emergency room.

Lee said because the county is self-insured, every dollar it saves on health care costs is a dollar the taxpayer saves.

It is expected to save the county about $1 million in the first year.

“It’s going to be a viable option that’s less expensive for (employees),” Lee said.

The clinic will be staffed with one doctor and two nurse practitioners along with clinical support staff. Four exam rooms, a laboratory, pharmacy and space for minimal procedures will be contained in the clinic.

The city of Marietta agreed in 2010 to fund a clinic for its 695 employees and their dependents. The city pays $34,000 each month to Tennessee-based CareHere to operate the clinic.

Commissioner Helen Goreham said Marietta’s employee clinic has been successful and she hopes that Cobb will follow the city’s lead.

“I believe it’s going to create significant savings,” Goreham said.

She also expects productivity will increase. Employees will have a more convenient and readily available option for health care and that can lessen time lost on the job, Goreham said.

Comments
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Lib in Cobb
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September 25, 2013
Sounds like The Affordable Care Act. Wait, Cobb is run by the purest of the GOP, this can't be.
anonymous
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September 25, 2013
It doesn't replace existing insurance. Its just a supplement that save them by avoiding payouts for emergency room visits; missing work to go dr. ect... These wellness initiatives also allow the county to get cheaper rates for insurance plans from Kaiser and BCBS
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