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Healthcare partnership could save WCS $1M a year

Healthcare partnership could save WCS $1M a year

By: JESSICA PACE

New and cheaper healthcare options may be in the future for Williamson County Schools employees.

In last Thursday’s school board work session, representatives from on-site healthcare providers CareHere LLC explained a system that would cut copays and prescription costs among others, and reduce teachers’ time out of the classroom.

In last Thursday’s school board work session, representatives from on-site healthcare providers CareHere LLC explained a system that would cut copays and prescription costs among others, and reduce teachers’ time out of the classroom.

Based in Brentwood, CareHere runs 159 facilities in 21 states.

President Ernie Clevenger told the board of education the business model is patient-centered and would increase patient-doctor time.

“If you have a 9 o’clock appointment, our goal is to get you in at 9 and out by 9:20. The vast majority of people are seen within two minutes of their appointment time. Morale is a nice byproduct we find stress is reduced. The national average time with the doctor is eight minutes. In these appointments, since there are three per hour, it doubles time,” Clevenger said.

“Employees get no copay and no deductible when they visit. We ask that it’s free, because sometimes a copay as low as $5 can keep someone from going to the doctor.”

Other Tennessee counties like Sumner and Wilson have a similar system in place. In some cases, clinics are onsite and use old classroom space.

Clinics would operate before and after school hours for teachers to reduce time away from the classroom.

The new system would save WCS an estimated $1 million in employee healthcare costs, factoring in productivity increase.

Superintendent of Schools Mike Looney made a recommendation to the board.

“I’ve talked to WCEA. They have a keen interest in having us move forward. With the changes in the insurance program we have, the idea of no copay, deductible or prescription, and still save county money is very appealing,” Looney said.

“If you want to pilot it, we could potentially have employees go to the Brentwood clinic and not open our own up to see how that went first,” Looney told the board. “There is no upfront cost to us unless we establish [clinics] in our existing buildings.” he told the board.

“We’re directing people to the Brentwood clinic for those who want to go. If that goes well, in the next budget year, we could provide something for the southern part of the county, and ultimately get to four to six across the county.”

WCS would cover rent and utilities, while CareHere would manage healthcare professionals.

Staffing would be a 50/50 mix of MDs and nurse practitioners in addition to nurses.

Jessica Pace covers Williamson County, Williamson County Schools and the Town of Nolensville for BrentWord Communications. Contact her at jess@brentwoodhomepage.com or follow her on Twitter @Jess_Marie_Pace.

 

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