City’s health clinic a positive step for its employees

Published 6:28 pm Saturday, July 30, 2016


n an era of ever increasing medical costs, the city of Vicksburg is taking a progressive step to try and curb the price of providing health care for its employees with the decision to start an in-house clinic.

The incentive, as City Attorney Nancy Thomas explained Monday, is the city’s average of $4 million annual health insurance claims. Vicksburg’s health insurance program is self-insured. That means the city absorbs all the costs associated with its program. It doesn’t have the benefit of sharing those costs with other cities like it would if it were in a pool-type program where several cities or companies participate.

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The program will cost the city $37,000 a month. However, if after the first six months there are no savings in medical costs, the city will not have to pay until savings are shown, meaning the city pays for the program with the money it will save by having the clinic.

Employees will pay nothing to visit the clinic and be seen by the nurse practitioner on duty, and can go there at their convenience, cutting time away from work because they won’t have to wait in a doctor’s office or hospital emergency room.

But the city wants to do more than save money. It wants a wellness program aimed at healthier employees with a prevention program providing employees and their families a vehicle for better overall health care.

“The benefit is the clinic will work with community physicians,” Thomas said. “Whoever the physician is for that person, or if they don’t have a physician, get them in touch with a physician to address their medical needs, and by doing that, we can avoid a chronic illness that would result in a hospital stay and cost thousands of dollars.”

“There are some advantages we can have with a personalized health management for our employees,” South Ward Aldermen Willis Thompson said. “I do believe when you’re looking at spending $4 million in health care costs and we have an opportunity to reduce those costs and at the same time produce a healthier work force, I’m willing to give it a try.”

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen should be commended for its desire to have a healthier work force and for trying to save taxpayers’ money, because in the end, the city’s insurance costs affect all of us.