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Clinic proving to be good medicine for city’s budget

The cost of employee health care for the city of Vicksburg has dropped by about $977,810 between 2015 and 2018, according to a report from Vigilant Health, which operates the city’s in-house clinic for employees and their families.

The report released June 20 indicated employees and their families using the clinic reduced the city’s costs for their health care from $4.999 million in 2015 to $4.022 million in 2018. In 2017, the city’s health care costs totaled $3.814 million.

According to information from Vigilant Health, 38 percent of the people on the city’s health care plan are using the in-house clinic — 52 percent of that group are city employees.

“They (the employees) use it heavily,” Vigilant Health spokeswoman Robyn Pollock said. “The average is 4.1 visits per member.”

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen authorized the clinic, which opened in 2016, to reduce the cost of health care by providing an in-house clinic for employees to visit as a way of reducing claims to the city’s self-insured health care program. The clinic is located off North Frontage Road at 1 Medical Plaza.

One major asset of the clinic, city attorney Nancy Thomas said, is the diagnosis and treatment program for chronic diseases.

“That means people are getting treated for chronic diseases, and that also cuts down on costs,” she said.

The clinic program has also reduced employee emergency room visits by 10 percent since 2015, according to the Vigilant report.

“In my opinion, this clinic has been very successful,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “It has done everything I thought it would do. It has increased the utilization for our employees, it is reducing the ER visits, and at the same time it is reducing the cost of us providing insurance.

“I’ve checked all the boxes, and it looks like it’s met all our greatest needs. In this day and time, if you can control and reduce the growth of health care costs, you’re absolutely going in the right direction.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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