City of Vicksburg: In-house clinic saves $1 million in health costs

Published 10:16 am Tuesday, July 11, 2023

The City of Vicksburg saved $1 million in health care costs in 2022 through its free in-house clinic, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said Monday.

He said Vigilant Health, which operates the clinic, credited the savings to a decrease in medical claims cost, hospital stays and a reduction in hospital emergency room costs.

Flaggs said at Monday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen he visited the clinic’s new location on Mission 66 and encouraged city employees to use the facility “because as you go, we can be able to control those high-cost health care issues that we have.”

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He said the report from Vigilant indicated the following:

• Currently, 81 percent of city employees and 66 percent of the employees and dependents participate in the Vigilant program and use the city’s Vigilant Clinic.

• The hospitalization rate for the city’s health plan has decreased by 65 percent since the Vigilant Clinic opened in 2016 from 99.4 hospital admissions per 1,000 employees in 2015 compared to 34.8 in 2022.

• The emergency room use rate for the city health plan has decreased by 40 percent since the beginning of the project from 377.9 ER visits per 1,000 in 2015 compared to 224.9 in 2022.

“This is the highest cost, ER,” Flaggs said. “We had one city employee who went to the emergency room 21 times for asthma. These are controllable things; these are things that if managed right, we can control them.”

• Paid medical claims per member for the city health plan have decreased by 41 percent since the beginning of the project from $4,226 per person in 2015 compared to $2,476 per person in 2022.

• After all program costs, this is a reduction in annual paid medical claims of more than $1 million compared to 2015 and the beginning of the project.

“Outcomes in diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol control are excellent and continue to improve from year to year, reflecting important improvements in the underlying health of the city’s employees and dependents that correspond to the overall savings in health plan costs,” according to the report.

“We are on our way; we’ve got a great program,” Flaggs said. “I think we are to be commended for making a decision to start having our own in-house medical service. The way it is now, you (an employee) or dependent can stop off on their way to work and have your health care needs met.”

The city approved establishing an in-house clinic in July 2016. Vigilant opened the clinic on Nov. 1 at 1 Medical Plaza across from Promise Hospital and one year later announced the city saved more than $600,000 in medical costs.

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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