In just one year since its grand opening, the Catoosa County Employee Health Clinic has paid for itself, in terms of operational costs.
When county officials christened the clinic on Boynton Drive last October, they announced that it would cost $300,000 to run the facility each year.
Now, at the one-year mark, cost breaks have enabled the county to save a sum equal to those dollars, which newly appointed County Manager Alicia Vaughn said is "almost unheard of."
With Catoosa's insurance provider, UnitedHealthcare, raising its rates this year, the county's $5 million premium was set to be increased by 6 percent, resulting in an annual increase of approximately $300,000, Vaughn explained. Due to county employees' heavy use of the clinic, however, the county was able to provide documentation to the insurance provider that resulted in a discount equivalent to $300,000.
Over the past year, the clinic, which offers free health care for the county's 500 employees and their families, has seen a total of 1,598 office visits, with 980 prescriptions dispensed during that time, records show.
In addition to saving money, the clinic has also been very proactive in regards to early detection, officials reported.
Since its 2017 opening, the clinic has been able to diagnose conditions such as cancer, hypertension, prediabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease before they became serious.
"I think it's an amazing benefit for the employees, and I just want to thank the commissioners for having the insight to create the clinic," Vaughn said.
Vaughn also pointed out that every dollar spent for the clinic has gone toward benefiting county employees.
"When we spend a dollar on health insurance outside of the county, the insurance company gets a profit off of that, so we lose about 25 cents for every dollar that we spend," she explained. "So even though we saved $300,000 on the insurance, it's really more like $375,000 due to that."
Email Myron Madden at email@example.com.