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Examiner
  • School district's Employee Health Clinic opens

  • Already known for innovative programs, the Independence School District is once again breaking the mold by becoming one of only a handful of school districts in the nation to open its own health clinic.

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  • Already known for innovative programs, the Independence School District is once again breaking the mold by becoming one of only a handful of school districts in the nation to open its own health clinic.
    “This is an exciting day for the Independence School District,” said Superintendent Jim Hinson during a grand opening Monday for the Employee Health Clinic. “We are elated for our employees and their families. Not only is this going to provide an ease of access to healthcare, but there are many other ancillary benefits as well for the school district.”
    The Employee Health Clinic, located on the south side of the Ennovation Center, will be open to all employees and their families who use the district’s health insurance plans. Much like a general practitioner’s office, employees will be able to schedule appointments for physicals and check-ups as well as visit the clinic for non-emergency needs such as colds, the flu or other illnesses. There will be no co-pay, and unlike an urgen-care clinic or doctor’s office, the clinic’s hours will allow employees to more easily schedule appointments before or after the school day.
    “I am very excited about being able to access healthcare through a clinic like this,” said Wendy Kline, a student services coordinator at Van Horn High School. “It is five minutes away from where I work, so you can’t get much more convenient than that. It is just another way that the district is servicing the whole employee.”
    With the opening of the clinic, Independence will be the only district between Houston and Terre Haute, Ind., to offer a health clinic to its employees. The district spent about $370,000 from its fund balances to renovate the space, which was used as a storage area when the building was Independence Regional Health Center. The clinic has five exam rooms, a laboratory, meeting room and physical therapy room. There will also be one part-time and one full-time nurse practitioner at the clinic as well as a medical office assistant and a care coordinator. The coordinator will be in charge of providing referrals to employees and offering other health and wellness information. The clinic is operated and managed by Healthstat Inc., and staff will begin seeing patients today.
    “We are estimating that the district will save about $1 million annually with this health clinic,” Hinson said. “If employees go to an urgent-care center or Minute Clinic, then our health insurance would be paying that cost. With the health clinic, we will no longer have that cost. We are also interested in looking how this will affect employee absenteeism. Less time off for doctor’s appointments means we would save with our substitute costs as well.”
    Deputy Superintendent Dale Herl said he believes this is the direction other school districts and companies will be going in the future. He said the district received a number of inquiries from other districts in the Kansas City area as well as across the region about what is involved in creating an employee health clinic.
    Page 2 of 2 - “As we look at the rising cost of health insurance, this kind of service only makes sense for districts and other companies,” he said. “Before we decided to go in this direction, we sent out a lot of surveys to our employees. More than 92 percent said they would use this kind of facility. Employees can come in before they go to work and get their health needs taken care of. It really is a win-win for everybody.”
     

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