Fort Bend County to save $3.7 Mil
By Elsa Maxey
How would you like to work within walking distance of a medical clinic that’s there to serve you? For many Fort Bend County employees that is now the case with the opening of the county’s Employee Medical Clinic that has been operating for almost two weeks after its launch on January 30. The new center on 301 Jackson next to the Travis building is run by Concentra, a leading health care company with a presence in 40 states, and it conveniently provides the county’s workforce, their dependents and retirees with primary, preventive and wellness services.
“By establishing an on-site health care clinic that is centralized and geared toward providing comprehensive medical services, we hope to positively affect the overall wellness and productivity of our workforce,” said Judge Bob Hebert.
Fort Bend’s Director of Finance and Investments Pamela Gubbels states that eligible users receive clinical services at no cost to them under the county’s new health insurance plan offering. What’s more, there’s a list of “formulary” generic pharmaceuticals that can also be filled free, if the prescription is written at the clinic. For the employees that are not plan participants, they will still be able to use the clinic in accordance with a fee schedule.
At the 5,000 square foot space center, there are examination rooms, a nurse’s intake station, and collection lab. In addition to primary, urgent, preventive, wellness care, even health risk assessments and health screenings are done there. The center is staffed with an overseeing physician, a physician’s assistant, and two medical assistants.
With counties and other operational entities facing rising health care costs and what some say are diminishing levels of coverage, Fort Bend County is considered to be part of an innovative health care program aimed at improving the health and well being of its employees. Concentra officials indicate that this trend is a driving force behind the need for improved health care systems in the nation.
The numbers crunched by the county indicate that in the long run, the cost savings with the health care clinic services on their premises will be substantial over what has been previously spent with the traditional health insurance plan models. Fort Bend County reports that the majority cost of the first year investment is for the build-out and that the county will begin to realize a savings in the second year and break even in five years. On the basis of conservative utilization projections, over a 10-year period, Fort Bend County anticipates a savings of over $3.7 million.