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Health clinic open to city employees Monday

Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 6:50 PM
Last updated Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 1:23 PM
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More than 1,400 city employees and their families will have the option to use a free health clinic when Augusta Health and Wellness Center opens Monday.

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Augusta's new in-house health clinic will cost the city about $550,000 a year to operate, but is projected to save $1 million in claims.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Augusta's new in-house health clinic will cost the city about $550,000 a year to operate, but is projected to save $1 million in claims.

The clinic, in a city building at 711 Fourth St. behind the Richmond County jail, provides employees and dependents 14 and older a place to go for health screenings, physicals and urgent care, all while employees are on the clock, said Monica Eden­field, a family nurse practitioner who runs the center.

The Augusta Commission voted last year at the urging of its health insurance consultant to set up an on-site clinic at a cost of $550,000 as a way to save up to $1 million annually in insurance claims.

The clinic saves the city by ensuring that employees are referred to the appropriate medical specialists and by screening them for risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Eden­field said all employees who visit the clinic will be given a health assessment and score, based on risk factors. Those with higher scores will be expected to return more frequently.

Edenfield, a Miami native, came to Augusta by way of graduate school at Georgia Southern University and Metter, Ga., and said she was excited to reunite permanently with her husband, a Department of Defense employee at Fort Gordon.

“I love wellness and prevention,” she said, adding that employees can look forward to the city’s version of The Biggest Loser.

ABOUT THE CLINIC

WHAT: Augusta Health and Wellness Center, 711 Fourth St.

HOURS: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays

WHO’S COVERED: City employees and dependents, age 14 and up

CONTACT: (706) 723-6015

Comments (13) Add comment
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triscuit
3152
Points
triscuit 01/11/13 - 10:49 pm
8
3
We are paying people to sit

We are paying people to sit in a doctors office and paying their care?????

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 01/12/13 - 08:34 am
6
1
Oh, To Be A Government Employee...........

Isn't it wonderful how the government takes care of their own? And what is even better, they can be seen even while they are on the time clock!! Something not right about this picture..............

seenitB4
90598
Points
seenitB4 01/12/13 - 09:36 am
3
1
Wait a minute guys

This could be a good thing...save $$$ on health care....some use the dang emergency room for everything...that is costly...

Save time off from work....I think I see where they are going with this plan.

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 01/12/13 - 10:14 am
1
0
A page from the Wally World playbook.....
Unpublished

Working for low wages and eligible for entitlements. Will someone at the AC please write a book on "How to Kill a Georgia County". Or, how designed government mismanagement can make some rich.

Next ARC will give them all county cars to drive. Wait, a lot of them already have these vehicles. This is inequality in county benefits.

The Detroit of the South. Moving On. Moving On.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 01/12/13 - 10:20 am
0
0
Government employees always
Unpublished

Government employees always get cheaper and easier access to health care. I'm sure this measure will, in the long run save the county and/or health insurance provider money, and it surely makes sense, however it's a shame the carriers don't see the same money saving effort as doable privately. Indeed, its going in the opposite direction.

Little Lamb
46813
Points
Little Lamb 01/12/13 - 11:14 am
3
0
Projection

The caption under the picture said:

Augusta's new in-house health clinic will cost the city about $550,000 a year to operate, but is projected to save $1 million in claims.

I hope some intrepid Chronicle reporter investigates and publishes a story eighteen months from now tallying up the actual costs and the actual claim experience. These governmental projections are notoriously wrong.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3100
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 01/12/13 - 11:33 am
1
0
Way to go Monica!!!

Congratulations Monica!

County employees will be in excellent hands. Monica worked for many years in Metter as my cousins, Dr. Gary Branch's NP, and he was devastated to lose her. I know she is very capable and well trained.

I'm so glad things are working out for you and your husband. Congrats again.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 01/12/13 - 12:33 pm
3
1
Saves on insurance claims but

Saves on insurance claims but costs the city and taxpayers by paying them while they aren't working.

dichotomy
34305
Points
dichotomy 01/12/13 - 01:32 pm
5
0
Whoaaaaa here........if they

Whoaaaaa here........if they are at the clinic for ANYTHING medical related it should be SICK LEAVE off of their time cards. They way this sounds an employee could make a paid career out of sitting in the medical clinic. Who's stupid policy policy is this?

Any other person working a REAL job has just so much sick leave and WHEN THAT RUNS OUT you are sitting in the doctor's office on UNPAID time.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 01/12/13 - 01:59 pm
4
0
dichotomy asks

'Who's stupid policy is this?'
'The Augusta Commission voted last year at the urging of its health insurance consultant to set up an on-site clinic...'
I'm just wondering how much they paid their consultant to come up with this grand idea.

dichotomy
34305
Points
dichotomy 01/12/13 - 02:41 pm
3
0
Don't get me wrong. I do not

Don't get me wrong. I do not begrudge municipal employees a good medical benefit. But when you are in the clinic, you are not working. And when you are not working you are either off duty, on vacation, or on SICK LEAVE.

itsanotherday1
45244
Points
itsanotherday1 01/12/13 - 02:44 pm
1
2
Healthier workers

I'm with Seenit on this; it might just not be so bad after all is said and done.
As far as someone taking advantage, excessive absenteeism for any reason is cause for disciplinary action.
What this does is encourage people to go sooner rather than later to get checked out. If it saves just a handful of people from serious complications from an otherwise undiagnosed disease, it has paid for itself in $$ costs as well as human cost.
A healthy workforce is a more productive workforce.

allhans
23992
Points
allhans 01/12/13 - 02:59 pm
2
0
Only city employees? And

Only city employees? And this is okay?

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 01/12/13 - 03:14 pm
2
0
I think health care is

I think health care is important too. But I don't think anyone should sit in a clinic while being paid (unless they are using sick leave). Let's add the cost of the employees pay during this time and see if we get the same figures. It's beneficial to have healthy employees, yes. The insurance company saves, but the tax payers and the community that is served absorb the cost in the long run.

jackrussell
219
Points
jackrussell 01/13/13 - 12:33 am
3
0
Why not run it as after hours

Why not run it as after hours and weekends instead. Let employees go before or after work. I guess that would make too much sense.

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