The Washington County Employee Health Clinic is getting high marks for improving the health outcomes of county employees, as well as saving money for the county’s taxpayers.

A recent report from CareHere, a Brentwood-based health company that Washington County contracts with to operate the clinic for employees and their eligible family members enrolled in its self-insured health plan, noted the facility’s operations have helped the county to avoid $664,186 in health care costs “compared to the local market.”

Ben Baker, the co-founder and chief operating officer of CareHere, wrote in a letter to Washington County officials in December that county employees have “avoided out-of-pocket expenses at an average of $489.48, which is the highest employee savings we have seen among clinics in their second year of operation.”

He also reported that 98 percent of patients rated services at the Washington County health clinic as “excellent.” That is among the highest satisfaction ratings CareHere has seen at the more than 200 clinics it manages nationwide.

“Simply stated, Washington County is a shining star among all CareHere clients across the country,” Baker said

Washington County Commissioner Gary McAllister said the employee health center has “been embraced” by both county employees and his colleagues.

“Our goal has been to save money, and to make sure we have healthier employees,” McAllister, who chairs the county’s Employee Compensation and Benefits Committee, said this week.

He said both goals are being met at the health clinic, which provides most of the services delivered in a family care physician’s office.

“This is one of the best benefits we’ve brought to the county,” Michelle Stewart, Washington County’s human resources and benefits coordinator, said Wednesday. “It saves the health plan money, and the employees save on co-payments. It’s working for us.”

The county paid $377,652 to operate the employee health clinic in 2018.

The clinic is now in its third year of operation at 301 N. Cherokee St., Jonesborough, which is within walking distance of the county’s George P. Jaynes Justice Center. Officials say the location is easily accessible to county employees and their dependents.

Stewart said the clinic treated 669 patients between October 2017 and September 2018. She said those numbers continue to grow as the clinic now operates 30 hours a week.

Records show at least 95.7 percent of county employees have visited the clinic at least once during the 2018 calendar year. Stewart said those visits, along with health care assessments, have helped to identify employees with significant health risks.

CareHere said 89 percent of the county’s employees participated in the clinic’s last annual Health Risk Assessment, with 241 new patients with “at-risk conditions” identified.

Of the county employees identified with health risks in the first year of the clinic’s operation, 83.13 percent saw their scores hold steady or improve in the latest risk assessments.

Publisher: Johnson City Press

Written by: Robert Houk • January 31, 2019 •  [email protected]

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