District mulls idea of on-site clinic

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Faculty and staff could use it for free
The school board heard at length Monday about the possibility of having an on-site clinic for school employees, and possibly their dependents, to use free of cost.

The board had talked briefly about the idea before, and some said that it was something they would like to continue to study to see if it would benefit both employees and health care costs.

Lori Volz

Lori Volz

The comments came after district advisers and officials from HealthPartners made a presentation.

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The district’s Director of Finance and Operations Lori Volz spoke to board members about a site visit she made to the on-site clinic at Minneapolis Public Schools.

“They did offer it to all staff regardless of whether they were on the district’s health care or not,” Volz said. “Some were very, very appreciative of that.”

Advisers at the meeting said that they had helped five districts in Minnesota set up on-site clinics, and those were school districts in Minneapolis, North St. Paul, St. Cloud, Stillwater and Red Wing. The clinic would not have full primary care and would not be able to treat any special illnesses or ailments.

An on-site clinic would treat simple, chronic conditions like high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes. The idea is that if employees had easy access to free testing or lab procedures that they would be more likely to do so. Then, ideally, they would work to be healthier, which would then lower the district’s health care costs if there were fewer large insurance claims.

The school board will continue discussions on the possible clinic as several questions still remain. Among others, some were: How to fund the initial setup of the clinic? Where would the clinic be located? Would enough employees use the clinic to make it viable?

The CEO of Alliance Benefit Group, Brad Arends, who consults for the school district, was present at Monday’s meeting and recommended the district consider letting dependents use the clinic if it does get built.