Lexington County Council grants proposal for on-site medical clinic
Lexington County Council approved a slate of purchases at their August meeting Tuesday ranging from flame-resistant uniforms for county firefighters to new dump trucks for the Public Works Department. Most importantly, the council voted to move forward with plans for an on-site medical clinic by granting a request for proposal.
As County Administrator Joe Mergo explained, the establishment of a medical clinic for employees is largely in response to the coming changes to the healthcare landscape.
“I’m really happy that council looked at the Healthcare Reform Act (or Affordable Care Act) as an opportunity for staff to look into ways of doing things a little bit better than we’ve done them in the past, particularly looking forward and thinking of how the Act is going to impact our employees and our citizens financially,” Mergo said.
By approving the RFP from Marathon Health, the county now will enter into a contract with the third party to bring care right where employees are working daily. Expenses are estimated at $640,000 a year (plus a 1-time fee of $88,000 to get started). Employees’ health insurance funds will be used so the costs won’t be have to be taken from the overall county revenue. The contract is expected to include a performance guarantee for the county to ensure the proper level of service is provided
“We feel extremely good about not only the cost savings that employees will see but that our citizens will see,” Mergo added. “At the same time, it will improve the quality of healthcare our folks will get.”
Through the partnership with Marathon Health, a Vermont-based worksite healthcare provider, a physician and staff will be on hand to deliver primary care, prevention, disease management, wellness programs and more. A pharmacy featuring generic prescriptions as a second aspect of the plan.
“Our employees … will be able to see a doctor and get good, quality care but at a much lower reduced rate than the county would be paying out,” Mergo said.
Mergo added that the exact location of the clinic hasn’t been decided yet but that it will be housed in an existing county facility. Employees’ spouses and children who are on the county’s plan would also be eligible to receive care.
Anticipated start date for the contract and medical services is the first quarter of 2014.
According to the RFP document, the county presently covers approximately 2,035 employees and dependents under a group medical plan.
In other business:
County council began a new tradition Tuesday by recognizing members from each of the state championship teams from the 2012-2013 school year. Student athletes from Lexington High School varsity baseball, LHS girls golf, LHS wrestling, Pelion High School track and field, White Knoll High School wrestling, Airport High School JROTC, Brooklyn-Cayce High School wrestling, Batesburg-Leesville High School track and field, Chapin High School varsity cheer, Dutch Fork High School girls basketball, Irmo High School varsity boys basketball and IHS varsity boys soccer were all congratulated by council and county staff.
Lt. Kevin Blackmon, of the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, was announced as the Employee of the Second Quarter for his commitment to organizing the Christmas toy and food drives. John Thivierge and Daniel Sadowski, both of the Public Safety/EMS division, were the other nominees.
Beginning September 4, the entrance and exit to the Ball Park Road Collection and Recycling Center will be reversed to improve traffic flow.