From Hampton Daily Press

Jan. 5, 2015

By Jennifer L. Williams

HAMPTON — Word is spreading that a new medical resource is available for Hampton City Schools employees.

Staff reported to the School Board that the Employee Health and Wellness Center had already saved the school district $73,762 through October, though it was only open two weeks in September. That figure is compared to what visits to the emergency room, primary care doctor or urgent care center would have cost insurance.

When the center was being considered, officials said it could potentially save the school district $2.5 million in health-care and insurance costs over the next three years.

The addition of a pharmacy is planned for 2015, with a projected opening in April.

Schools officials have touted the benefits of their own health center as an employee benefit that provides quality, affordable health care that is easily accessible. It’s expected to reduce the need for HCS employees to visit the emergency room, urgent care facilities and doctors’ offices as often, which cuts insurance costs, said HCS staffers Robbin Ruth and Suzy Scott during a Dec. 3 presentation to the School Board.

Over the summer, Hampton City Schools (HCS) workers renovated the building at 2238 Todds Lane and it opened in mid-September. The approximate cost for the renovations was $100,000, according to Tom Sawyer, HCS director of school operations and maintenance.

Schools officials are still trying to get the word out that the center is open, and are encouraging employees to use it, officials said. The center is open to all full-time and job-share employees of HCS, and insurance-covered dependents ages 6 and older will be able to use the center starting in the first quarter of 2015.

Services at the center include care for common illnesses, health screenings, laboratory tests, coaching for personal health issues or concerns, and chronic condition education and coaching, according to Marathon Health, which manages it for the school district.

The center is staffed by two family nurse practitioners providing primary care, a nurse and a medical assistant. It’s open during the day Monday through Thursday, as well as Friday and Saturday mornings.

Well visits are free, and acute condition visits are either free or require a $20 co-payment depending on insurance coverage.

Health coaching in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, smoking cessation, stress management and weight loss is available to try to prevent more serious medical problems.

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