The city’s Employee Health and Wellness Center is helping employees prevent medical problems by losing weight, improving their diets and making regular visits to a doctor — behaviors that save city taxpayers money on health care.
The city council chose Tennessee-based CareHere! to operate the clinic, which opened in April 2011 in a converted community meeting room at fire station No. 3, as the city staff searched for ways to reduce the rising cost of health insurance claims by city employees and their dependent family members.
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PALM BEACH GARDENS’ EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND WELLNESS CENTER
Origin: The city opened its Employee Health and Wellness Center in April 2011 to address rising health-care costs.
Provider: Tennessee-based CareHere!, which operates 28 other employee clinics for government agencies in Florida.
Staff: A doctor, a nurse and a medical assistant are available at the clinic four days a week. Employees and their families also have access to a variety of health coaches, including nutritionists, behavioral health coaches, dietitians, exercise coaches and tobacco-cessation coaches.
How it works: Employees make appointments by phone or online and visit the clinic at fire station No. 3 on Northlake Boulevard. Each appointment is for 20 minutes. Generic drugs are available free to employees and their families.
Employee screening: The clinic staff collects samples for drug tests and performs physical exams used in pre-employment screening.
Results: Hospital admissions by city employees, their spouses and dependents dropped 20 percent during the first two years the clinic was in operation. Annual medical insurance claims dropped by $150 per employee between 2010 and 2013. Insurance claims for prescription drugs have dropped 9.9 percent since the clinic opened.
Prevention: The clinic works to educate employees and their family members about healthy food choices, the dangers of smoking, the benefits of exercise and managing stress.