Steamboat School Board to weigh health clinic proposal

Contract would open clinic before next school year

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Past Event

Steamboat Springs School Board meeting

  • Monday, April 2, 2012, 5:30 p.m.
  • George P. Sauer Human Services Center, 325 Seventh St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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— The Steamboat Springs School Board on Monday night is scheduled to vote on a proposal to open a health and wellness clinic in the George P. Sauer Human Services Center for district employees before the start of next school year.

The vote was scheduled to take place at a budget workshop last week, but the contract was not finalized before that meeting.

The school district now has negotiated a contract with Healthstat Inc., a company based in Charlotte, N.C., that would set up and manage a small health and wellness clinic staffed by a physician’s assistant and available to insured district employees and their dependents.

If the School Board approves the contract, the district then would work to convert 300 square feet of space currently used as a janitorial storage room in its administration building into a clinic with exam rooms and a waiting area.

The district estimates it will have to pay Healthstat $264,000 to start up the clinic. Officials are hoping the new facility will help to reduce the $225,000 the district has budgeted for health insurance cost increases next school year. The district has not yet estimated how much it will cost to convert the janitorial storage area into the clinic.

Superintendent Brad Meeks said last month that the physician’s assistant in the clinic would be able to administer strep tests, draw blood, take a patient’s biometrics and prescribe about 40 common prescription drugs, among other things.

School district officials said the clinic ultimately will help to lower their health insurance premiums that have risen in recent years by lowering the number of claims its employees file on their insurance plan.

Community budget workshops

The School Board will reconvene Tuesday night and host the first of two public forums about the district’s budget for the 2012-13 school year.

The forum specifically will offer the public a chance to discuss the draft budgets for the district’s technology department, Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools, Steamboat Springs Middle School, the district’s administrators and School Board.

On April 9, the district will host the second public forum to discuss the budgets of its athletic, transportation, maintenance and teaching and learning departments and Steamboat Springs High School and the Yampa Valley High School.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Clay Ogden 2 years ago

Part 1: Being a school district Superintendent is a tough job with huge financial and political pressures that affect our most precious resource … our children. Our school district, like most nationwide, faces an essentially fixed and finite revenue mechanism and that often seems to ignore dynamic expenses … like health insurance costs. It seems to me that Dr. Meeks and our school board are in a great hurry to push through district sponsored Health Clinic and I am concerned that this concept, which may actually be a grand idea, just isn’t fully fleshed out.
Here are my concerns: • The district is in the final phases of budget planning and those plans include a worst case scenario of a 4% decline in funding. I own a business and understand risk, but it seems odd to dip into reserves to fund risky project at a time when you are worried about a 4% decline in revenue. It’s pretty large bet with taxpayer money on a project that hasn’t endured much tax payer scrutiny even with guaranteed partial reimbursement if the 1:1 ROI isn’t met. • Rocky Mountain Health Plans should be able to produce claims reports and it would be interesting to know where the reimbursements track … oncology and cancer care, maternity, orthopedics, primary and preventative care, etc.. Dr. Meeks is quoted as saying “If we can get our employees to go to this new wellness clinic to treat episodic illnesses like runny noses and sore throats, that helps us out in terms of health insurance.” These events may represent the largest number of clinic visits but it seems unlikely they actually represent the largest number of dollars spent.
• The Steamboat Pilot wrote that “Healthstat has projected the total net savings on the clinic after three years to be $467,000”. It would be interesting to know if Rocky Mountain Health Plans (the district’s current insurer) or any other insurer is willing to quote a three year renewal with those savings based solely on the Health Clinic. That number seems awfully optimistic and we should know what judgments and assumptions that projection is based on. • $264,000 annually is a fair hunk of change and it seems highly unlikely that will end up in the pockets of a local Physician’s Assistant working 20 hours a week. It would be nice to know what that buys the taxpayers besides a contractor from out of town. • Having reviewed the district provided “SSSD Clinic Presentation to Staff and Board 031912” PowerPoint I am astonished with how clearly this is the use of taxpayer money to bring into Steamboat Springs a direct competitor to the primary and pediatric care clinics already here.

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Clay Ogden 2 years ago

Part 2 • Again referencing the “SSSD Clinic Presentation to Staff and Board 031912” PowerPoint states “Not meant to replace Primary Care Physician” but the statement of work provided by the Physician’s Assistant in the presentation clearly lays out a scope of work that replaces many of the roles the roles and duties of a Primary Care Physician. They are called Physician’s Assistants for a reason … what Physician is supervising and advising them? Someone on North Carolina? • “SSSD Clinic Presentation to Staff and Board 031912” PowerPoint states “Physician’s Assistant will send and/or receive records from your Primary Care Physician or specialist.” Do you have any idea of the labor involved to move patient’s records around for both sender and receiver? HIPAA, Meaningful Use and HITECH regulations place a huge burden on providers for the timeliness, security and accuracy of these records and one of the net results of this will likely be fragmented and incomplete medical records. If the district employee chooses to use the clinic and maintain a relationship with an existing Primary Care Physician there is a real burden placed on the district’s Physician’s Assistant, the Primary Care Physician and, ultimately, the patient to make sure records everywhere are accurate and up to date. • Finally, it seems a bit ironic that in the same week Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s 2012 Economic Forum Series speakers at CMC stressed keeping the workforce local one of the valley’s largest employers announces a plan to ship a huge amount of money out of the local economy without attempting to find a local solution first.
lest anyone think I am just anti-tax, anti-spending, anti-new idea or anti-education, I worked to get the original ½ cent sales tax passed, sat on the original Technology Commission for 8 years as it’s vice-chairman, and was a member of the Education Fund Board for 4 years. I have two children that have received outstanding educations in this district. My wife is a district employee and she pays to have our family covered by the district’s health care plan.

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jerry carlton 2 years ago

Excellent letter Clay. I am just an old guy with grown kids and grandkids but my tax dollars go to support this activity. So much for shopping locally. I am sure the taxpayers will not consider any of this next time the sales tax comes up but they should.

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