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New clinic to treat city employees
City projects major healthcare savings
City of Statesboro seal

Statesboro City Council unanimously approved Tuesday a free health clinic for city employees, with the intent of promoting wellness and providing significant costs savings for patients and the city alike.
Rather than paying charges associated with each and every employee visit to a healthcare provider, the city will pair with TransformHealthRx to provide a location where the city’s insured can receive free primary care.
According staff, by contracting TransformHealthRx to provide the on-site clinic — located on Merchants Way — the city could drastically cut yearly healthcare expenses.
“The city will pay about $14,000 monthly for the clinic,” said Jeff Grant, Director of Human Resources. “And we are looking at anywhere between 9 and 13 percent savings per year on insurance costs. That could be anywhere between $279,000 and $400,000 that would come back to the city.”
“The model helps us control costs, encourage health and wellness, and avoid additional costs to our employees,” he said. Over the last few years, we have seen significant increases in our health costs. Employees have seen increases in deductibles, premiums and co-pays. So we thought to ourselves, ‘how can we encourage wellness and at the same time avoid passing on costs to our employees.”
According to Grant, the clinic will provide free, or at-cost, care for all city employees and their families — as long as they are registered on the city’s health plan.
The facility will treat primary care needs — physicals, disease management, acute injuries, sinus issues, flu symptoms, among others — and supply generic over-the-counter drugs.
Patients will have access to medication and lab tests for a $5 fee or at-cost — specialty medications and labs will be provided at-cost.
Certain patients, those with issues like diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, will receive medication free of charge.
“It is a model that keeps on giving,” Grant said. “This is not just about saving money for the city. We are benefitting employees at the same time.”
“We are encouraging wellness and health to our employees by offering services at a reduced cost,” he said. Also, “the more employees go to the clinic, the more money goes back into their pockets. If an employee goes to a doctor and gets a lab, it costs $200; at our clinic, it’s $5.”
Staff believes the facility can contribute to the health of the city’s workforce in both the short and long term.
“Primary care issues — having a cold or not feeling well — that is what most people go to the doctor for. When employees don’t feel good, they either miss work or decide to ignore the issues so they don’t miss any days,” Grant said. “And some people can not afford medications, so they stop taking medicine altogether. Then you have an employee that isn’t well and can suffer long term problems related to ignoring the issue. We are taking all of that away.”
The new clinic is scheduled to open February 6. According to Grant, it will operate only on Mondays and Wednesdays unless demand is high enough to require another day. A physician and nurse practitioner will be stationed at the location to treat patients.
City personnel are looking forward to the new facility, Grant said.
“We have had meetings with employees to discuss the clinic. They have been very positive,” he said. “The employees have been really encouraged by it. The common response has been: when do we start?”
“TransformHealthRx has more than 20 similar sites and not one of them has failed. That is encouraging,” Grant said. “Also, I have had conversations with other city’s that use clinics, and have heard nothing but positive things.”

Jeff Harrison can be reached at 912-489-9454

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