By Mike Lewis

Reprinted with permission from the Bedford Times mail

The new health clinic for North Lawrence school system employees got off to a strong beginning last month.

Michele Cox, NL business manager, presented school board members with the monthly report last week.

The report showed 247 appointments during January, including 99 acute care visits, 35 physicals and 113 labeled as “other.”

Those 247 appointments consisted of seeing 165 employees, spouses and dependents. That is a participation rate of 18 percent (based on 899
eligible members).

“Twenty-five percent is our break-even point,” Cox told the board.

The numbers could have been higher, Cox said. Dr. Cliff Mitcheff, who staffs the clinic, was out for continuing education for a week during January.
Cox also said a nurse practitioner will join the clinic in March.

Last year the board approved establishing the clinic as a way of trying to control rising insurance costs. The clinic was recommended by an insurance committee that included teachers, administrators and representatives of JA Associates.

At that time, Greg Ransom of JA Associates told the board that most health care costs are related to individual behavior. The clinic, which will stress a physical and goals to improve a person’s health, provides “the most legitimate possibility of actually controlling costs,” he said.

Counting school system employees, spouses and their families, 899 people were eligible for the clinic during January, according to the report.

Ransom told the board the volunteer clinic could be self-supporting if 25 to 30 percent of the eligible employees used it. If more people used it, he said, the clinic could generate a surplus that would be returned to the corporation’s insurance trust fund. If no one used it, he said, the trust fund would be out $350,000 to $370,000.

The clinic is in office space in the 1900 block of 16th Street, across from Thornton Memorial Boys Club. It will be operated by Activate Health Care, which also runs a clinic for Monroe County government employees.