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Monday, October 8, 2012 - 10:10am

Columbus Considers Employee Health Clinic

Updated: 2 years ago.
Columbus is considering opening a medical clinic for city employees in an effort to put a lid on rising healthcare costs. The city’s mayor says costs are rising nearly 10 percent a year and the city is paying about 24 million dollars for employee coverage. That’s nearly 10 percent of the city’s entire budget. (Photo Courtesy of forwardcom via stock.xchng.)

Columbus is the latest Georgia city planning to open its own medical clinic for city employees in an effort to save money on growing healthcare costs.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said the city is seeing healthcare costs rise 5 percent to 10 percent every year. They’re up $3 million dollars this year over last.

City officials asked for bids and have narrowed them down to one company that Tomlinson said will run the medical clinic for about $16,000 a month. The city council will consider opening negotiations with the company at its Tuesday meeting. Employees can opt-in to get their primary care from the clinic or keep their existing plan.

“But of course we would still be covering our employees for specialists, hospitalization, and other costs associated that were not related to the clinic,” Tomlinson said.

She said the combination of services will be cheaper than the current insurance plan.

City officials visited similar clinics in Dalton as well as Chattanooga and Montgomery. They had a roughly 85 percent employee-participation rate.

“Some have saved a million dollars in costs, others have held steady, meaning no increase in cost,” Tomlinson said. “In a world where your healthcare costs are rising nearly 10 percent a year, holding steady is a huge savings.”

Several other Georgia cities have set up such clinics for employees, including Rome and Gainesville.