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Launching Terre Haute Employee Health Clinic Could Cut Costs

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett wants city employees to be able to access preventative screenings through a low-cost health care clinic.

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Photo: Bill Shaw/Indiana Public Media News

Many health facilities are trying to balance availability with cost.

In an effort to reduce health care costs for Terre Haute, Mayor Duke Bennett says he hopes the city will have a new clinic for city employees up and running by this fall.

The city is struggling to balance rising health care costs with shrinking tax revenues caused by lower assessed land values and property tax caps.

While generating new revenue remains a challenge, Mayor Duke Bennett says one way to combat rising health care costs is to establish a health care clinic for city employees.

Bennett says he is seeking bids from health care providers to offer preventative services and screenings for the more than 1,200 people the city insures. Bennett says the key is getting people healthy and then keeping them healthy to avoid long-term health care costs down the road.

“Maybe detecting cancers or heart issues early by going to the doctor where right now,” says Bennett. “They don’t want to go pay the $25, $35 or $45 depending on what level of doctor you go to – they can just go to this clinic and get checked out by this professional staff and if they need to be referred to a specialist they will but you can catch it early.”

Bennett says the city would also be able to save money by having access to cheaper prescription drugs than those available through the city’s current insurer, Anthem.

The Vigo County School Corporation switched to an employer health-care clinic model three years ago. VCSC Employee Benefits Manager Jennifer Bowling says since then she has seen a decrease in all of the top diagnosed diseases among employees except for diabetes – but she attributes that figure to greater patient awareness.

“I think, actually it’s a good thing because people are finding out they have it,” says Bowling. “People are getting those screenings. It’s being identified.”

Bowling says the change has saved school corporation money and drastically cut employees’ out of pocket expense.

Jimmy Jenkins

Jimmy Jenkins is a multimedia journalist for WFIU and WTIU news. A native of Terre Haute, he is a masters student at the Indiana University School of Journalism and is proud to be a part of the public broadcasting stations he listened to and watched since he was a child. Follow him on Twitter @newsjunkyjimmy.

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