District 622 approves on-site health clinic

Employees will have access to HealthPartners care providers

At the Feb. 26 school board meeting, district officials voted unanimously to approve an on-site employee health clinic that would be built on the first floor of the District Education Center in North St. Paul.

At the Feb. 12 school board work study session, Keith Gray, human resources director, explained that when the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District received bids for health insurance coverage in 2009, HealthPartners included $100,000 as part of its “Well@Work” program to construct a clinic for employees and dependents covered by HealthPartners insurance.

The district’s current construction estimate is $96,950.

HealthPartners would staff and operate the clinic, but the district would be able to set its preferred hours and interview candidates from a pool of HealthPartners physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners.

The clinic would employ one physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner on-site.

Some of the benefits of having an on-site clinic include disease management, injured worker exams, immunization clinics, employee physicals and reduced cost and time away from the job for random drug testing.

The proposed clinic would only be available for use by District 622 employees, retirees over 65 and employee dependents with HealthPartners health insurance.

The district currently offers HealthPartners insurance to employees and their dependents, covering approximately 1,200 employees and 1,300 dependents.

If the district can complete construction of the facility by July 1, HealthPartners has added the incentive of lowering the district’s insurance premium by 1 percent, saving the district an estimated $160,000.

Currently, the proposed space in the District Education Center is being used by the Varsity Express program, which provides work-based learning opportunities in the form of a print shop for students with special needs.

“Our next step is seeing if that space is available,” Gray said in a later interview. “We talked about it preliminarily before the board approved it, but now we can really start to look at some scenarios of where they could relocate and figure out when that space will be made available.”

In January, Stillwater Area Public Schools approved a similar HealthPartners “Well@Work” clinic at Stillwater Area High School. Construction will be completed in May. Stillwater school officials expect the clinic to save their district about $260,000 in medical claims by 2015.

Johanna Holub can be reached at jholub@lillienews.com or 651-748-7814.

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