Mt. Vernon schools opening employee health clinic

FORTVILLE — Mt. Vernon School Corp. employees and their children will soon be able to get free health care on campus.

The school corporation is working with Activate Healthcare to launch a free, part-time employee health care clinic in the administration building in coming months. Construction to build the clinic is expected to begin during summer, when students are off campus. Employees will be able to use two other clinic locations — in Greenfield and Madison County — immediately.

More than 300 of the district’s approximately 450 employees are enrolled in the district’s health care plan, said business manager Brian Tomamichael. Those employees and their dependents will be able to use the clinic once it opens.

They’ll also be able to use the Activate Healthcare clinic in Greenfield and another in southern Madison County. The clinic at Mt. Vernon will be staffed about 20 hours a week, and those enrolled in the school district’s health care plan will be able to fill prescriptions there.

The school district already offered an employee health clinic through Hancock Regional Hospital, but now, the district can offer an onsite clinic through Activate Healthcare at a comparable price, Superintendent Shane Robbins said.

Robbins said school officials are still calculating cost estimates for building the clinic.

The goal is to ultimately reduce long-term health care costs for the district, Robbins said. By offering low-cost health care to employees, officials hope to encourage healthier lifestyles, which they say could cut down employee insurance claims.

Other county schools have similar programs, but none has an onsite clinic. Eastern Hancock School Corp. is part of an insurance trust that has clinics throughout the area employees can visit. Southern Hancock began an employee health clinic last October through Hancock Regional Hospital, said Superintendent Lisa Lantrip.

Lantrip said the health clinics are convenient and a benefit of belonging to the corporation’s insurance program.

Robbins, who is completing his first school year leading Mt. Vernon, said he wanted to look at other options for an employee health clinic because few employees — about 13 percent — were opting to use the established clinics through the hospital.

Robbins would like to see that number grow to between 80 and 90 percent.

More employees might use the clinic if it’s close to work, Robbins said.

And if employees use the health clinics instead of visiting the emergency room or immediate care when they’re sick, the school’s medical costs should decrease, Robbins said.

School officials also want to encourage employees and their dependents to live healthy lifestyles so the clinic will also focus on overall wellness by providing wellness check ups and other wellness initiatives.

“By making it convenient, we hope they’ll use it like they would a personal doctor,” Robbins said.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.